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March 26, 2020
Educanine Training Services
Kailly Muthard is on her clients’ side—humans and canines alike. The owner and head trainer of Educanine is passionate about force-free clicker-based training, emphasizing positive reinforcement to reward and encourage rather than punish behavior.
Educanine offers in-home, one-on-one training with dogs and their humans, as well as day camp sessions for focused training with a pup while their humans are at work. Kailly, formerly a social worker, offers graduated and customizable programs for puppies and adult dogs (“kindergarten, high school, and college”), as well as dogs with more complicated behavioral issues. Pennsylvania doesn’t regulate animal training, which can make it difficult to know if you’re working with a trainer who’s serious and knowledgeable about the field. Kailly is certified by the Certification Council for Profession Dog Trainers and completed both a three-year training apprenticeship and a professional program at the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior in Waltham, MA.
Clicker training is “not fear-based,” she says. “It’s about setting a dog up for success and rewarding that success.”
She wants her client to connect with their dogs, for both parties to be excited, and to experience the thrill of those ‘ah-ha!’ moments of human-canine communication. “Your dog is not giving you a hard time,” she says. “They’re having a hard time.” With support and expert guidance, you can build a deeper understanding.
By using a clicker, “you’re creating a thinking dog”—a dog who’s having fun and making positive choices rather than avoiding negative consequences. “They know they’re playing a game, and when they get the right answer, they get a reward,” says Kailly. “When you meet a dog who’s been clicker-trained, they react as if to say: what can I do for you? Can I sit? Can I spin? Can I give you my paw?” She laughs. “You want the dogs to offer behaviors. To take chances and figure things out on their own.”