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About the Trainer

Kate LaSala, CTC, CBCC-KA, PCBC-A, CSAT

As a professional dog trainer and certified behavior consultant specializing in fear and aggression, I’ve helped over 1700 dogs overcome issues their guardians thought were impossible – fear of strangers, resource guarding, growling at toddlers and more. With over 5,000 hours of hands-on training fearful dogs, I have the relevant experience to rescue you and help you enjoy your dog again.  I’m veterinarian- recommended and maintain relationships with several Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorists, working in tandem to help clients achieve their goals.  As a former shelter trainer, I partner with rescues and shelters to help adopted and foster dogs succeed. As a Family Dog Private Trainer and licensed Family Paws Parent Educator, I’m uniquely qualified to help families with babies or kids.

And since dog training is an unregulated industry, I am also deeply committed to continuing education and transparency.  I’ve advocated for legislation to regulate educational and training standards, to implement consumer protection laws and partnered with local chapters of the HSUS to speak at town council meetings to shutter puppy mill stores in the NYC area.

So whether you need help with a growly, bitey, fraidy dog, or are preparing for life with a new baby or your new dog just needs some manners, I can help and we can work together to improve your and your dog’s quality of life.

Professional Certifications & Memberships

Certificate in Training and Counseling, CTC with Honors – The Academy for Dog Trainers

CBCC-KA (Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed) – Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT)

PCBC-A (Professional Canine Behavior Consultant) – Pet Professional Accreditation Board

CSAT (Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer)

Family Paws Parent Educator

The Family Dog Private Trainer

Bright and Beautiful Certified Therapy Dog Evaluator

Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Full Member

Fear Free Elite Certified Professional

Certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Referral Trainer for Dogtopia Stamford CT

Years in The Business

Happy Clients

Continuing Education Credits

Professional Certifications/Affiliations

My Approach

Quite simply, I use science, not because it’s flashy but because science works (whether we believe it or not!) and gets you results. I distill all the important learning theory and applied behavior analysis into easily digestible ways to help your dog. This includes rewarding behaviors you want increased, using non-painful, non-scary ways to decrease unwanted behaviors and using desensitization and counterconditioning for behavior modification in fear and aggression cases. I am wholly committed to positive reinforcement training and will never hurt, coerce, scare or “dominate” your dog in any way.

My Values & Training Philosophy

Dog training is an unregulated industry, so in the US, there are no legal or educational requirements to be a trainer.  Any method is allowed, including electric shock, and there’s no overseeing authority ensuring people who call themselves trainers actually have a working, scientific understanding of animal learning and behavior. There is no consumer protection and no recourse if someone hurts or makes your dog’s problem worse. That’s why it is so important that while you’re searching for a trainer that you know who you will be entrusting your furry family member to. Ask questions and demand transparency.  I vow to be completely transparent with my answers and methods, as I have nothing to hide. See all of our credentials, certifications, affiliations and continuing education here. 

I will never hurt, coerce, scare or “dominate” your dog in any way.  I am 100% committed to science-based, force-free training, which uses rewards (never fear or pain) to motivate and train your dog.  That’s part of why I’m vet recommended!

In fact, I feel so strongly about using non-aversive techniques that I am a Pet Professional Guild (PPG) partner for their Project tRade program.  If you’re currently using aversives (prong collars, shock collars, pinch collars, choke chains, citronella collars and the like) to train, please read more about Project tRade here.

I’m “changing hearts and training minds!” to help you better communicate what you’d like your dog to do and not do, improving your relationship and bond with each other.

I Specialize In

Fear & Aggression

Growling, lunging, biting, avoiding, resource guarding, fear of strangers, being touched, toddlers/kids, sounds or going outside.

Families with Kids & Dogs

Inclusive training for families with kids and new dogs to keep everyone safe and happy.

Pre-baby / Toddler Prep

Specialized training for expectant parents to prepare your dog for life with a baby or toddler.

My Story

Every once in a while, a dog enters your life and changes everything.

-Unknown

I’ve been an animal advocate for over three decades. I became vegetarian as a teen and have championed animal welfare, as a rescuer, transporter, shelter worker, foster, volunteer and trainer. But life changed forever when BooBoo arrived. 

My husband and I arrived to meet her transport van from Kentucky, excited to meet our new girl. The driver took her out and she escaped into the thick woods. For 9 days we searched, doubting we’d ever catch her alive.  But we did!  But once home, it was clear BooBoo was a fearful dog. She hadn’t been abused but also hadn’t been socialized and I needed to learn more about training fearful dogs. This wasn’t my first experience with a scared dog – our previous dog was aggressive and had bitten 7 people, including me, in the face.  But back then I didn’t know how to help him and everything I tried, just made him worse.  I owed it to BooBoo to do better.

I earned a scholarship to The Academy for Dog Trainers, the “Harvard” of dog training, graduating with honors and devoted to positive-reinforcement, science-based, kind training. My passion for fearful and aggressive dogs deepened and I committed to focus my practice on helping these misunderstood dogs and the people that love them. I empathize with clients who are struggling with the hopelessness, anger, fear, anxiety, frustration and heartbreak that I once had.

BooBoo is no longer a fearful dog.  She’s an AKC Good Citizen, a certified therapy dog and alongside Barbo, helped us foster over 50 dogs.  She’s my helper dog for training and she changed the trajectory of my life. On tough days, I look at her and remember our lives could have ended very differently and that compassion, understanding and kindness always overcome adversity.  And I strive to live by that as I help dogs and their people.

FAQs

Where are you located? What areas do you serve?

By offering online training, clients can be located anywhere! I am located in Greenwich, CT but offer limited in-person sessions in the NYC Metro Area including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Westchester County NY and Fairfield County CT.  Some locations may require a travel or parking fee for in-person sessions.

Do you guarantee results?

I guarantee you and your dog will be treated with respect and compassion. Your dog will be trained using only positive reinforcement and I promise to be transparent and honest about outcomes, progress and prognosis but it is unethical for any trainer to guarantee results. Dogs are animals, and we cannot predict how they will behave, as behavior is subject to many factors, including but not limited to environmental changes, medical issues/pain, reinforcement history, human behavior and genetics.  Dogs are animals and behavior, whether dog or human, is never 100% and fluctuates with circumstances.

How does online training work?

A good trainer doesn’t need to see the dog being fearful or aggressive to help them. I know what stranger danger or food guarding looks like without intentionally pushing the dog to react. Through the use of easy to use, free technology we do training sessions in real time with me coaching you or demonstrating myself.  If you can click a link or use a phone, you can do online training! I have a handy “how to prepare for your online session” guide here or you can read my blog post about it here.

How much does training cost and how many sessions will I need?

All of my services and prices are listed here.  While it may be tempting to shop around for the cheapest trainer you can find, with dog training being an unregulated industry, there’s a lot of unscrupulous people out there and it’s buyer beware.  As with many things, you get what you pay for.  Many clients find their way to me after going through several other trainers, not getting results and wasting money.  You’re not just paying for the exact time I spend with you, but you’re paying for all I bring with me – years of education, numerous credentials and certifications and experience as well as my commitment to continued education and to getting results.  I am extremely committed to follow-up and communication with clients and this is built into my pricing structure as well. 

 At your initial consult, we review prognosis and discuss what your case will require.  Some people are more DIY and take the information from their consult and through follow-up notes and work through things on their own while others require more frequent coaching and one-on-one sessions.

What methods do you use?

You can read about my training philosophy here but I use only positive reinforcement methods, training with a plan to ensure the most efficient results.  I know how to motivate dogs to increase behaviors we want more of and decrease behaviors we want less of, all without the use of any force, fear or pain. 

Do you use any special tools in training?

I recommend no-pull harnesses or head halters for dogs that pull, to help get pressure off their neck/trachea, in addition to working on training exercises but these tools do not hurt your dog in any way.  If there is a safety concern with an aggressive dog or dog with severe or unknown bite history, I will sometimes recommend muzzle training but I always ensure the dog is a willing participant in wearing it and that it’s never painful or scary to the dog.