It All Started in January…

This past January, I had a life-changing experience. I won a scholarship from our local, most amazing healthy pet resource store, Long Leash On Life, to attend the Clicker Expo. Twice a year, every year, animal behavior experts from around the world gather to share their knowledge in lectures and workshops at the Clicker Expo. Attendees, like myself, leave inspired and joyous to know that there is a better, scientifically-proven way to, as Karen Pryor (the founder of Clicker Training) puts it: “reach the animal mind.”

Whether that animal is a fish or a human, a dog or a cat, a chimpanzee or a bird, we all have nervous systems that allow us to learn. And when we use the principles of behavioral psychology to teach (rewarding the behavior we want), the result is better learning and better communication. That’s the technical side to it. (For a life-changing read, check out Karen Pryor’s book, “Reaching the Animal Mind.”)

The working side to it is one of the most beautiful, wonderful experiences you can ever have with your pet. Imagine this: instead of forcing your dog to do something, or shutting him down by constant corrections, you shape or encourage the beginning of a behavior. Then, you have a thinking dog, who tries doing things and learns which ones are good (cause him to receive rewards and get what HE wants). So the learning is mutual. You are truly communicating with your dog.

After more than 20 years of volunteer work with animal rescue and welfare organizations, I’ve found the perfect way to put that experience to work. By becoming a Certified Clicker Trainer through the Karen Pryor Academy, I’ll be learning skills that will allow me to work with shelter pets and adopters to solve problems and help make good adoption matches, and more. I’ll be sharing lots of information with our Dog Parent community as I learn more and more.

I’ve also been working with Animal Protection of New Mexico. This state-wide animal advocacy organization is a model of good work in the community. Partnering with agencies and organizations and individuals throughout the state, changes are made that reduce animal cruelty and abuse. From domestic companion animals to wild animals, APNM offers programs that help animals and help people. It’s an honor to be working with this great organization.

Keep cool.