I'm leaving behind my dogs and my husband in a few hours to travel to Dallas, TX for the weekend. I'm part of the faculty at Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior (KPA) and I'm delivering Workshop 3 this weekend.
From the Academy's website:
We teach our students to be skilled trainers and effective teachers using force-free methods. This is not just because we're nice (though we are), but because we understand the history and use of punishment in training, and we believe that Karen Pryor Academy's approach is more powerful in every meaningful dimension.
We believe that great teachers possess both a solid knowledge of the science that governs learning, and honed practical abilities in both training animals and teaching other people to train animals. We also believe in giving our graduates the skills to succeed in their profession. Our curriculum weaves best business practices together with best training practices, and we have innovative post-graduate programs that give our alumni continuing support for financial success.
Each Dog Trainer Academy consists of on-line learning as well as in-person, weekend-long workshops. Students bring their own dogs with them to the workshop to show off what they've learned. This weekend is an especially fun workshop: the students will be working with untrained dogs and their people, teaching basic good manners. It's fun for the dogs, the owners, the students, and for me – it's a really fun weekend.
It's not enough to know about dogs, to know about behavior. To be an effective trainer, you've got to be able to teach people. Too many trainers are in this profession because they love dogs. It's not enough to just love dogs. You must enjoy the people who are at the other end of the leash as well! And effectively communicate and teach the person. Without the person, we have no chance of helping the dog.
It's a fantastic – but exhausting – experience. I can't wait to catch my flight today and arrive in Dallas this evening. But, know too, how happy I'll be to get back here early Monday morning so I can see my own dogs and my husband!