It was at the shelter that Kimmie first experienced clicker training. Soon “hooked” on the clicker, Kimmie was anxious to know more. “Beth encouraged me to look into the KPA Dog Trainer Professional program, and I’ve never looked back,” she says.
Under the direction of Laurie Luck, Kimmie completed the DTP program in Richmond, Virginia, in 2014. She describes the course as “one of the most useful and challenging experiences I’ve ever had.” The challenges, and ultimate success, Kimmie had were all tied to her program partner, her fearful dog Nicky. The workshops were particularly difficult for Kimmie and Nicky, improving little by little only after Kimmie had a realization after day one of the first workshop. “I was embarrassed and disappointed that Nicky offered none of her known behaviors and became aggressive with others. Then I realized that I hadn’t even considered how Nicky might be feeling about the situation.” Kimmie started to prioritize the impact of the environment on Nicky. “I learned to interpret her body language and check in with her in all situations, especially ones that are scary for her. Now I advocate for Nicky if we find ourselves in one of those scary situations. Nicky has learned that she can count on me to have her back 100%.” In return, Nicky grew more comfortable and confident, and her workshop efforts improved tremendously. Kimmie and Nicky passed the KPA DTP program with distinction. “This six-month course taught me more about the importance of trust and relationship-building than anything I’d previously experienced,” says Kimmie.
As a KPA DTP program graduate, Kimmie feels set up for success in the dog-training world. The KPA community offers a “network of experienced and helpful trainers to learn from, brainstorm with, and bounce ideas off of.” The deep and far-ranging training Kimmie received through KPA built confidence, too. “I feel comfortable offering clients assistance with a wide range of behavior issues and training topics—from puppy training to reactivity and aggression. At the same time, I can focus on improving the bond between humans and their pets,” she explains.