January 2013 CTP Trainer of the Month: Angela Eaton

Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP) Angela Eaton believes that joyful learning creates powerful results.It’s the expression she lives and works by.

Dogs and teaching have been themes in Angela’s life since she was a child. When Angela was living in Pakistan with her family, the family was assigned a German shepherd guard dog. Angela’s interest in working dogs began then, at the age of three, and increased upon exposure to avalanche search and rescue dogs in Europe.

Ultimately, Angela herself became a search and rescue handler, along with canine partners Isis and Shakti, with Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC). Angela has also developed a specialty in alpine/mountain rescue and is fully accredited by the Mountain Rescue Association, an international organization of teams specializing in mountain search and rescue and safety education.

Working with her second search and rescue companion, Shakti, a more challenging learner, led to Angela’s initial exposure to clicker training. Clicker training success with Shakti and others drew Angela to her first ClickerExpo, and then to enroll in Karen Pryor Academy. She was one of the first KPA CTP to graduate from the Dog Trainer Program; now there are 500+ graduates of the program!

(Angela is proud to note that not only has once-challenging Shakti certified in Air Scenting, Avalanche, and Human Remains Detection, but has also earned a Beginning Title in Canine Freestyle!)

Angela uses her ongoing fascination with animal behavior to guide and assist other handlers. Her business, Clicker Joy, focuses on teaching human partners about their canine companions, and demonstrates to both dogs and humans how to build a rewarding connection through joyful learning and mutual respect. The training that Clicker Joy provides emphasizes positive understanding and the appreciation of individuality. Classes, consultations, private sessions, seminars, and workshops are available to handlers of working dogs, competition dogs, and family pets.

Angela’s extensive experience teaching many kinds of learners a range of skills and behaviors has contributed to her reputation and success. A former ballet student, performer, and teacher, Angela was also a longtime employee in information technology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the published author of A Guide to Search and Rescue Dogs, part of the Barron’s Educational Division.

Having developed clicker-based training protocols for search and rescue dogs, Angela is now working with K9 c.a.r.e.s. (Canine Assisted Reduction of Eventful Stress) in Colorado on a new training protocol. She is creating a dog training program for therapy and crisis-intervention dogs. These dogs work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, the court system, reading programs, and hospitals. While the skills that working dogs require may differ depending on their specialty (therapy, search and rescue), Angela’s emphasis on a quality partnership and the joy of positive learning create amazing results.

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