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My name is Karen Wylie. I’ve been training dogs ever since I was a child. I believe that positive training creates dogs that love interacting with their humans, and am committed to force-free training methods using the most up-to-date scientific research. Using principles from applied behavior analysis and operant conditioning, I use learning techniques for animals that provide solid results. And happy dogs. I design carefully considered training plans that allow each dog to achieve his/her full potential as valued family members and that allow each handler to improve their training and communication skills. I especially believe that each dog should be recognized as an individual, and so, too, the humans with whom they interact.

Through in-home private consultations, day training, and walk-and-train services, I specialized in family pet manners. I hold both a BA degree (majoring in English and History) as well as a BSc (Hons) degree in Conservation Biology. I actually began my career in information technology and management consultancy before deciding to leave the corporate world behind to study animal behavior. I returned to University and finished with an MSc degree from the University of Oxford in Integrative Biosciences. My focus was on conservation and behavioral ecology. I then worked in the area I loved most, working hands-on with individual animals, and with dogs in particular.

I take great pride in continuing my education so that I remain up-to-date with the latest scientifically proven methods of animal training. My most recent educational accomplishments include the following:
  • Graduated with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy where I earned the designation Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) in 2013
  • Gained the CPDT-KA certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2015
  • Attended the first Pet Professional Guild Summit in 2015
  • Attended ClickerExpo’s in 2013, 2014 and 2017
  • Attended Shedd Aquarium’s Animal Trainer course with Ken Ramirez in Chicago in 2016
  • Attended Ferretpalooza 2015
  • Graduated from Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning With Animals for Veterinary and Animal Professionals course at Utah State University in 2014
  • Attended Suzanne Clothier’s Annual Trainer’s Workshop in 2014 and 2015
I’ve not only worked with my own dogs and those of my private clients, but have taught classes at both Heavenly Hounds Dog Training and  Kindred Companions LLCClasses have included puppy socialization classes, basic and advanced teenager and adult dog classes, tricks classes,  Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog preparation classes, and introductory rally classes. I’ve also volunteered a lot of my time at local animal shelters, where I worked with behaviorally challenged dogs.

I’m a member of the following professional organizations:

  • The Association for Professional Dog Trainers; Professional Member #80833
  • The Pet Professional Guild – Full Member Dog Training Professional
  • The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants – Supporting member in the Dog Division

Like many other dog trainers I’ve come to this field in my more “mature” years (hey, I’m still young enough) after coming into accidental guardianship of a very reactive stray dog.  Tycho was a challenge to absorb into mainstream family life as a well-balanced and happy dog, and the hours I spent in learning to understand canine body language and the science of animal learning in order to rehabilitate him changed my life. Despite all our efforts, we eventually took the decision to euthanize Tycho.  You can read more about his story on this blog post.  I currently have two dogs that we share our lives with: Dakota is a very lovable and steady Berger Blanc Suisse (White Swiss Shepherd) that is easy to train, well socialized, and a joy to be with, whilst Kira is a small Kooikerhondje that has taught me much about the trials and tribulations of living with a small breed of dog. She is cute, pretty and, as a typical Kooiker, just a little bit stand-offish, yet always wants to be in the same room as me.  I love them all to bits…

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And now, with this blog, I’ve also become an unproven writer.  Wish me luck.  My journey of self-discovery is ongoing.

 

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