Karen Wylie has been training dogs ever since she was a child. She believes that positive training creates dogs that love interacting with their humans, and is committed to force-free training methods using the most up-to-date scientific research. Using principles from applied behavior analysis and operant conditioning, she employs learning techniques for animals that provide quick and solid results. And happy dogs. Karen designs carefully considered training plans that allows each dog to achieve his/her full potential as valued family members and that allows each dog owner to improve their training skills. She especially believes that each dog should be recognized as an individual, and so, too, the humans with which they interact.
Karen specializes in family pet manners. Karen holds both a BA degree (majoring in English and History) as well as a BSc (Hons) degree in Conservation Biology. She began her career in information technology and management consultancy before deciding to leave the corporate world behind to study animal behavior. She returned to University and finished with an MSc degree from the University of Oxford in Integrative Biosciences. Her focus was on conservation and behavioral ecology. During this time period, Karen did much of her academic research on birds and on the European Badger, spending much time in the field studying the ethology of these animals. Karen then decided to work in the area she loved most, working hands-on with companion animals, and with dogs in particular.
Karen takes great pride in continuing her education so that she remains up-to-date with the latest scientifically proven methods of animal training. Karen’s most recent educational accomplishments include the following:
Graduated with distinction from the renowned Karen Pryor Academy where she earned the designation Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)
Graduated from Professor Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning With Animals for Veterinary and Animal Professionals course
Attended Suzanne Clothier’s Annual Trainer’s Workshop
Currently gaining certification in CARAT (the Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool) at Level 1. This is a temperament-assessment tool that creates a detailed profile of the individual dog as a unique combination of many traits that work together to influence, mitigate, exacerbate, or enhance each other.
Passed the CCPDT Knowledge Exam, earning her the designation Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
Karen has worked not only with her own dogs and those of her clients, but has also assisted in dog training classes at Heavenly Hounds Dog Training in Lawrenceville, NJ and now at Kindred Companions in Frenchtown, NJ. She has been involved in training, either as teacher-in-charge or as an assistant, Puppy classes, Basic Obedience, Tumultuous Teens, Intermediate Obedience, Basic Agility, Tricks classes and Rally classes. This has provided on-the-ground experience for Karen. She also volunteers at a local shelter, where she works with behaviorally challenged dogs.
Karen regularly attends classes, workshops, and conferences presented by experts in dog training, canine behavior evaluation, and counseling. She has studied under Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Kathy Sdao, Karen Pryor, Ken Ramirez, Suzanne Clothier, Hannah Branigan, Denise Fenzi, Dr. Deb Jacobs and Robin Bennett, to name just a few respected training figures.
Karen is 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 Karen has come to this field 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 effort she spent learning to understand canine body language and the science of animal learning in order to rehabilitate him have allowed her to finally pursue this lifelong dream. She currently has two dogs: 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 Karen much about the trials and tribulations of living with a small breed of dog. Kira is cute, pretty and, as a typical Kooiker, just a little bit stand-offish, yet always wants to be in the same room as Karen. She love them all to bits…