INTERVIEW WITH JEN BIGLAN
Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) faculty member Jen Biglan will lead the KPA Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) program in Dublin, CA. (Application deadline May 4, 2023.)
Learn more about KPA professional certification
In this interview, Jen shares highlights from her own training career.
Q: Tell us about the first animal you trained.
Q: Was there a particular dog/animal in your life that was your most important teacher?
A: After Kyla, we found our way to Stitch, or, rather, Stitch found his way to me. Stitch is my heart dog. To this day, his memory makes my eyes well up with tears. Stitch was not laid back; he was fearful and very, very big. I first saw Stitch when he was working with a trainer at the shelter. He had been relinquished by his previous family when he was about five months old and ended up at our shelter because he was fearful of people and exhibited some resource-guarding.
Stitch changed my life forever. He taught me about the time it can take to undo damage from punitive training and lack of opportunity to explore at a young age. Although we didn’t have DNA testing then like we do today, Stitch was likely a mix of Doberman, Basenji, and Swiss mountain dog, but who really knows? Because of Stitch, I am passionate about helping fearful and aggressive dogs today.
Unlike Kyla, born relaxed and ready to meet the world, Stitch was afraid of the world. A pumpkin on the side of the street would send him skittering; seeing the neighbors’ garage open when it usually was closed was scary. Stitch had to learn that the world could be a safe and fun place, that learning was hard and it was totally worth it. The relationship, the trust, and the communication we built through clicker training made him both my hardest dog and the dog I loved the most.
Q: What is your favorite activity or sport that you do with your own dog(s)?
Q: What is your proudest training moment?
Q: What advice would you give to a new training student?