Hello! My name is Kari Bastyr, and I am the founder 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. I was the staff behaviorist at Alameda East in the mid-2000s, which was the home of Animal Planet’s “Emergency Vets”. In 2018, 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 me coursework and testing from two different schools. What a dog eats directly effects his or her behavior, so being able to add to my knowledge of diet, nutrition, supplements, and improving gut health to change behavior is essential for me. I treat the ‘whole dog’, including emotions, behavior, and how they are effected by the gut-brain axis.
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), whom you will meet on Zoom I’m sure- she loves to make an appearance! She is pure joy in a fuzz-filled package. She and I are working towards becoming a finished service dog team. I have severe Celiac Disease, and she will be my gluten detection dog. Fingers and paws 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 and trainer 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.