A newbie no more
As I write this letter, I am on a plane headed for the UK, where we are about to hold our second ClickerExpo in Europe, our final Expo of 2015. One year ago at this time I was just beginning in my role with Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT). Karen created an organization that leads the way in positive reinforcement education. My job is to help preserve her vision and carry it into the future—a responsibility I take very seriously.
I have spent the last year learning about the company, familiarizing myself with all the facets of the organization, and understanding the needs of our CTPs, faculty, and staff. I have also received a lot of formal and informal feedback from you: KPA Certified Training Partners (CTP), ClickerExpo attendees, and other trainers interested in positive reinforcement methods. I have taken your comments to heart.
At KPA, we continue to focus on the quality of the KPA Dog Trainer Professional program and to look for ways to support our graduates. We launched two new courses this past year, Dog Sports Essentials and Smart Reinforcement, and are planning even more courses to enhance your training skills. We are exploring various options and prioritizing them, with the intent to develop new courses and make them available next year.
More worldwide communication and involvement
We will continue to provide classes and consult on special projects to help spread the KPCT message more widely. Consulting projects allow us to reach audiences that might not follow our website or be familiar with the work of KPA. Those projects also offer the opportunity to work with training programs that have yet to embrace positive reinforcement fully. This year I have worked with more than a dozen zoos to improve their husbandry programs, collaborated with wildlife biologists on conservation projects, assisted law-enforcement agencies in developing improved, positive reinforcement alternatives, and taught training classes in ten countries—all representing Karen Pryor Clicker Training. A highlight for me in 2015 was the Butterfly Project, which I plan to report on during ClickerExpo 2016. In the year ahead, I will continue to expand on these varied efforts with new projects, classes in new countries, and consulting opportunities.
More understanding of others
If we want to see the technology and science that we embrace continue to spread and become part of general training practice, we have to be more accepting of those who train differently. Just because a trainer uses punishment or another technique in a way that we don’t approve, that choice should not be the divisive tool that closes the door to dialogue. As trainers, we have to be able to work together and bridge the gap between us—not make the gap wider. I hope many of you will help me work toward achieving this important goal. Stay tuned for additional thoughts and calls to action in the months ahead.
More positive fun!