"Two years ago I adopted Paisley, who within a couple months started nipping at guests in our home and barking and lunging at other dogs during walks near our home. Needless to say, I had my hands full as a novice dog owner. We had successfully completed group training classes, and worked 1:1 with a trainer, but made limited progress. I found Kiki through a vet recommendation and now almost one year after first meeting Kiki, our progress has been tremendous. We first tackled indoor behavior with guests and leaned “relax on a mat,” which has been a cornerstone for remaining relaxed with visitors. Treats are never far from my side so I can reward all positive behavior. Now when we have guests I know exactly what to do. Paisley still has a hard time on occasion, but now the positive experiences far outweigh the negative experiences. Outside on walks, we’ve implemented marking and reinforcing Paisley for the moment she spots another dog. After many months of practicing this behavior on every walk, we have been making progress! Many people have commented to me that Paisley’s behavior has improved so much and they can tell the difference in my level of confidence handling her. The last key to our success was Kiki’s referral to a vet behaviorist for medication for anxiety. Having Paisley on anti-anxiety meds has really enhanced her ability to learn the appropriate alternative behaviors that we trained. I am so grateful for Kiki’s expertise and would recommend her to any dog owner!" Kim with Paisley
"Kiki worked with us to help our four-year old rescue Shiba Inu, Kiku, attain a friendly posture with humans; whereas before Kiku was afraid, aggressive or aloof around them. This made life so much better for Kiku and for us. Thank you, Kiki!” Kathy & Matt with Kiku
"For many years my husband and I lived with a much beloved greyhound. We were devastated after his passing, and some years passed before we felt we were ready for having a dog in our lives again. However, now our lives had changed considerably as we had an almost 2-year-old daughter. After deciding that a greyhound was no longer a good fit for our new family dynamics (i.e., highly active toddler), we opted for a lab‐poodle puppy mix. Nora was as sweet as could be, but a completely different personality than our previous dog (duh), and we found it a lot more challenging than anticipated managing both child and puppy interactions.
Prior to Nora, we thought we knew dogs, but quickly found out we were as green as everybody else. Not surprisingly this led to multiple anxiety‐ridden interactions with our new canine friend, which then led to confusion and defensiveness on the dog’s part, and ours. For the sake of our child’s safety and the well being of the dog, we were considering rehoming Nora. We had never worked with a dog trainer before, but decided to try it to see if we could help our situation and avoid rehoming Nora.
Kiki took our situation and concerns very seriously, and because of her thoroughness and confidence, we were quickly assured that it was a workable situation. We really loved clicker training and Kiki. Her methods made a lot of sense, and provided a clear line of communication between us and Nora. Kiki was always very professional, specific, and thorough in demonstrating new lessons; making sure we understood the underlying function of each behavior and training exercise. She always followed up training sessions with tons of helpful resources specific to what we covered that day. We learned so much about canine behavior (and our own!), and it was in such a positive way!
Nora loved the training sessions and Kiki, and any behavior issues that we had been experiencing initially quickly went away. We were given the communication tools to have a wonderful, strong bond with Nora, and she is now truly part of our family. Furthermore, Kiki also helped us in giving tools to our young daughter in how to safely and respectfully interact with dogs, and we see the fruits of that every day. We highly recommend Kiki and clicker training to anyone considering working with a dog trainer!" Diana & Jay with Nora
"When we adopted our Staffie/Boxer/Mastiff mix he was 6 months old, a bit fearful, and occasionally out-of-control. Fergus was a destructive chewer who demolished furniture and whatever else he could get his mouth on. He also would get very riled up after walks and race around the apartment like a maniac. A friend recommended that we contact Kiki and we’re so glad we did. Kiki suggested that Fergus’ digestive problems could be negatively affecting his behavior (yep! new food made a big difference) and provided calming techniques that have been really effective. He’s less fearful and seems more confident. Positive reinforcement has really worked to help Fergus develop into a happy dog and we are grateful to Kiki for her guidance." Patty with Fergus
"My wife and I had private training lessons with Kiki starting when our Olde English Bulldogge puppy, Bunny Jones, was about 12 weeks. She came to our home and accommodated our changing schedules to set our appointments. Kiki taught us how to properly and effectively use the clicker, making certain that we had the timing and rhythm of marking behavior and quickly delivering the reward to the puppy. When we had become competent at clicking and treating, she started us in on working with the bulldogge. She supervised us working with the puppy and pointed out what we were doing well and what we needed to work on. She assured us that the more we worked with the puppy, the better the results would be.
We took it to heart and tried to use the clicker with the puppy as much as we could without overfeeding her. It went just as Kiki said it would go and we could not be more pleased with our results. Bunny Jones is attentive and polite in the ways that we worked on with her. In addition I have every confidence that I can condition her to display any behavior that I put forth the effort to condition with the clicker.
Clicker training was super-effective and fun for both my wife and me and the puppy. We have never once shouted at the dog or hit her. She is a mindful and sweet bulldogge. Kiki put us on the right path to be proactive in raising the kind of pet we want to be living in our home with us. We are most grateful for her expertise." Chris & Adriana with Bunny Jones
"I just came in from a walk with Chief and wanted to share a quick story with you! Chief and I encountered a woman walking a dog across the street, and we got into a really nice sit-look-click-treat rhythm. When the woman was directly across the street from me, she called over to me and asked if I was a dog trainer (which is probably the highest compliment I could receive in this context). She said that she's a dog walker and has seen me around the neighborhood. She's noticed the work I've been doing with him and the progress he's made. We had a good 2-minute conversation and, all the while, Chief is sitting calmly at my feet and I'm click-treating away. She's looking for a trainer for her reactive dog and of course I mentioned you by name :) Anyway, I just wanted to take a second to share that with you. It was a great moment for me and Chief, with many thanks to you!" Diana with Chief
"I wanted to thank you for the amazing work & training sessions you have conducted with Brandt, Stan, and I. Over the past 2 weeks, there has a been a sudden positive change in his behavior. He is becoming more independent and easy to work with. When I work from home or when we watch TV, he now will sit on the other couch or mix it up. I took him home to Ohio to visit my family, he was an angel (even around my young nieces but most importantly loved running outside on a longer leash). He still has a few bursts of playfulness, which is nice. Reactions towards dogs has been mixed but moving towards positive. This transition with adopting Stan wouldn't have gone as smooth without you." Drew with Stanley
"We feel that you have helped us to meet and go beyond our goals for training Bort. His behavior is working well with our family dynamic, and we are very satisfied with where he is at. We are so GRATEFUL for all the help that you have given us and feel that we hit the jackpot to have found you." Megan and Kosta with Bort
"Kiki has been working with our dog Caine for a few months now and we are thrilled with the results! Caine is a very mellow dog that came to us through Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, but he has a hard time with thunderstorms and fireworks, as many dogs do. His anxiety was becoming more generalized, and he started to be fearful of planes—an even bigger problem, as we live under one of the flight paths to O'Hare Airport. After just one session with Kiki, we were able to reduce Caine’s plane anxiety to almost nothing. We are continuing to work with Kiki to help reduce Caine's thunderstorm and fireworks anxiety. We are learning about tools to deal with his problems. Caine was a little reluctant to engage when Kiki first started working with him, but he now is an eager learner and truly enjoys his time with Kiki. My husband and I have also learned so much and now know how to work with him on our own, with Kiki's guidance. As an added bonus, Caine is learning some really cool tricks!!" Julia & Patrick with Caine
"Before Kiki came into his life, I thought my dog, Chooch, was a mental defective. He just wasn't right. He was food aggressive and an ornery little bastard. You could not leave a sandwich laying on a plate on the table—it was like living in the wild with a wolf and having to fight him for your own dinner. Then Kiki taught him and me what to expect from each other—what Chooch was really seeing in my actions. She taught us a new way to communicate, and he has changed for the better in a way that can only be described as tidal. He is a new dog—who is much happier. Now if I could just get Kiki to train my kids..." Tony with Chooch
Survey Says . . .
The Karen Pryor Academy conducts an annual anonymous client survey for members who wish to receive statistically significant feedback and earn the "Client Endorsed" designation. I have participated since the program was introduced in 2012 years ago, and have earned the designation all six years. Here is what some of my clients had to say:
"She obviously loves the dogs and finds joy in working with them. She respects and listens to the humans. She thinks carefully about training issues that come up. She is a likeable, friendly person who is easy to work with."
"Kiki is sweet and loving to our dogs. She helped us have better control over them on walks and have long-term behavior goals. Really enjoyed working with her."
"Kiki's insight about our dog, Cubby, and his crazy jumping when we return home and his and his brother's crazies when the doorbell rings were fantastic. I only wish we had met with her sooner."
"Our dog enjoys all training but Kiki opened our eyes to making training much more fun for him. The use of games really changed how we interact with him."
"Kiki helped me understand dog behavior much better than I had before our training sessions. I also appreciated her thorough follow-up e-mails, which outlined everything we'd covered in the sessions and provided additional resources."
"Kiki was so chill and personable. I felt really comfortable and happy about inviting her into our home. There was never any awkwardness-- she was always so easy and settled in with our pups right away."
"I did not think my dog's behavior was able to change. Not only were we able to change the problematic behavior, my relationship with my dog is so much better than it was."
"Kiki has helped me tremendously in teaching my dog appropriate behavior while guests visit our home. My dog has anxiety and fear aggression. She had nipped the feet of a few guests in the past. I had worked with another trainer, but did not achieve nearly the same level of progress as we did with Kiki. Kiki also recommended seeing a [veterinary] behaviorist, which we did, and Kiki has attended all of the appointments with my dog and I! This was an amazing level of service and I thought made the appointments much more productive as she could add her experiences observing the dog from an expert point of view."
"Her training method makes total sense (understanding the motivations behind what dogs do and how they respond) and is totally different than what I had been taught 20 years ago when I had family dogs as a child."
"I contacted Kiki because our puppy was bitting me beyond normal puppy bitting. I became scared and unsure of myself with the puppy and Kiki was able to work with me to help me and the puppy regain trust and a fun relationship."
"I was very appreciative of how Kiki framed the importance of gaining my dog's trust. Keeping this in mind has shaped many of my interactions with him."
"We enjoyed the sessions, but the results are really spectacular."
"Great insight in how to best approach a problem. I have had many dogs and have never needed a trainer. Kiki taught me a lot about what I did not know...very helpful."
"My little JR was trying to bite his dog walker. Not only did Kiki teach the walker and me techniques, but she recognized that my dog had an anxiety disorder, which has required medication."
"She is amazing and our dog has learned so much from her!"
"Kiki's direct communication, follow-up emails, and support were all incredibly helpful for us as first-time dog parents with a very challenging big dog."
"Kiki is not just a trainer, she is now a trusted friend and invaluable resource for information about dogs."
"As a school psychologist, it was refreshing to see the same techniques we work toward using with children in schools can be applied to dog training to achieve maximum happiness for both pet parent and pet."
"Prior to working with Kiki, another trainer (with whom we had an initial consultation only) suggested using a prong collar. My girlfriend and I did not feel entirely comfortable with this, so we began working with Kiki. Our dog now uses a harness and positive reinforcement during walks and we (dog included) could not be happier."
"We learned so much in such short time, and best of all I know my dog was happy with the lessons. She even got rewarded with destroying one of Miss Kiki's real-fur toys."
"Kiki rocked, she was very well informed and articulate. She is patient with not only the dog, but us as well."
"My dog now loves going to her blue mat and I learned it's OK to guide my dog to a safe place when people come over while giving her time to warm up. I also learned effective language to communicate to visitors to ignore my dog until she is settled and comfortable to come to you. The other huge bonus is Kiki uses her fantastic communication skills and writing skills to provide detailed synopses of the sessions and guidance for practice between sessions. These reference tools ensured my husband and I did not have the opportunity to 'interpret' the lessons in our own way—the material was written for us to review and practice."
"She was clear, lessons were tailored for me and my dog's needs. She was a great problem solver and could adapt to the dog."
"[We appreciated] how much we learned, not just what we were able to teach our dog. Kiki helped us learn the right ways to enforce behaviors and taught us how to get the behaviors we want out of our dog. We are so happy that we were able to work with Kiki on so many issues, and now we are prepared for any future issues that we may encounter with our pup."
"She provided a variety of approaches to the problems until we found things that worked. She was very skilled and knowledgeable. She provided me with great on-line resources and terrific follow-up notes after each session.￼"
"Kiki has an amazing ability to break complex explanations for behaviors into easy-to-understand language. She taught us WHY our dog was doing certain things, rather than just telling us how to correct them. She was friendly, easy to communicate with, and not intimidating at all."
"Kiki is an excellent trainer. Kiki displayed a high level of knowledge of practical strategies for working with our fear aggressive terrier, while continuing to remind us safety is our priority and it is unrealistic to expect our dog will magically be happy around new people in the home. Kiki did not push us to buy more sessions than necessary—instead she recommended we work with the information she presented for a couple weeks before meeting again. Once we reached a level of satisfaction with our progress toward managing our priority behaviors with our dog, Kiki said goodbye and let us know she is available for booster sessions or if we would like to work on any other behaviors."
"Kiki understands that sometimes training has to adapt and treats every situation with empathy and encouragement"
"Kiki was always prompt, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. I don't know what else I could ask for."
"Easy to grasp, easy to implement teaching lessons."
"I like how personal and directed the training was. Kiki wanted to get to know me and Mabel (my dog), and while of course some training methods are set I didn't feel like she was just offering a generic, one-size-fits-all solution."
"Clear demo/instructions. Amazing follow up with emails containing videos and articles of everything discussed during training."
I liked her "careful consideration of the best ways to break down complex behaviors into something that I could teach my dog."
"Working with Kiki is great--she's always ready with practical suggestions, and she follows up with THE BEST reference material in email! She keeps track of our progress and is very encouraging, even when we feel like we're 'hitting the wall' or regressing. She's got a lot of patience, and that's as necessary working with our dogs as with us!"
"Kiki was awesome as a trainer and changed the way I think about our dog's behavior completely."
"After my consultation with Kiki, I felt far more confident and excited to become a new dog-mom to my husky, Xena. Bits of Kiki's invaluable advice pop into my mind every day."
"Ernie (my dog) and I love Kiki. Extremely patient and kind and very knowledgeable. She always put Ernie first in safety and comfort with what we were doing."
"Kiki is wonderful! I have loved working with her over the past few months. Not only does my dog love working with her, but she explains what she is doing throughout the process so I know what to do in between sessions."
"Kiki provided stellar in-person instruction, modeling, and support. This was continued via email and phone, and her suggestions and detailed information have been extremely helpful."
"Kiki is a strong proponent of positive reinforcement training. She can get more out of our dogs by standing still and saying nothing than all the NO!s I've ever shouted in frustration. My goal is to be more zen, like Kiki!"
"Beautiful force-free methods. A joy to watch how Kiki teaches and trains. When you see the wonderful communication that develops between dog and handler you just want to shout it to the world! So few people know how to do this so kindly and so well!"
"One of the things I valued in particular was the written instructions and troubleshooting Kiki provided. I am confident with that guidance, we will be able to continue this method of communication for many years to come."
"Kiki has fantastic traits --the same ones you'd want in any kind of coach: She's patient, a great role model, a super communicator. She's great at breaking down behaviors into tiny steps, so we can see success! Add up all those tiny successes, and pretty soon, you have a much better dog!"
"I am a veterinarian and already have highly recommended Kiki to my clients. I also share her wisdom and wonderful facebook posts and blogs with my veterinary clients. She communicates beautifully with both the people and the pets in her classes. It is a beautiful thing to see force-free training in action with Kiki."
"The biggest deal for us is that both dogs are now quiet at dinner time. We can eat in peace, just treating the dogs occasionally during the meal. Fergus is also perfect about getting his leash on/off, and that used to be such a struggle. He is less skittish and barky in general. And now we know how to give him useful distractions and reward him for being good, rather than waiting for the problem to escalate to the point where we end up shouting. It's been a great experience!"
"The in-person sessions were great and very informative and we learned a LOT. But the follow ups were even better for me; I could read them in a leisurely way and watch the videos and read the links Kiki sent. This always added depth to our sessions and reinforced the 'WHY' behind all the exercises. This made the whole training experience more meaningful and satisfying to me--which kept me engaged. THANKS!"
"Kiki is very helpful. She is kind and caring, and really listens to the people she teaches. She had good ideas and suggestions, and is such a well rounded person with much knowledge."
"Kiki was very nice and my dog loved her from the start. Kiki explained everything in a easy way and she helped me be better for my dog. I learned what to do (and not to do) for the best results. After a session, Kiki always followed up with a thorough email detailing what we learned and included other helpful information. She also contacted my vet to give her progress updates. Kiki went far beyond my expectations."
"She made learning how to teach my dog very easy to understand."
"Kiki is extraordinary. She is meticulous in her attention to detail, her preparation, her compassion, and her flexibility."
We liked "her patience, intelligence and humor during training and her EXCELLENT, thorough pre- and post-session emails. Wow!"
"She's easygoing, and she customizes her visits to help us with where we are with the dog at that moment and pushes us (positively) to learn."
We liked "her patience with us (the humans) and her encouragement even when we didn't see the changes we wanted. With time, they have always come!"
I liked "her very detailed follow-ups and caring work with both me and my dog, often going way above and beyond!
"She individualized the plan to perfectly suit our special needs."
Kiki made "sure the sessions focused on achieving the goals we were seeking. Kiki has a gentle and patient demeanor that Moz and I found very easy to work with."
"A calm and patient demeanor and lots of positive reinforcement for everyone."
I liked "having somebody so empathic work to help me define what I want from my dog, and not get too anxious when I haven't yet integrated the clicker training. The write-ups she sent me are invaluable and I refer to them all the time."
"Kiki helped our dog with his issues after just one lesson."
"Kiki really talks you through a training session and reinforces when you (the owner) are doing things right and helps guide when you've missed the mark. Her approach his warm and welcoming and helped us feel at ease with our dog."
Kiki gave us "specific goals to work on throughout the week and provided follow up emails outlining what had been discussed in the previous week's class."
"Wish she lived at my place and could whisper in my ear 24/7."