It was only in that research process that Tower discovered the benefits and effectiveness of clicker training. Reading Karen Pryor’s book Reaching the Animal Mind was a significant part of Tower’s transformation. Now, he trains animals with positive methods exclusively.
When Tower’s subsequent research was focused on “well-respected, industry-recognized certification programs,” he learned about KPA. “I kept seeing KPA mentioned, so I looked into the Dog Trainer Foundations (DTF) course.” He completed the DTF course to see if the Dog Trainer Professional program would be a good fit for him. “Going through DTF really sold me on KPA,” Tower reports. He completed the DTP with Nan Arthur in California in December of 2019.
Most of the DTP program was difficult for Tower due to his learning disability. “I'm dyslexic and have a hard time with written comprehension. The written/essay parts of the program were probably the hardest for me.” Tower is grateful for spellcheck! What Tower enjoyed the most were the hands-on parts of the course. “That was really about putting to work/into action things that we learned.” He also liked the 10-part behavior chain component of the DTP final exam. “When I began the course, those tasks seemed unachievable but, as the course went along, my confidence and skills grew.” When it was time for Tower to complete the final exam, “it was actually quite fun.” Tower nailed both parts of the exam!
Tower’s KPA CTP knowledge and experience have dramatically changed how he approaches training with his clients. “When I set out to debunk clicker training, I ended up debunking aversive training.” He utilizes both his KPA training and his own background and growth as a trainer to teach people more effective (and fun!) ways to work with their dogs, demonstrating to them why corrections are not needed.
The KPA program helped Tower see that positive reinforcement is not just for working with dogs. “I see life in a more optimistic way now. Changing how I think about canine learners informs how I interact with them.” Tower believes that a more positive mindset in training extends to a more positive mindset in life. Completing the DTF course and the DTP program helped Tower realize “how much I don't have figured out!” The KPA courses have been catalysts, encouraging continued learning. “I've since gone on to earn my Absolute Dogs Pro Dog Trainer (aD-PDT) certification and am currently working toward my CPDT-KA designation.