Gia is addicted to Online Classes!
Yes, it’s true. I am addicted to continuing my education as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. I love to learn everything I can so I can not only help my clients, but also my own dogs as well. The field of canine training is continuously evolving, with new classes and even certification organizations cropping up every year. In a world where we can choose so many classes, it can be a challenge to decide what you want to learn next. I’ve taken several classes that I have found to be life-changing. These classes really challenged my current ideas, and pushed me to the next level in my training. These are the classes that I recommend all dog trainers take. Read on!
This class was pivotal for me as a trainer. During the course of the lessons, I learned more about how reinforcement works, and how to introduce non-food reinforcers effectively using Ken Ramirez’s brilliantly structured method. As a positive reinforcement trainer, I know it is vital for my dogs to be able to perform cued behaviors even in the absence of food. However, I also still want to have ways to reinforce my dogs for those behaviors. This class provided me with the guidance I needed to learn how to transform anything (I chose clapping) into something my dogs find as reinforcing as steak. I chose the mentored option offered, and received prompt 1 on 1 feedback and instruction from Ken himself. It was a privilege to be able to be critiqued by someone with the skill of Ken. During the course, I not only learned the theory behind the method, but I got to develop a non-food reinforcer with my own dog. I can’t say enough good things about this class!
Susan Garrett is a highly successful agility trainer, who has a phenomenal understanding of the science of animal training. Her Recallers class is geared towards anyone who owns a dog, from competitors to people with a family pet. Recallers has been an incredible resource for me over the years. Susan gives us a series of games we can play with our dogs to build focus, drive, and a great recall. In addition, there are coaching calls, mini-lessons, and the occasional videoed seminar to watch. Professional trainers can learn so much from this class, from theory to practical and simple games all clients would benefit from. I take it year after year, because each year I come away with something new.
Silvia Trkman is a wizard of training. She is a top agility competitor, but also teaches her dogs incredible tricks. Her vibrant nature and talent really shine through during her classes. She breaks her lessons down into easy steps, and the class is very easy to follow along with. She goes through everything from confidence building and play to an incredible number of skills and tricks. Silvia says about her class:
“Designed especially for future performance dogs, this class promotes development of physical and mental skills, helps puppies to learn how to learn, how to use their mind and bodies, builds great body awareness, balance and strength. But it’s not only beneficial for puppies, but also for active agility dogs or retired dogs to keep them busy, fit and young.”
Silvia gives one on one feedback for all of your homework and videos. She makes it easy to teach high-level, impressive behaviors. If you apply yourself during this class, you will have a dog who knows an impressive repertoire in just 3 Months. Check out the above video on what is typically accomplished during the class period.
This series of 4 classes, offered through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, is the most comprehensive course on canine fitness for non-veterinary professionals out there. Motivated students can even choose a mentored version of the series, that leads towards a certification in canine fitness. Over the course of this series, I learned how I can keep my dogs and my clients’ dogs fit and healthy throughout their lives. The course goes over canine anatomy, canine conditioning and physiology, exercise physiology and science, movement and gait, nutrition, common canine conditions, and programs. As a professional dog trainer and sports competitor, one of my goals is that my dogs are physically fit. I now feel comfortable evaluating dogs, and designing custom fitness plans just for them. What I learned in this class has also given me the ability to easily give dogs both mental and physical exercise in a small indoor space.
This is the newest class I am taking. Kathy Kawalec offers a fresh perspective on dog training. Her method focuses on relationship building, and how we act as our dogs’ leader. Instead of trying to constantly train and micromanage dogs, she chooses to take a step back and set the dog up in the first place for success. Her method moves away from both traditional and positive training by looking at our relationship with dogs from a more cognitive perspective. Dogs are highly social animals, and I’m learning more about how we can work with dogs beyond just rewarding good behavior with food and toys. In this year-long program, I’m hoping to learn more about my dogs, and how to relate to them. Kathy offers a high level of support to her students. This class is a great value, filled with lessons, videos, and even a private online community!