I have spent the past few weeks reading through the material from four of our TAKL (Trainer Accredited by Kay Laurence) graduates. This material is presented in a pdf format averaging 300 pages, 50 videos as evidence splintered out through 37 competencies. Apart from demonstrating training skills it also demonstrates exceptional organisation and collation of complex material.

This material is not an blog, article or a book but a very extensive body of work providing evidence of each trainer’s background, beliefs, experience, skills and practical application. It is presented in essays, self-assessment, analysis of behaviours, assessment of others in training, plans and lots of questions and simply getting on with it.

It is more impressive by the fact that none of these trainers live in the UK or attend my live classes. They have followed through more than one course online culminating in the TAKL 2 year course. They have cruised as they learn, attended seminars, conferences and started a TAKL-fest movement.

I think we can safely confirm they are now Training Geeks.

Independently skilled trainers

TAKL is not about producing clones, but evidence of learning that builds a solid foundation based on understanding, knowledge and application of skills. This gives them platform to develop as impressive trainers in the direction they choose.

Ten years ago we launched into online dog training. This was met with dismissal by some colleagues who could not see how this could be effective or valuable learning. I actually view it as more effective learning because from the first lesson you develop your own skills as an independent learner. As dog trainers, or people who live with dogs, most of our learning is by ourselves. Our online courses are competency based which means you have responsibility to provide evidence of your understanding and illustrate this with practical application. Not just writing an essay on how it should be applied, but actually showing you can do it. Closing the massive gulf between understanding it and applying it is a road that only you can travel.

Authentic evidence of learning

Video is an essential tool here. Nothing gets hidden. To be effective, and efficient (not repeating the same junk without results) we need to:

  • be analysing exactly what is happening
  • be self-critical at every step
  • develop a “reviewer’s” eye to see what we are actually doing, not what we think we are doing
  • be clear what we are doing and where we are going

Most of these elements are often provided by a teacher or coach, but with only a curriculum and online classrooms to support the learning the grown-up skills are quickly developed.

Competency based learning is the future of dog trainers. Understanding it is not enough, I want to know you can learn how to do it, practice at getting better and continually seek more learning. We have existed too long with a gulf between theory and application.

Learning is a collaborative process

Dogs make superb collaborators, I know none better, but peers and colleagues are the best for a review over a cup of tea. We have evidence that this process can be shared world-wide at this exciting time in digital learning.

Geeks are moving the learning forwards with a driving passion. Without that passion knocking down the boundaries we end up standing still. We have Geek-weekends, Geek-courses and you  can feel the enthusiasm to learn more, ask more from ourselves, and look to ourselves for solutions. We own this passion we fuel it at every opportunity.

Congratulations to our TAKL graduates:


Justis McLaren (USA)

Sue McGuire (USA)

Julie van Schie (Australia)

Robyn Mayle (Australia)


  1. Kay Laurence

    Very proud of their achievement, hard work and passion for learning

  2. Laura H

    So proud of each of the graduates!!!

  3. Elizabethanne

    Well done! This is a significant accomplishment!

  4. Lesley Mack

    Well done to you all, great achievement.

  5. Destiny G Kelledy

    What an incredible path you’ve traveled Justis, Julie, Sue & Robyn! The depth & breadth of deeply intense study was a master’s level of learning. And the beautiful thing is this is just the beginning. Throughout the years you’ve worked with your canine partners you have found many new ways to see the world.

    Congratulations to you! I’m so proud of the Inaugural Class of TAKL Graduates! You’ve blazed a trail that others will be able to follow for years to come.



  1. Trainer Accredited by Kay Laurence – 10 months in – #BEINGWITHDOGS AND SUCH - […] recent TAKL graduates can tell you more about this journey. Meanwhile, wish me luck on completing TAKL year […]

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Ethics in Dog Training

Whether you are an owner looking for help with your dog, a trainer taking your first steps towards helping others or an experienced trainer looking to improve – keep working, keep learning, stay curious.

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