I was honored to have been named the Karen Pryor Academy’s dog trainer of the month this month. Thanks to Marie Clougher of PenAndPress.com for penning this wonderful profile. To read the full article, head over to ClickerTraining.com, where you will also find information on the wonderful KPA program and a searchable database of force-free dog trainers throughout the world.
Anna Jane (Annie) Grossman, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, co-owner of School For The Dogs in Manhattan, New York, moved into dog training from her successful writing career. Although she had always loved training her own dogs for fun, it was an article she wrote for the New York Times in 2007 that first pushed her to explore the training field.
As a young girl teaching her dogs to roll over, jump, and give a paw, Annie earned the praise of a dog trainer who came to work with her family dog. “She told me that I would make a really great dog trainer, and that always stuck in my mind,” says Annie. But Annie pursued journalism after college, writing about people, lifestyles, and trends primarily. Her interest and curiosity in dog training ever-present, Annie observed that the field was attracting more people to it after the success of the television show Dog Whisperer. It was 2007, and that’s when she wrote her article for the New York Times, focusing on people who chose dog training as a “Plan B” career.
Annie admits that the article was, in part, an excuse to research dog training programs for herself and learn about the potential paths toward making a career change. What she discovered was discouraging, however. There were not many reputable training programs to be found, and Annie was left feeling that the dog training industry was “brimming with charlatans who could be doing more harm than good.” This was not an environment Annie sought or would be comfortable in, so she pushed aside the idea.
A few years passed and Annie, feeling more burned out about her writing career, realized that she needed to be more interested in her work in order to be good at it. As she says, “I can’t fake it.” She spent a lot of time hanging out with her dog in dog parks, ruminating on options and avenues for change, considering activities she enjoyed and wondering how those things could somehow be remunerative.
A chance dog-park meeting with the son of someone who had completed the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Professional program introduced Annie to the clicker as a training tool…