• 1995: Masters Degree in Animal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • 1993: Bachelors Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
  • Certified Dog Trainer with Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training
  • Member of the Pet Professional Guild
  • Member of the Animal Behavior Society
  • Certified Pet Nutrition Specialist
  • Currently working on my Raw Pet Food Certification
  • Currently working on my Fear Free Certification

Kari Bastyr

Dog Behaviorist & Nutrition Specialist | MS, CDBC, VSPDT

Hello! My name is Kari Bastyr, and I am the owner of Wag & Train Animal Behavior Specialists. I specialize in animal behavior and dogs with severe behavioral problems. I am certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a certified VSPDT trainer with Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training, a member of the Animal Behavior Society, and a member of the Pet Professional Guild.  I am Certified as a Pet Nutrition Specialist, completed a Masters Class in Canine Nutrition, and am currently working on my Fear Free Certification. 

In 1993, I received a B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis, and earned a Masters Degree in Animal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis in 1995, both from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN.  While completing my coursework in St. Cloud, I began working with Dr. R.K. Anderson and Ruth Foster, co-inventors of the Gentle Leader, through Alpha Academy in Minneapolis. Dr. Anderson designed a ‘new’ style of Gentle Leader and tested the prototype in my Level 1 class during my last year with Alpha Academy. In 2001, I moved to Denver, Colorado and created Wag & Train because there were no reward-based trainers there at the time. In 2017, I expanded Wag & Train to Minneapolis after I moved back… I wanted to be near lots of water again!  I continue to volunteer my time with Big Dogs Huge Paws and Safe Harbor Lab Rescue in Denver, and I work with several rescues in the Twin Cities.

In 2019, I started working on my nutrition certification, and completed my coursework from two different schools in 2022. What a dog eats directly effects his or her behavior, so being able to add my knowledge of diet, nutrition, supplements, and helping gut health to improve behavior is essential. I treat the ‘whole dog’, not just what you see as a behavior issue.

My goal is to provide pet parents an alternative to punishment-based behavior modification, while educating and building an unbreakable human-dog bond. I have 30+ years of experience working with anxious, fearful, and aggressive dogs, and am very proud to say I don’t use any choke chains, prong collars, or shock collars. I use my knowledge from my Animal Behavior degrees, my experience working with thousands of stressed dogs, and my passion for creating a safe space for both dogs and humans to help change emotions and behavior.

I have a Chocolate Lab named Birdie (born in March of 2021). She and I are working towards becoming a finished service dog team with CreScent Service Dogs. She will (hopefully) be my Medical Alert/Gluten Detection Dog, as I have severe Celiac Disease. Fingers crossed! Follow us @glutensniffingbirdie  

Sadly, my perfect, beloved Chocolate Lab, Paisley, died in January 2021. She was 11, and her loss has left a huge hole in my life. Paisley was my ride-or-die for 11 years, and I learned how to be a better human because of her joy, spunkiness, intelligence, fairness, and forgiveness. She is still in all of my pictures on the website, and I will keep her there so others can see her beautiful smile. I will always refer to her as my “Dessert Dog” and I hope everyone gets to be loved by a dog like her in their lifetime.