When she was researching the best certification programs for dog training, Kristina found Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA). She selected the KPA Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) program, considering it a “good fit” as it offered both theory and hands-on instruction. The KPA DTP World program allowed Kristina to complete the majority of the course at home in Singapore and travel to the United States only once, at the end of the program. Kristina was also attracted by KPA’s “international recognition.” She completed the KPA DTP course in 2012 with Terry Ryan in Sequim, Washington. Josh, the motivating factor behind Kristina’s professional change, is now a “normal and happy dog, living a great life.”
Kristina describes the KPA program as a “wonderful experience with supportive peers.” She continues to be in touch with her fellow students. “We became instant friends, even though we were from different parts of the world.” (There are now several KPA CTPs in Singapore!) Kristina found the framework of classical conditioning along with the four-quadrants of operant conditioning, based on Pavlov’s and Skinner’s work,” to be her most powerful takeaway from the DTP course. “Understood and used correctly, these frameworks can help us teach animals in a precise and clear way.” Kristina has seen how clear signals from the trainer reduce potential misunderstanding and frustration for the animal.
Kristina believes that her Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) designation has inspired respect and credibility from potential clients— “many of my students chose me because of that”—and offered her business a head start. Kristina owns and operate two dog training campuses in Singapore. “There are six teachers assisting me with private consultations, group classes, and a Day School for dogs,” she explains.
Thinking about what she learned from the DTP program, Kristina believes that one of the most significant lessons was about how technical skill allows the trainer to deliver secondary reinforcers quickly and precisely, resulting in the learner’s accelerated progress. “This revelation has made me a much better teacher to pet owners,” says Kristina. She includes pet owners in this class of learners. “I learned to be clear and concise delivering information to the human learner, too.” Kristina has completed the TAGteach certification program to improve her teaching skills, “especially for teaching children. Teaching humans efficiently is the key to gaining momentum with the animal learner.”
Outside of her training business, Kristina has found her knowledge of clicker training to be an advantage. “Clicker training has inspired me to be more patient, empathetic, and respectful toward humans and non-humans. I focus on reinforcing behavior positively.”