October 2015 KPA CTP of the Month
Cindy Andrysiak describes herself as a lifelong dog enthusiast. The owner of and trainer at Patient Paws Positive Dog Trainingin Indiana, she is also a veteran volunteer at local animal shelters and dog-training facilities, as well as at the humane society in her area. In her shelter work, Cindy has trained quite a few dogs and helped them find forever homes. She says that from early on she noticed how “…positive training made such a great difference.”
In fact, dogs trained with positive methods became more adoptable. “It was gratifying to know that I was able to make a difference in so many dogs’ lives,” says Cindy.
Despite her exposure to animals and methods at the various facilities where she volunteered, Cindy says, “I felt like I really was not learning enough.” Cindy did her research and discovered Karen Pryor Academy (KPA). Wanting, needing, to learn as much as possible, she began with the KPA Dog Trainer Foundations course. Cindy found the Foundation course “very educational” and decided to continue her KPA studies by enrolling in the KPA Dog Trainer Professional program.
In the already-challenging KPA Dog Trainer Professional program, Cindy was faced with an additional test midway through the course: the dog she partnered with at the start of the program became too stressed to continue. This dog began to show many displacement behaviors, so Cindy was forced to switch her dog partner in order to complete the course. One of the elements that Cindy most enjoyed learning about through the Dog Trainer Professional program was “… behavior chains, and how each behavior reinforces the next behavior.”
Now a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP), Cindy feels the responsibility of representing Karen Pryor Academy. She is conscious that her work and communication be “… very professional in the way Karen Pryor Academy would want to be represented.” In her training with dogs in any and all situations—clients, volunteer, personal—Cindy incorporates her many KPA lessons.
Most of the volunteer work Cindy has done since she completed her KPA course has been for rescue groups and foster parents.
Teaching foster parents about clicker training has helped them become better foster parents.
Cindy has found that clicker training and the results it produces help the new parents understand the value of positive reinforcement. Even when a fostered dog moves from a foster family to a forever home, Cindy endeavors to continue her training with the dog’s forever family. “I want to make sure that everyone involved is set up for success,” says Cindy. With the knowledge and connections from her education, volunteer work, and business experience, Cindy has even had occasions where she was able to match a particular dog with a particularly appropriate family.
Cindy estimates that approximately forty percent of the customers who come to Patient Paws Positive Dog Training for help are either foster parents or parents of a newly adopted dog. With them, and with everyone she encounters in her world, Cindy strives to present herself in a very professional—and positive—manner. “I feel that positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing for people as well as for the dogs that I train.”
Cindy declares that she will always work with shelter dogs. “Someday I may have my own rescue.” Her passion for helping dogs become happy and successful in their homes continues as Cindy explores some new goals. “One of my next goals is to learn more about training service dogs, therapy dogs, and diabetic-alert dogs, using positive reinforcement methods of course.”