Although she refers to her “awesome KPA dog” Dolly (an older mixed-breed dog) as “practically perfect,” Laurie reports that they did have certain struggles going through the DTP program. “We absolutely have experienced plateaus and valleys in our training.” Emme (beagle) and Bell (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog) are “more complicated, not quite as perfect!” In her struggles with these two, Laurie has found that “when I finally take apart the struggle, breaking it into the smallest appropriate pieces, and start at a point of success, the struggle becomes a victory, and we move forward in our training.” Laurie admits that before KPA she would have been overly frustrated and would have, at best, lost momentum or even given up on such a struggle. “KPA has given me so much more than training skills. It has also supported me as I work on difficult things.”
Despite setbacks reported and unreported, Laurie is very proud of all of her dogs (including Aussie mix Blitz) and of their accomplishments. They are accomplished competition dogs in multiple sports and venues and are either therapy dogs currently or have been in the past. “All of this has been possible through the use of clicker/positive training methods—throughout their entire lives.”
According to Laurie, positive training has revealed new ways in which to communicate more effectively and more positively with all of the people in her life. “I use TAGteachin.g to help support and increase learning in my personal life as well as in classes and private sessions.” Certified in TAGteach Level 1, Laurie also employs the TAGteach model to establish and maintain goals for herself. When she is involved in “personal interactions, classes, and private sessions, I start with a much more positive outlook than I ever did before.” Laurie believes in setting a good tone and a positive atmosphere for effective communication and learning, for both the human and the dog.
Laurie has multiple certifications and areas of expertise, including current credentials as a CBCC-KA (Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed), CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed), and CCUI (Certified Control Unleashed Instructor). “I have also been accepted into a CSAT (Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer) program with Malena Demartini this summer and am looking forward to that.”
There are still more goals! Emphasizing that she shares this general goal with all clicker trainers, Laurie says that she would “love to see clicker training so mainstream that I don't have to explain it!” Laurie has found that she needs to shift some goals with her aging dogs. “But clicker training is part of focusing on their fitness, health, and more or different cooperative-care training.” She is committed to continuing activities the dogs love “while changing the focus of our journey together.”