Debi Buchholz, KPA-CTP, CCPDT-KA
I am the owner and trainer at Anything’s PAWSable Dog Training, an indoor heated facility located in Kalispell, MT. I’m a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and also CCPDT-KA certified. I use only positive, force-free training methods, including the clicker. These method are not only extremely effective, they are guaranteed not to damage your relationship with your dog! Anything’s PAWSable offers group or individual training as well as in-home behavior consultations.
With my experience in dog training and as a dog-sport competitor I have experienced firsthand the benefits of using positive reinforcement dog training both in terms of the speed of training as well as the dog’s motivation to perform trained behaviors. Dog training should not be about corrections for behavior you don’t want but rather teaching the behaviors you do want. At no point in training should your relationship with, nor the trust your dog has in you, be compromised.
Education in how dogs learn and understanding their language more fully only makes my passion stronger. I have been using the scientific principles of operant conditioning in my training for several years. I believe that consistency and patience are the keys to success.
About Debi: I grew up on a horse and trained horses, starting many young horses for years, also competing in jumping and dressage. I began showing dogs in 2002 and have competed with many different conformation dogs, showing many Shih Tzu to their championship titles, both in the US and Canada. I have also titled in AKC Obedience. My first two conformation dogs, Teka and Keila, taught me a lot about motivation and my Golden Retriever, Kesha, really helped confirm for me the differences that training styles can make, comparing positive reinforcement to “traditional” methods, seeing when a dog is truly happy while training rather than her just being “a good little soldier”.
After I completed the training program with Animal Behavioral College in 2008, I entered the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Program to further my teaching skills and improve my quality of training. I mentored under International Trainer/Author Terry Ryan. I love seeing the moment when a dog “gets it”, when they say “oh, that’s what you wanted”. Working with dogs and their owners, problem-solving and helping owners enhance their relationships with their dogs is very rewarding as it improves the quality of the life for both owners and their dogs.
I am committed to consistantly improving my knowledge of dog behavior and staying up to date on the latest science-based training methods. As a Trainer, I regularly attend seminars and conferences. I have also completed and am a Karen Pryor Academy instructor of the KPA Puppy Start Right Program, a program developed by Ken Martin (veterinarian) and his wife Debbie (trainer).
I have completed the educational program from Family Paws to be able to better assist families who have a dog and are either expecting a child or already have one. Doggone Safe has been a valuable tool to help me teach people about how dogs communicate. I am also a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), both strong advocates for the use of force free training.
I have tested for the CCPDT-KA certification, which recognizes the knowledge and experience of professional dog trainers. Certificants must provide references that attest to their work and pass a rigorous written exam that focuses on the science behind dog behavior and the application of training techniques.
The CCPDT-KA certification provides an independent, scientifically valid measure of an individual’s understanding of the field of dog training, including instruction skills, learning theory, ethology, equipment, and animal husbandry.The CCPDT requires its certificants to adhere to its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) Effective Behavior Intervention policies. Certificants must engage in on-going continuing education to maintain the credential. These rigorous standards ensure that CPDT-KA certificants are actively engaged in professional development and applying the most current science and techniques with their clients.
I have continued to train and show my own dogs. I’m a Bronze level Breeder of Merit with The American Kennel Club. I’m also an advocate of purebred dogs and breeding for health, structural soundness and a good temperment. As a trainer, I believe that breeders can do much to help temperament in babies, but also that there is no substitute for sound puppy training beginning as early as possible to give each puppy the best chance for a long and healthy life.
Why Hire a Certified Positive Reinforcement Trainer?
The professional dog training industry is widely unregulated. This means anyone can jump in and call themselves a dog trainer without having actually studied training methods and their effects, canine psychology and the science of how learning in the animal’s brain actually takes place. More than being ineffective, an uneducated “dog trainer” can inflict irreparable damage to a dog’s behavior & trust of humans. When hiring a dog trainer with certifications, you’re getting peace of mind knowing they’ve been vetted by an objective, third-party certifying body such as the CCPDT. Additionally, dog trainers who want to keep their accreditations must regularly attend continuing education workshops & education events to stay up-to-speed with science-based modern dog training techniques