Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP & Clara Scott, CPDT-KA
Concept by Courtney Emken
We wanted you to be able to get to know our trainer and DogBoy’s Ambassador of Behavior, Clara Scott, CPDT-KA. She will be taking on the new position of Ambassador of Behavior to facilitate some positive changes in the workplace, as well as stay true to our vision of Strengthening the Human-Dog Bond through Education, Care & Play!
– Hi I’m Jen and I’m the manager of the training department, and this is Clara and she’s one of our certified trainers. So she’s been a shift-lead in the kennel for a long time and also working in a training building doing our training programs and teaching classes and lessons. But she’s actually gonna be starting a new position here at Dog Boy’s where she’s really working to be more of a behavior liaison between the kennel and the training building. So working with the kennel manager and the boarding dogs over there, and working with us to try to improve behavior for the kennel staff and the dogs over there. So I’m gonna ask Clara some questions so we can get to know her a little bit better. So Clara what’s one of your favorite things to train?
– It’s not super practical in most situations but I love to teach “Speak”, because it’s fun. So I just capture whenever a dog barks and I’ll click and reinforce him for that, and eventually I put on a cue and I think it’s super fun to teach.
– And it’s so cute when they don’t bark but they do some little, like, sound like.
– So what’s a behavior issue that you see that you feel passionately about.
– Just making sure we’re being cooperative with our care. So, like a dog is comfortable when we’re doing grooming for them or when we’re putting on their harness, just making sure they’re just really loose and comfortable and don’t feel scared or fearful whenever we have to be a little bit invasive with them.
– So what’s one behavior that you might teach to help them feel more comfortable, or a way they could like show us if they were comfortable with handling?
– Yeah, there’s a couple of ways. I like teaching a chin rest, so having your dog rest their chin on your hand. And then that’s how they show they’re ready for you to touch them, you touch their shoulder or you can touch their paws if you do that for their nail trim. Just getting them where they’re focusing and showing that, “Okay I’m ready now.” And if they take their hand off you know that they’re not ready.
– That’s really cool. So the whole idea of cooperative handling if you’re a little bit more interested and you’d like to learn more about it, one of the great resources online is Chirag Patel. Yeah don’t you love him? So his name is spelled C-H-I-R-A-G, Chirag. Patel, P-A-T-E-L. And he’s got a lot of really cool cooperative handling videos online that you can watch if you’re into that. Yeah. So Clara what’s one change that you might be implementing up at the kennel?
– Just making the dogs stay more personal, giving personal recommendations for training and building little training plans for dogs, giving instructions on just how we handle them when they are in the kennel.
– That’s great. So what’s an example of something that you might do for a dog, like a specific sort of little protocol?
– So I see a lot of, like jumping on gates before we go through, we can build some impulse control and have them sit and wait before we have them go through a doorway or go through a gate. So, I’m just making sure to keep their arousal low and so that they’re feeling comfortable and happy.
– That’s great. So Clara, who is one of your positive reinforcement mentors or heroes?
– I love, love Turid Rugaas.
– I knew you were gonna say that.
– Yeah! She’s my favorite. She wrote “On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals”, or is it the opposite?
– No you’ve got it, yeah.
– Calming signal, okay. And she just talks about how dogs show us when they’re comfortable or when they’re, you know, feeling a little bit stressed or they’re trying to calm a situation down and diffuse a situation. And I use it everyday all the time and I love teaching it, I love talking about it. So she’s amazing, I love her.
– And one of the coolest things about that, that whole world of conflict appeasement signals and learning about stress signals and calming signals is when you start seeing them, when you know how to identify them you see them all the time. So it can really help you impact your dogs’ behavior in a positive way.
– So Clara, do you have any pets?
– I do. I have a chihuahua named Oreo and I have two guinea pigs, Augustus and Achilles.
– Do you ever do any fun little training things with them?
– Yeah, especially Oreo. Oreo loves trick training, he can stick ’em up and he’ll put his little paws in the air. Or he can roll over, he does a spin, he speaks.
– Oh, I wanna hear that.
– Yeah, he does a little “ruff”.
– Oh, cute. What’s a high value reinforcer for a guinea pig?
– So vegetables for sure, they love carrots. Like I can get them to do anything for a carrot.
– Oh, that’s so cute.
– And they also love leafy greens, so I just like tear it up into little pieces when I’m working with them.
– That’s so cool.
– They’re super fun. I have a little snuffle mat for them
– Oh my gosh!
– So they can like get the little vegetables, and like. They love it.
– So we sell snuffle mats here for dogs. They’re kind of this little mat-looking thing with long fibers and the dog has to snuffle out like, each little piece of kibble or treat, so that’s so cute imagining that and the little guinea pigs.
– Yeah. The little guinea pigs. Yeah, they love it.