Lisa Torick, MA, UW-AAB, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP
I am the owner and operator of Citizen Canine, LLC. I have had dogs most of my life, as well as cats, llamas, chickens, and a variety of small mammals growing up. I became a serious student of animal behavior and training in 2001.
I received my BA with a double major in Biology/Chemistry and Asian Studies. After 5 years living and studying in Japan, I came back and studied evolution and ecology in a Master’s program, culminating in a thesis about the foraging behavior of the Clark’s Nutcracker. I earned an MA. Immediately following that, my interest in evolution and birds lead me to a doctoral program in paleontology. As the reality of a life in academia began to sink in, I moved to a small farm where llamas were already residing. Knowing nothing about clicker training or llamas, I attended a workshop that specifically introduced us to clicker training llamas. I was given a copy of Karen Pryor’s book, “Don’t Shoot the Dog”, and that changed everything for me.
Since then I have worked at a shelter, taught group classes, worked privately with clients, and formed my own business. Once I committed to this field of animal training and behavior, I attended dozens of learning events and webinars, including Marian and Bob Bailey’s Chicken Camp, ClickerExpo’s, APDT conferences, Aggressive Dog Conference, to name just a few.
As for my credentials, I tested for my first certification as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) (https://www.ccpdt.org).
After that I became a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI) (https://nacsw.net/home) and competed with my own dog.
Following that, I enrolled in the Karen Pryor Academy and became a Karen Pryor Academy – Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) (https://karenpryoracademy.com).
After that I attended Dr. Susan Friedman’s, Living and Learning with Animals: The Fundamental Principles and Procedures of Teaching and Learning (https://www.behaviorworks.org/htm/lla_professional_overview.html).
My most recent credential is through the University of Washington where I studied and became certified in applied animal behavior (UW-AAB) (https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/applied-animal-behavior). This is where ethology (the science of animal behavior) meets learning principles (applied behavior analysis – the science of changing behaviors, i.e. the training).
I am the inveterate student, and feel lucky that my chosen profession gives me so much opportunity to learn and grow in the field.
Finally, I would like to say a word about this profession. It is unregulated. Anyone can say they are a pet trainer and behaviorist. Not surprisingly, there are some using techniques which do more harm than good, and lack the foundational knowledge and experience that we have access to today. While
the use of aversives in training can work to change behavior, it often comes at significant cost, and can sometimes make matters worse. Science has demonstrated that a more effective way of teaching and changing behaviors is with the use of positive methods. For more information on choosing qualified
trainers and behaviorists visit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=10396173.