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Guest interview:

Karen Wild

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ADMIN NOTE: Hi everyone - and welcome Karen Wild! Karen is a celeb trainer,
behaviourist,author and owner of Pawprint and Intellidogs in the UK.
Hi Karen and thanks for fitting us into that schedule!
Can you tell us how you got started?

Karen Wild HI everyone! I started when I got my first rescue dog. I was training him because he was
really bad with other dogs. I found a club nearby that was recommended to me and had a chief instructor who
was in the UKRCB and BIPDT. I started helping out at classes and eventually after a few years went to the
BIPDT to get qualified. The APDT did not exist properly then.

Denise O'Moore BTW everyone please give Karen a bit of time to type answers! And feel free to start
asking questions.

Emma Collar Hi Karen, do you have any tips for assessing whether people are able to follow advice
given regards a behaviour programme, for example when matching up potential owners to a rescue dog . Also
then equally any tips on helping people to understand the importance of doing (or not doing) A B and C..Thanks

Jemma Whitford do you ever work with dogs still in rescue or just in homes?

Karen Wild HI Emma Collar Yes - I generally get a feel for this quite quickly in terms of compliance. Little
things like how they correspond, how quickly they reply etc. I also do home visits for behaviour consults which
tells me a lot. If I think people aren't going to follow my advice I take a different route to convincing them that this
is the right way forward. My degree was in psychology so that has helped a lot!

Hi Jemma Whitford I work with families and their dogs, because that is the core of my experience and my
interest. if I can keep those dogs in their families then that is one less in rescue.

Meant to add Emma Collar I am speaking on this very subject at the APBC annual conference next year (March)
Denise O'Moore Karen - do you have any links for your talks that we can post after chat?

Karen Wild Yes I will pass those on Denise

Emma Collar yea i bet that helps a lot! and what sort of rout might those be? people get emotionally involved so
fast, i wonder if it effects appreciation of work involved?

Denise O'Moore In your book 'What your dog wants' you talk about motivation - Recall is a huge problem
for many as they can't compete with squirrels - any advice?

Karen Wild Emma Collar It helps to take on board that they are a family and very close to the problems
(and usually intertwined with them) so it's a case of picking it all apart and that takes time which is why behaviour
is so involved - and of course if you can't get clients to do what you want they generally won;t succeed. The best
clients for me are those that know they will have to change, to get change!

Esther Chai Hi Karen, how do you go about assessing a problem dog especially those which are
dog-to-dog aggressive for your client? IOW, do you take the dog out of the premise?

Karen Wild Denise - it's a case of assessing what exactly causes the recall issue. If it is a strong chase
instinct eg for squirrels I teach an instant stop and restrict freedom using a long line until the dog has earned the
freedom. Bearing in mind that dogs in this situation can become very frustrated and this can cause huge
problems. I also look at lead handling as often tension makes the problem a lot worse. I teach owners to
anticipate a lot more effectively and to handle the dog with the dogs' needs in mind.

Emma Collar yup good phrase! thanks

Jason Currie Hi Karen Wild thanks for sharing your time with us just going to do a catch up and then ask
some questions if you don't mind

Karen Wild Hi Esther Chai - it's a process that I have developed over a long time. I listen to the client, and
I also read between the lines about what they are telling me. I then compare this to the dog's behaviour. If it is
aggression I examine closely how severe the bite history has been, if any. I then look at the possible chance that
the dog is fearful or wants to chase (or is conflicted - could be both). I also look at the owner and how they say
they react. To do a practical assessment I often use a stooge (stuffed) dog to see what the dog does. That way it
is a low risk way to assess the dog and I am looking for specific body language signals to back up my hypothesis
about what is causing the problems.

Mary Wysocki Hi Karen! I would like to know why do some training schools think that someone who
is in a wheelchair CAN'T do dog training or become a behaviorist???

Karen Wild Hi Mary Wysocki - I am not sure which schools say that but I would imagine that kind of
discrimination is against the law. I also teach karate (in my other life) and we have no restrictions on students
with any kind of mobility issues, so why not allow someone to work in behaviour in the same way? That would
seem to be really unfair to exclude anyone just because they have a wheelchair.

Mary Wysocki I have trained dogs way before I became somewhat chained to my powerchair and
still train my current dog BBop, who is a dual purpose service dog and is the dog in my profile pic

I have a Rehab service counselor who sees me as being unable to do anything including training dogs

Denise O'Moore Mary - did you train BBop since he was a pup? I'd tell your counselor to mind their own

Karen Wild I imagine that there are some dogs that you might not want at face level, Mary, but having
said that in behaviour we are not supposed to put dogs under that kind of pressure (nor owners for that matter). I
am certain there might need to be some adjustments but nothing is impossible. I can't comment on what others
say, I think there might be some circumstances where it might be risky due to differing balance issues in a chair,
so it really depends what kind of training!

Snaps Petrie Mary Wysocki from what I've witnessed on other groups quite a few do agility training in

Jason Currie Karen can i ask what are the most common behaviour problems you faced ? have you
found the type of problems change over the years ? and i was just wondering what your feelings where with
regard to the bipdt because i know some say they teach dated methods

Julie Millard Hi Karen, do you think that Trainers can get too technical with aspects of learning theory
and overthink quadrants/operants/respondents etc.? Should trainers focus on becoming highly technical or focus
more on doing the simple things really well - and if so what are those simple things?

Mary Wysocki Yes!! I trained BBop myself. He is fluent in 3 languages, so if he gets away from me,
that he understands

Denise O'Moore lol that's good thinking Mary

nKaren Wild Hi Jason Currie My caseload stats show aggression towards people is the highest proportion
(about 26% on average), then dog-dog aggression cases. This is likely to be because I take cases on vet referral
only, which means that people are likely to be reaching the end of the road or potentially scared of their dog's
behaviour and taking it seriously enough to seek professional help. I have only found the type of problems
change because I now specialise in aggression cases and other trainers send them to me!

Jason Currie re: the BIPDT question, I am not a spokesperson for the organisation. I was not taught to be a dog
trainer by the BIPDT. I was assessed as a dog training instructor. From my personal experience the methods
used in those days varied from treat training to choke chains, but it was the choice of the instructor. Since then
(1997?) I have kept up to date but we used lure and reward methods at the time, along with choke chains which I
stopped using many years ago.

Cate Davis Hi Karen -great to have you onboard.

Jason Currie don't want to hog you Karen but just wondered what is the % of those aggression case that
require medication ? how do you assess the need ? and is there a rang of medications you find helpful ?

Karen Wild Hi Julie - Basically yes I do think that. It is really interesting to examine how we can become
better trainers and to look at the detail of learning theory. I learned it during my degree in 1993 so from then
nothing has really changed in terms of how it actually works. Because I work in an applied setting with families I
find that doing the simple things really well works best. I think training IS really simple, all the terminology is
labelling something that is basic. HOWEVER I do not think that assessing people's needs, or dogs' needs, is
simple at all. There are so many variables that this is where the time, skill, education and experience are highly

Jemma Whitford what was the point or deciding factor where you decided to specialise in

Julie Millard Karen do you think aggression towards people or dogs is on the increase and if so,

Jemma Whitford and do you think you see more people to dog aggression percentage wise
because it is the least socially acceptable or because there is more of it?

Karen Wild Hi Jemma Whitford - it wasn't a conscious decision other than my experience level ended up
leading cases in my direction - trainers and vets tended to send them to me - so I decided we might as well
specialise in this as it is an area a lot of people either won't touch or don't realise the risks involved. I would
never, ever take on aggression cases if I were straight out of training school or Uni. We have a duty of care to our
clients and aggression is just too complex and risky.

Karen Wild Hi Julie - I have not seen any stats on this so I could not say. However I do think people are
more likely to try and work with the dog nowadays perhaps.

Jemma Whitford it's a really fascinating and emotional topic

Karen Wild Jemma Whitford good question. It could be other reasons - i.e. they come to me instead of
someone else. They could have hope where in the past the help was not really there. They may have just got
completely fed up with the problem or more usually the dog has finally done something so violent or unspeakable
that the owner is pushed to seek help.

The important thing to remember about aggression cases is that they are always highly emotional and actually
scary for the owners. Often I see dogs that have bitten many times before the owners seek help. That is a very
tough job because as we know, practicing any behaviour usually makes it more permanent...!

Mary Wysocki I sometimes think that an aggressive dog may have been "taught" to be aggressive
which means it's a human problem more than a dog problem

Karen Wild Hi Jason Currie sorry did not see your earlier question on meds. All meds are for the Vet to
arrange and discuss, not for me. That is a standard part of my code of practice.

Karen Wild I think Mary Wysocki that there are so many factors and predispositions that can cause conflict.
Sadly dogs cannot easily express themselves to humans because pet dog owners are not trained to notice
warning signs. Aggression is a last resort, rarely a first option. I don't think people actively want their dogs to be

This is one of the biggest reasons I wrote my book in the way that I did. Not to be over simplistic but to basically
say 'HERE - this is what you need to know'

Emma Collar how do keep positive when working with so many aggression cases?

Mary Wysocki What I was getting at Karen, is those who think it's great to make a gladiator out of
their dog(pits,etc) and then when the dog is taken away from that fails to act correctly in another situation(dog

Tamara A Howard I see a lot of conflicted dogs and dogs that are environmentally fearful. What do you
think the root cause of these behaviours are, I'm keeping in mind that every dog, every owner and every situation
is different, but I'm interested in if you are seeing a trend regarding socialization Vs. genetic predisposition,
prenatal learning, treatment by human birth families or a cumilative of all the above?

Karen Wild I understand what you are saying Mary Wysocki - I don't know enough about the training of
dogs for fighting and I am not certain if there is evidence to show it translates into making rescues tricky to home.
Sue Sternberg's stuff is incredibly inspiring and interesting with regard to dogs and how the predatory/guarding
aggressive behaviour appears to be inherent rather than taught... fear aggression is another huge topic
altogether. Can we teach fear aggression in a fighting context? I guess so... there needs to be more study on this
I think.

Hi Emma Collar that is a GOOD point - if it weren't for my puppy classes I would be only ever seeing the wrong
end of the dog. Also the APBC is massively supportive and a really good bunch of nice, friendly people and we
are all in the same boat so we all support each other.

I also really, really like people. I like helping them. Sometimes they don;t follow advice and sometimes they go
wrong but they are at least trying and I really respect that. So that also keeps me feeling positive. If we can
educate people we can help them and in turn we can help their dogs. Sorry if that sounds soppy but I really
believe it.

Julie Millard Do you think the major education and welfare organisations should be doing more to
create some kind of meaningful self-regulation so that dog owners can get access to some kind of benchmarked
quality advice from qualified people?

Emma Collar yea i agree, seeing how much they love their dog something we can all relate to.

Karen Wild Hi Tamara A Howard LOVE that question. Well, it's definitely cumulative and a lot more
factors beside including breeding choices. I think that the severe cases I see are rarely 'created' by humans. My
caseload may not be representative for the reasons I have given above. But I usually see dogs that people have
at least tried with. Sometimes they have done slightly odd things but I strongly believe that if you gave those
same people a different dog it would not have turned out in the same way. Therefore I am absolutely opposed to
the idea that we create a dog entirely by our contact with him.

.I often see dogs that have been well socialised, been to reasonable training places, can do all sorts of things to
command. I also see dogs that quite frankly would be a handful even with the most experienced trainer. Part of
my job, probably most of it, is picking all this apart to see where the changes can be made, and where the risk
management has to be at its most effective. That includes what the owners are in fact capable of doing because
some owners are infirm, small in proportion to their dog, or are not 'practical' people, so the BMP would change
accordingly. If anyone is considering a career in behaviour you really do have to like people and know how they
tick, and interact with them well and persuade them well. I don't always get it right and some clients I feel like I
will never convince, but we can only try our best based on experience and qualification. I keep in close contact
with the Vets too as they can help hugely and usually know the clients well too.

Hi Julie Millard - I am not sure what you mean by self-regulation but the ABTC (Animal Behaviour and Training
Council) is marching forwards at a rate of knots and is taking the main organisations on board and setting
standards for us all to follow and agree to. The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) assess their full
members very thoroughly and ask for proof of CPD each year. Despite rather ill-informed criticism, the APBC full
members are mostly from a practical training background

Tamara A Howard Thanks Karen Wild, a late but warm welcome to the group chat and a very sincere thank you
for your time today.
Karen Wild But there will always be people that think they know more than they do (we are all included in
that one but I do find the more I know the more I realise I need to know a lot lot more).


Really great questions thank you everyone for spending time here with me this evening it has been an absolute

Denise O'Moore ADMIN NOTE: Hi everyone - we got to close up but if any of you have any further questions
please tag Karen in them for answering later. ALSO- try get them in to her by Wednesday. Will be posting all
details of books and talks for you in a few mins. Can I just thank Karen for her time and the group admin for all
there work in getting great guests.

Julie Millard self-regulation would be non-statutory regulation...and the ABTC is important but the
Kennel Club aren't on board and neither are 'other' organisations so you're actually likely to have three rival
camps claiming to be the primary place to get advice about your dog...
But thanks for your answers...

Jemma Whitford who are the other rival camps?

Karen Wild I just follow the one I believe is best, it is up to everyone to make their own personal
choices my choice is ABTC, APBC :))))

Denise O'Moore http://www.facebook.com/l.php...

What Your Dog Wants order your signed book today!
'What Your Dog Wants - 7 key skills of a perfect dog owner' by Karen Wild
Sue Sternberg - Successful Dog Adoption. (this book is excellent - just thought I'd pop it up as Karen mentioned
Sue earlier.

Karen Wild No matter how much you think you know about dogs - Sue Sternberg knows more highly
recommended and her Dog Park app is fascinating too.

Denise O'Moore http://www.facebook.com/l.php...

Karen Wild Workshop

Conferences and Events | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
Some booking forms are now supplied as Adobe Acrobat files (.pdf). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader it
can be downloaded from www.adobe.com
Tamara A Howard Thank you Denise O'Moore and the MDT&BA group for their participation in another
fantastic and informative chat. The opportunity to learn from some of the best of the best is indeed a privilege.
As Karen Wild said, the more I know the more I don't know!

Karen Wild Thanks everyone the time flew by didn't it? I have to see to my kids now but thank you all for
the questions, really interesting. Cheers!

Jemma Whitford thankyou!

Mary Wysocki thank you!!