2020 has been an intense year for all of us & I hope that for you – considering all that is going on – things are as good as they can be!
One significant challenge that many have faced is scheduled events having to be cancelled and/or postponed! In my case one significant event being a five day in person workshop to complete the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Professional Dog Training Certification!
Although we couldn’t do this in person – KPA pivoted their approach and offered us a three day virtual workshop (followed by a 2 day in person assessment – at a yet to be determined date) to gain our KPA CPT.
Note: You can hear Ken Ramirez talk about some of the changes they had to make in this bonus ATA podcast episode here >>> https://bit.ly/ATA_Ken-Ramirez
And although this email is a wee bit late in coming – I am thrilled to announce that in April Fibi-dog and I successfully passed our 10 part behavior chain and our teaching assessment (where we had to teach our fellow peers/workshop attendees something new) & consequently we can now officially call ourselves KPA-CPT’s 💚
I remember back to when I originally decided to do this certification many people were asking me why? And so to answer that question I wrote a blog post – sharing 3 reasons why I decided to register! You can see that post here >>> http://bit.ly/ATA-KPA
And now that I have finished I’ve had many more people asking me how I found the experience? – As they themselves are curious if it’s a good fit for them. And so I thought I would do a follow up on that original post and share three of my biggest takeaways from having completed the certification.
* 1) How pressure can provide BIG opportunities for growth.
Running Animal Training Academy, working on numerous other projects, being a good husband, friend, pet owner, family member and doing other non animal training activities meant that my life was already jam-packed!
People would ask me beforehand how I planned to fit in the KPA certification on top of this. I didn’t have a plan, I knew it would be challenging but I was just willing to jump in the deep end of the swimming pool and splash around until I learned how to swim (which is basically how I approach everything in life lol).
Consequently doing the certification, I learned A LOT about how I operate under pressure. And working closely with my peers during my time doing the certification, I learned A LOT about how others operate under pressure as well.
The pressure being that of maintaining everything else in life and doing the certification on top of this. For me this was REALLY stepping outside of my comfort zone. And in all honesty it wasn’t necessarily enjoyable to have that much pressure…
Although in hindsight it was of course totally worth it … I do feel like I have become a more knowledgeable, skilful trainer and a better, more educated & tactful teacher as a result of this certification. And I built on these skill areas quickly! I.e. over the space of 6-7 months.
So now having completed the certification I find myself very curious! Does it take stepping outside of your comfort zone for you to be able to achieve your greatest periods of growth… ?
* 2) Confidence!
The bulk of my experience base is working within zoological settings with exotics! And I then created an online platform to cater to all learners! Immediately working with dogs, cats, horses and other animals in domestic contexts.
My belief that I could do this was grounded in my trusting of the science! I.e. that the rules of behaviour govern all learners/earthlings. Consequently I just needed to apply what I knew to this new context.
Whilst I don’t feel I was/am wrong about trusting the science – I did quickly realise that the more I learned the less I appreciated I knew! EEEP!
ATA is now 5 years old. And each year I reflect on how much I have learned over the preceding 12 months and it blows my mind. One thing was missing though to really help give my confidence a needed boost & I feel like this was accountability. Somebody else that was guided by an organisation & set of training best practices to say “Hey Ryan you are doing okay”
For me to have my training assessed and have someone communicate to me it was of a high quality & standard makes me feel like I’m actually doing alright & now I can proudly share this through my KPA CTP letters (behind my name).
* 3) A greater appreciation for what goes into certification
By this I mean the time and effort the students put in. The knowledge you gain, the time management you must show and the practical skills you must demonstrate are significant (in my opinion).
And with this appreciation (gained through practical experience) I can now understand how this credential can and should be used to not only promote ourselves but can also be leveraged to quickly evaluate other trainers’ knowledge & skills.
For example, I recently discovered a KPA certified trainer and groomer living within our local area. Which was awesome because I had a client with a dog in need of a groomer. We traveled there together and the experience was awesome! I now have some where I can take and recommend clients to get their dogs groomed and that I know align with my ethics and values on technique choice. And it all started with acknowledging their KPA certification.
Well there you have it three of my top take-aways from my experience doing KPA.
What about you? Have you been through a certification process with regards to Animal Training? Whether it be KPA? IAABC? CASI? Something else? And if so what were some of your biggest takeaways?
I would absolutely love to know and you can let me know by leaving a comment below.
Ryan Cartlidge KPA CTP
Animal Training Academy
P.s Can’t afford KPA? Well how about a learning opportunity where you will get live access to training from the world’s most proficient animal training & behaviour experts as well as a community to support you at every step of the way! And all of this for just $1
What are you waiting for?
Grab your trial membership today (Trial offers are only designed to be used once per person – we value your honesty) >>> https://www.animaltrainingacademy.com/2020-membership-trial/
We look forward to seeing you on the inside!