Helping families one dog at a time
Kate with one of her Godpuppies
Kate and Baloo

Why choose a Behavior Consultant?

A Behavior Consultant isn’t the same as a dog trainer. A Behavior Consultant may also be a trainer, but the two are not synonymous. A trainer typically teaches the dog to do things, while a behavior consultant looks at the underlying issues and seeks to solve those. So, for example, a dog trainer might teach a dog to sit or heel, while a Behavior Consultant will ask “why is the dog growling at guests, and how can we make him feel more comfortable so he doesn’t need to growl?”

These are fundamentally different approaches to working with animals, and to helping you and your family live your best life. If you have very few “behavior problems”, a trainer might be right for you: you can work on things like agility, dock diving, nose-work and obedience, by and large fun skills that can enhance QOL for you and your dog. However, if you are striving to address behavior problems such as not listening to you, running away, tearing stuff up, or aggression, hyperarousal and compulsive behaviors, you probably want to work with a Behavior Consultant. Why? Because addressing the underlying issues is likely to be more effective in the long term.

Addressing problem behaviors through a “trainer” lens is more likely to apply top-down or single-issue solutions, and you are likely to play “whack-a-mole” as the dog struggles to deal with his emotions. When you address problems from a wholistic bottom-up approach, you remove the reasons why the dog is acting out in the first place. By putting our efforts onto the underlying cause, we can often solve multiple issues simultaneously, transforming your relationship from one of conflict and frustration to one of harmony and joy.

If you care about your dog’s emotional well-being, about his or her happiness, and about your own happiness and joy, then seeing a behavior consultant is probably the choice for you.

What does a behavior consultant do?

A Behavior Consultant will look at your lifestyle and your dog’s daily activities and surroundings. They will work with you to resolve stress factors and pain points that might be affecting your, and your dog’s, happiness. A behavior consultant is going to work with you to resolve the issues that are coming between you and your dog, and those issues that are making every day life seem harder and less fulfilling than it should be.

What a Behavior Consultant does is help you develop trust and communication with your dog so your partnership can thrive for life. A lot of us work on the emotions (anger, fear, boredom, stress, even rejection and loneliness) that cause dogs to act out in unexpected and unwanted ways.

We analyze body language. Dogs don’t speak in words, so to understand what they are saying, we have to read their body language. We “ask” them a lot of questions, and, by listening to how they respond, we can understand a lot about what they are feeling. If we respond appropriately, we build up effective two-way communication and trust. If you ever wanted to understand what your dog is saying, then working with a Behavior Consultant is for you.

We analyze your lifestyle-we conduct a thorough intake interview. We ask you a lot of questions. We visit your home. And we look at all of this through your dog’s eyes to identify unseen or unrecognized issues that are causing you and your dog stress.

We take all of this info and, with your input, devise the least disruptive and easiest solutions that fit in with your lifestyle. These solutions may involve lifestyle changes, management, and training. Most often, they involve low-stress and enjoyable games to increase your partnership, erase fear, and build communication.

Where do I do it?

My training comes to you! We work in the privacy of your home or the local park, and we are flexible enough to fit most schedules.

Certifications and ethics

Looking for certifications and ethics? Caitlin is a fully Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She is a certified Fear Free ™ trainer. And, she holds a PhD in biology. We adhere to the IAABC’s policy on Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) strategies. We also embrace the Fear Free™ mission to provide unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in pets to improve the experience of every human and pet involved.