July 2016 KPA CTP of the Month
Shannon Wallace, KPA CTP, spent her youth in an environment full of animals. Her home was a farm, and she was an active participant in 4-H and similar organizations, where she often focused on horses! Because she moved around in her younger years, Shannon explains that “it was hard to bring my horses with me.” At home and in her current business, Canine Quest Training & Services, Shannon has turned her focus to dogs (more portable!), offering training, behavior, and First Aid classes for puppies and dogs. With a flexible schedule of private classes, Shannon will soon offer group classes as well.
Puppy programs are Shannon’s specialty. “My goal is to help clients enjoy the puppy stage. We all know puppies can be trying at times. However, the more you know about puppies, the more you can enjoy them!” The Dogsafe Canine First Aid program that Shannon offers is also very important to her. “The more trainers and instructors educate the dog world, the more people can truly enjoy their dogs,” says Shannon.
Shannon first heard about Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) when she was attending a dog-training program and the trainer mentioned KPA. “I looked into it, but the timing wasn’t right, so I put the thought away for a while.” When a puppy joined the family a few months later, Shannon enrolled in a puppy class. The instructor was a KPA grad who told Shannon that if she wanted to learn more, she too should look into the KPA program. “Within a year, I enrolled in the program, and I haven’t stop learning since!” reports Shannon.
While Shannon found the entire KPA Dog Trainer Professional program amazing and deep, she did have favorite topics. TAGteach and shaping topped her list.
Another part of the KPA program I loved was the friends I’ve made! Although we live in different parts of Alberta and British Columbia, we are in contact regularly. We remain great friends, as well as training resources for each other.
When she describes her KPA education, Shannon is passionate. “You cannot go wrong with education. KPA has opened doors for me.” Since becoming a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP), Shannon has started her own business, trained as a therapy-dog evaluator, and became a canine First Aid instructor, a service-dog trainer, and a trick-dog instructor! All of these interests have enriched Shannon’s life, as has the network of positive trainers she has met since her KPA days. “We have built strong friendships and business relationships. We share information, help each other out when needed (refer clients), and even holiday together—at ClickerExpo conferences sponsored by Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy, of course!”
In addition to her professional training work, Shannon works in the community as well. Shannon and her Newfoundland, Abby, were a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog team in Grande Prairie, visiting seniors’ lodges in the area. “Most of our visiting was during the winter. It is harder for some seniors to get out and about in the winter, so visiting them then is important. We live up north and cabin fever is a real thing! I love watching faces light up when they see this larger-than-life dog enter the room and then observe how gentle she is.” Abby retired from pet therapy this year, due to arthritis and mobility issues related to age. Her last therapy visit found Abby at Grande Prairie Regional College with students during exam week. “What a reception,” Shannon reports. “Abby was definitely born to be a therapy dog!”
Golden doodle Niso was Shannon’s training partner throughout her KPA training. She is now the class assistant as well as Shannon’s Canine First Aid demo dog. “Niso has worked so closely with me in all sorts of situations that she seems to know what I am thinking before I do!” laughs Shannon.
Shannon has found that the positive focus underlying her KPA education has impacted her life in all dimensions—in dog training and in everyday encounters. Her thirst for learning continues as well. In addition to her therapy, service, First Aid, and trick training obtained post-KPA, Shannon has also completed the KPA Puppy Start Right for Instructors course!
I’m addicted to learning and I am forever taking courses. Right now I am completing the TAGteach program!
After welcoming a service-puppy-in-training into their home for a year in 2014, Shannon and her family are awaiting the arrival of their next service puppy, scheduled to arrive in just a few months. “Our first service puppy taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I am still learning!”