One of Rose’s first behavior cases after completing the CTP program was with a family who had just rescued a young Labrador retriever. The dog was fearful of hands and would shy away when anyone tried to reach toward him. Rose created a training plan to teach the dog to hand target by breaking down the behavior so that the first step was looking at the hand target from a distance and the final step was him touching the hand when it was presented to him. According to Rose, “the dog went from shying away when hands were near his face to happily nose-bopping within a few sessions.” Rose loves being able to “break down behaviors into as many parts as needed to set up the individual dog for success. “Even in the most challenging situations, I can always find a place to start a clicker conversation.”
Rose completed the KPA Puppy Start Right for Instructors (PSRI) course in 2013, adding to her business offerings. Over the past year or so during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rose modified how she taught that course to her clients. “We went into COVID lockdown here on March 17, 2020. While my other classes could be put on hold, I knew that I couldn’t put puppies on hold during the critical stage of early learning and social development.” With a schedule filled with in-person classes and private training, Rose had never taught online before. “However, that literally changed overnight!” One week after entering lockdown, Rose had figured out how to offer her first Puppy Start Right Online Preschool class. “After many late nights and countless revisions, I went from viewing it as a temporary lockdown measure to seeing it as new norm for teaching Puppy Start Right Preschool.”
Reaching out to KPA course co-creator Debbie Martin, Rose kept Debbie updated about the online program and its progress and success. Debbie and co-creator Dr. Ken Martin both fully supported the online version. They reached out to Ken Ramirez about Rose’s online adaptation of Puppy Start Right Preschool, which launched a conversation with KPA. Now, the PSRI Online Preschool course is a KPA offering. “I never imagined at the time that my makeshift online PSRI class would turn into a KPA course Even the darkest clouds have silver linings; during COVID and in other hard times, we may have to look a little harder to find them.”
The new KPA course offers students (PSRI instructors) an alternative “classroom” that is accessible at any time. Instructors can “teach from anywhere and expand their businesses beyond their local communities.” As the world is now more open to online education, “it’s exciting to be able to offer opportunities in areas where puppy parents don’t have access to local puppy classes,” Rose points out. Her original goal was to provide a redundancy plan for PSRI instructors, as Rose knew that every PSRI instructor was in a similar position to her when the pandemic hit and lockdowns began. “However, as I began to see the benefits of the online program, my goal changed. Now my goal is for PSRI instructors to offer Puppy Start Right Preschool either strictly online, reaching beyond local boundaries to help more puppies get started off on the right paw, and/or as a combined program where clients learn online and attend in-person social experiences classes with their puppies.”
When Rose first became involved with the KPA community, what struck her was “the genuine positivity, from my very first interaction. As a crossover trainer, I was expecting to be judged because of my previous training methods. However, that wasn’t the case; I learned quickly that clicker training principles did not only apply to animals; it was the KPA way.” This discovery was life-changing for Rose, personally and professionally. She now employs positive training principles throughout her life every day.
Dedicated to education (and a regular ClickerExpo attendee), Rose is happy to complete KPA’s continuing education requirements. She loves learning and building her professional education background. She was the first Elite Fear Free Certified Professional and the first Fear Free Certified Trainer when the program launched in 2018. “As the world of animal behavior continues to evolve, it’s important to stay up to date in our field of work and be at the forefront with ongoing professional education so that we can continue to improve the lives of animals and help pet parents build great relationships with the animals in their care using the most up to date humane, force free and fear free training methods out there .”