Karen Taylor, CPDT-KA
Dog and Woodland Hills, West Hills, Encino, Tarzana, Chatsworth, North Hills, Northridge, Van Nuys, Porter Ranch, Canoga Park, Winnetka, Bell Canyon, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Topanga, Lake Balboa, Sunland, Sherman Oaks, Studio CIty, Bel Air, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme, Moorpark. Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, Castaic and ValenciaPuppy Training CPDT-KA Dog Behavior Modification in
Meet Karen, CPDT-KA
Our owner and primary behavior counselor is Karen Reardon Taylor, CPDT-KA (formerly Sumner). In the beginning, Karen never really thought of herself as a dog expert or trainer, just a training hobbyist who liked dogs! Her friends at work asked her advice about their dogs, and pressured her to do a class to help them, the rest is history. They even encouraged their friends to join in! People stopped just to observe and asked to join in! Hundreds of happy, well trained humans and dogs later, Karen realized she had inadvertently come across her "calling" and made dog training and behavior a career. Of course, being an instructor is more than just having some knowledge and experience. Karen wanted to feel she was providing her students the best they could get, so she started reading everything she could get her hands on, watched every video she could find back in 1992, and joined the Society of North American Dog Trainers... and, later, became a Charter member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Southern California Dog Trainers Forum, Dog Trainers Alliance of Southern California, and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Currently these organizations host seminars to provide continuing education for their members. Karen started MY BEST FRIEND OBEDIENCE in 1993 and went full time in 1995. We are listed in Google, Facebook, and Yelp to name a few. We achieved first place in LA’s Hotlist in 2018, third place in 2014, and fourth in 2013 (there was no contest in 2016&17). Our latest fun thing was to assist in some the planning for the California Science Center’s DOGS! A Science Tail Exhibit!
Taylor's training career began at the age of seven. After eating Dad’s work boots, Mom & Dad said, "Train that dog or she's out of here!" Karen had wanted a dog ever since she could remember, now she couldn’t live without her! Mom and Dad weren't being mean ... they were simply fed up! She couldn’t let her Pitt mix go the way of many other “untrained and unruly” dogs! Mom and Dad got her a book, and she tried on her own, but then she followed a friend to a 4-H Junior Dog Obedience Course…fast forward 50 years, and here we are! It must have been in her blood because her Great Granddad came here with his whippets to breed from England in the late 1800’s and later owned the Whippet Tavern in Washington, D.C.
In her early teens, Karen trained neighborhood stray dogs and placed them in new homes (after begging to keep them didn’t work). From that point forward, her mission was clear... teach them to coexist properly with their humans, and they can stay part of the family!!! Simultaneously, Karen began studies in horsemanship, and eventually worked at various breeding, riding and boarding stables in Maryland training and exercising horses. She even spent time working at a Cattery and a local dog kennel. Karen also took her dogs through numerous Dog training courses with the Montgomery County Maryland Recreation and Parks Department with Beverly Leucke, and Dog Sense Unlimited, and the Montgomery County Maryland Humane Services organization. Sadly, training was mainly aversive back then. She enjoyed training, but not that way! There had to be another, better, way.
She got a scholarship thru the Raleigh Business and Professional Women's organization and attended North Carolina State University in then moved to Florida, as a Navy wife, and found herself training her dogs again with Five Flags Dog Training Club in Pensacola. With the support of her club, and their dog show expertise, she titled her Pomeranian, Frodo (see his picture in our Logo), in obedience and received the FFDTC's award for Highest Score in a trial! They allowed her to assist classes and helped her learn how to teach people to teach dogs! This helped her pass the time without hubby and she liked it! Back then, on the east coast, dog training wouldn’t pay the bills, so a dog training career wasn't even a thought. After moving to LA due to a military transfer, Karen her ex split and she returned to Community College, but she needed extra money. So, at the urging of some friends who had just gotten puppies, Karen started a small dog training class in Mar Vista, California. Eventually moving to a pet store in Santa Monica near the Civic Center, and then Brennan's Pub’s turtle racing area, a store in Brentwood and meeting on the VA property (which is now the dog park), and finally moving to the Valley where an old friend allowed her to teach at the church where she was a Pastor in Tarzana. Once we started at Discount Pet Food (later Tams Pet Food) and Tarzana Park and the Pet Guardian in Toluca Lake, it was clear that we needed to hire help! Once we did, we did class at Waggin’ Tails Lounge, behind North Hollywood Medical Arts Pharmacy, the small park on White Oak by Sherman Way, Northridge Park, Pampered Pet Hotel (both locations), Pawparazzi, Camarillo Healthy pet, and now Oxnard Natural Pet Supply. We are super thankful for all these wonderful folks!
Karen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) thru CCPDT since 2003 and a AKC CGC Evaluator since 1998.
Karen's Seminars and Intensive Workshops include:
Jean Donaldson's Swimming Upstream: Training Against the Genetic Grain
Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M.'s Fears & Phobias, Compulsive Disorders, Aggression and Medical Causes of House Soiling
Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.'s Diagnosing and Treating Aggression in Dogs
Dawn Jecs' Learning the "Choose to Heel" Dog Training System (King of Prussia & San Diego)
Sue Sternberg's Recharging Your Instructing Skills, Reading Dogs and Defensive Dog Handling, Socialbility vs. Aggression Thresholds
John Fisher's The Nature of Dog to Dog Aggression, Living with the Emotional Dog and a New Perspective on Dominance
William Campbell's Consultation Skills
Jean Donaldson's Treat, Manage or Execute
Leslie Nelson's Can You Use All Positives in a Group Class
Pet Professional Guild Ratlesnake Avoidance Training
Annual conference 1999- Training Behavior Cues - Good and Bad, and Learning Choose to Heel
Scaredy Dog Training Seminar w/Ali Brown
Kellie Snider Taming the Domestic Beast, Shape Your Way Out of Agression
Donna Duford's Instructor's workshop 2002
John Rogersonson's week long Instructor's Workshop 1995 plus everything else locally w/John! including Canine Aggression in Depth 2014
John Rogerson at the Pasadena Humane society 2002 4 day course called training and teachibng.
Gary Wilkes Rescue and Rehab workshop for Shelter Dogs 2002
Clicker Expo in Woodland Hills 2007
Dr Raymond Coppinger Evolutionary Development and the Natural Development of Dogs and Intelligence of Dogs and Canine Cognition: Ethological Lessons on the Emotional Physiology of Dogs
PPG Rattlesnake avoidance 2015
Sue Sternberg Sociability vs. Aggression Thresholds in Dogs 2016
Advanced Training Topics Ken Ramirez 2017
Susan Friedman 2019 in Santa Barbara.
Nicole Wilde 2016 on Aggression
Additional Seminars attended include a week long intensive program given by John Rogerson on Behavior in 1995 in Irvine, as well as behavior seminars given by Ian Dunbar and Roger Abrantes, and one given by Debra Potts on T-Touch (Tellington T-Touch which is a gentle and unique method of working with both health and behavioral problems in animals), and the APDT's Annual Conferences in Las Vegas (2016), San Diego (2011), Oakland/San Francisco (2009), Portland (2007), San Diego (1999) King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (1998), Phoenix (1996), Chicago (1995).
Karen's achievements include:
Appearing on Amazing Animal Rescues on Fox Television and KABC Los Angeles Channel 7 News as a Dog Behavior Specialist.
Providing dog behavior counseling services to other dog trainers, groomers, dog day care owners and veterinarians.
Performing low cost Behavior Consulting for Perfect Pets Rescue, Amanda Foundation, NEVA, Pet Adoption Fund, Pet Orphans, Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue, Husky Rescue, Golden Retriever Rescue, Labrador Rescue, Much Love Rescue, German Shepherd Rescue, Angel Puss Rescue, and the Santa Monica and West Los Angeles Animal Shelters, among others.
Serving as an expert witness, and providing written reports on dog behavior, for owners of "aggressive" dogs and "barking dogs" for Los Angeles county and in Animal Control hearings.
Writing a monthly dog training column for a popular Internet publication called Valley Pet News (no longer being published).
Article for local free paper, Pet Press, "Dog Raising is More Fun if You Are A 'Control Freak'," April-May 2007
Training Knuckles the bulldog on the X-Show (for men and the women that put up with them) that ran on FX-FOX Cable Network from 1999 - 2001.
Karen was asked by an intern at MBFO to help train the trainers for the Pets in the Hood program, the brain child of Tia Torres (famous with Pit Bulls and Parolees) of Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue. Los Angeles probation camp adolescents learned to train and care for dogs by working with Pit Bulls from the Rescue, thus making the dogs more adoptable as well. (for more information see below and the other offerings page). One of the most moving experiences of her life, and she is grateful to Tia for the experience.
Karen Reardon Taylor now brings her expertise to you and your dog, while, of course, always continuing her education, as every good dog training and behavior modification specialist should.
Karen is currently a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and IAABC. In her limited free time, Karen can usually be found hanging out at home or the beach with her husband, Doug, son, Bryce and her two dogs.