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I did it! I left a leadership position at a technology consulting firm to pursue my dream of making the world a better place – one person and their dog at a time. I enrolled in and have since graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. I traded in my Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification, which I intentionally let lapse, for the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) credential. Along the way, I learned to observe animals, use science and heart and never force to shape behavior, distinguish between behavior issues and disorders, apply progressive service models and curriculum plans to the dog training industry, and use TAGteach to teach people.

Big picture? I’ve learned how to “teach any learner anything,” even myself, and I couldn’t be happier!

Having been introduced to positive reinforcement training a year into my first dog’s life, I’m what is referred to as a crossover trainer. I’m also a crossover human. Studying behavior modification theories and mindfulness is helping me to become not just a better trainer but also a kinder, more accepting, more encouraging, more joyful person.

I will use my business management & personal assistance expertise; my love of dogs, people, learning, and training; and my strong internal drive to re-center my life around transforming the relationships people have with their dogs and each other. Open your window and you’re likely to hear me singing the virtues of force-free training from my rooftop.

Heather Higgins