Marsha points out that Karen Pryor Academy “strives for excellence and does a wonderful job leading by example.” Multiple faculty members have emphasized the lesson that “good training speaks for itself.” As an example, Marsha notes situations with differences in opinion about how to train or the equipment to use. KPA has encouraged Marsha to show someone rather than tell someone. “Instead of using words or arguments to convince someone to change a behavior, strategy, or training tool, I show them. I ask them to make small changes and let them see the results for themselves.”
Her background in neuroscience has been helpful to Marsha. “An understanding of how neurons communicate, how they change with experience, how the nervous system deals with sensory information, and how memory systems are organized gives me a different framework for thinking about behavior as I observe it.” She enjoys talking with others about their own frameworks for training and behavior. “Some of the most interesting discussions I’ve had have been with clients who are therapists or teachers. Their perspectives on behavior from the human side are fascinating. It’s fun to fit pieces of information together to create a picture that includes both behavior and the brain!”
Outside of her work with animals, Marsha finds positive reinforcement training seeping into everyday life. “I think about arranging the environment to set myself up for success. I also try to reinforce all the nice things people do around me.” Marsha says these efforts are “a work in progress,” but she is getting better at noticing the good stuff and focusing less on what she does not like.
Marsha is dedicated to continuing education. She has fulfilled the requirements for Fear Free certification, certification through CCPDT and completed the Living and Learning with Animals course taught by Susan Friedman. “I also spent an incredible week at The Ranch where I learned so much and met some incredible people.” Marsha hopes to do more teaching; she is preparing a class called Neuroscience for Dog Trainers. “I’m sure I’ll learn as much as my students when all is said and done!” Marsha anticipates that most of her future goals will be impacted by the philosophy and science behind clicker training.