Carolyn has been training and caring for animals since she was a child. She was a member of 4-H and trained, bred, and showed her horses starting in elementary school. As a young adult she became a 4-H leader and years later started the first dog agility program for 4-H students in her area. Carolyn’s childhood dogs were her best friends and gave her early insights into behavior and training. As an English Spring Spaniel breeder for many years, Carolyn continued to study dog behavior and showed her dogs in a variety of sports. As the founder and past president of the New England English Springer Spaniel Rescue, she evaluated, rehabilitated, trained and placed dozens of homeless dogs. While she no longer breeds dogs, her experiences of watching behavior from the whelping box through all stages of life has given her invaluable insights into her current work.
Carolyn’s dream of training dogs and their people professionally started in 1985. She worked as a classroom instructor for one of the most progressive dog training businesses in the country until 1991 when she founded Gemini Dog Training, a full-service training and daycare facility and then founded DOGS! Learning Center in 2007. Through the years, Carolyn has always been involved in rescue and/or shelter work. She is a behavior consultant for the MSPCA, providing classes for reactive dogs and behavior therapy for shelter dogs and their families. As an innovator and risk-taker, she helped develop, and is the Training Director for, Operation Delta Dog. ODD is a non-profit that trains shelter dogs for veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTS in New England. (www.operationdeltadog.org) She also finds time to teach K9 Nose Work® classes weekly and teach at K9 Nose Work® Training Camps throughout the country.
The desire for a better understanding of the canine mind and behavior has been the motivating factor in all aspects of her dog experience. Beginning with traditional training techniques, she knew there had to be a better way. Pursuing that better way has evolved into clicker training and a more thoughtful scientific and effective use of operant and classical conditioning. Carolyn believes that training and behavior modification should be safe, enjoyable, and successful for both the dog and the humans who love them. Most importantly, she maintains an open mind to new information and what every dog has to teach the human student.
In November 2001, Carolyn made dog training history along with 117 other dog trainers in the USA, passing the first standardized professional certification test created by what is now known as the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. For the last three decades Carolyn has trained and mentored 100’s of potential dog training instructors. Many of her previous students and staff trained through her instructor programs have gone on to become Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA), running their own classes and businesses.
Carolyn focuses much of her time on behavior modification through private consulting and training classes. She educates and coaches owners of fearful, aggressive, reactive, and/or socially challenged dogs. Carolyn’s teaching background includes: group classes and workshops on clicker training skills, reactive dog management, and a variety of dog sports that include: K9 Nose Work®, agility, obedience, tracking, and earthdog.
Carolyn has been training, competing, and titling dogs for over 35 years in obedience, conformation, tracking, agility, earth dog, and most recently in K9 Nose Work®. Carolyn’s PRT, Steiff, earned the NW3 Elite titles and qualified for the 2014 NACSW™ National Invitational. Carolyn’s Border Collie, Breezy, has her ELT2 and competed in the 2017 NACSW™ National Invitational winning one class and taking second in another. Her young rescue dog, Sam, is learning the foundation skills for Nose Work competition.
Along with her training and behavior work, Carolyn wrote Clicker Basics for Dogs and Puppies. She has two DVD’s produced from the Clean Run Instructor Conference: one on Agility Foundation and one on Scaredy Dogs. Carolyn has co-taught canine cognition/behavior courses at Harvard University Extension School with Bruce Blumberg PhD and was an instructor for Karen Pryor Academy for many years.