New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466



Puppy socialization classes and Canine manners (obedience) classes for older puppies and dogs are great investments for the family dog.  They will help prevent behavior problems and help bond families and pets together!  Training and socialization classes are time and money well spent!  Classes can be lots of fun for puppies, dogs, and the entire family!  Finding the right dog trainer is an important decision.  Please consider the following tips in your search.

When Choosing A Dog Trainer...Buyer Beware!  This is a European website but has excellent information about selecting positive dog trainers and methods.

APDT What Are Some Of The Common Myths Of Dog Training?  While the internet has been a great tool for education, it also has helped to propagate many myths about dog training. This link will show you some of the common ones that you may hear in your search for a trainer.

Look for a trainer who has received a quality science based education and certification.  We recommend Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners (KPA-CTP).  We also recommend trainers who are members of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).  Members of the PPG are committed to only using force free methods and never using choke chains, prong collars, or other aversive methods. 

Trainers who have been certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers or CCPDT are also a consideration, especially if they are also members of the PPG.  We do caution that some CCPDT Trainers will still use choke chains, prong collars, and corrections and punishment in their training.

Top 10 Qualities of an excellent Dog Trainer

    • A trainer who treats dogs and owners with respect
    • A trainer who uses treat-based, positive reinforcement techniques
    • A trainer who uses a well fitted harness, a Gentle Leader head collar, or other non-choking, non-shocking training collars
    • A trainer who teaches the owner what to do and how to do it
    • Classes where dogs and owners are having fun!
    • Classes where dogs and owners are learning new things
    • A trainer who uses a variety of non-aversive techniques
    • Training that is tailored to the individual dog
    • A program that allows the dog to progress at its own speed, and does not force the dog into uncomfortable situations
    • A trainer who applies basic learning theory correctly

What to Avoid

    • A trainer who uses correction collars as a primary way to train (choked, prong, shock).  These collars are NOT a substitute for training!
    • A trainer who uses harsh/repeated commands
    • A trainer who hits the dog with hands, leash, or feet
    • A trainer who "hangs" the dog
    • A trainer who takes the dog away to its own facility for "boot camp"
    • A trainer who says that an owner is "loving too much" or is "being too soft"
    • A class where the dogs appear generally anxious with their ears back, tails down, panting, lip licking, yawning
    • Classes where owners appear generally anxious
    • A trainer who follows a dominance-based training model (the alpha dog theory) 

Take time to visit various trainers, observe classes, ask for references, talk to pet parents.

Visit the Karen Pryor Academy website at  or The Association of Pet Dog Trainers website at  for more information!




  • Animal Behavior Training Concepts is a fabulous training center at the new University of IL Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine at Furnetic.  Laura Monaco Torelli heads the team there and is not only a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Traine but she is also a faculty member of the Karen Pryor Clicker Academy and teaching others on how to be a certified trainer.  The drive into Chicago to see Laura and her staff may be a bit long for our clients but well worth the trip if you are willing to take it!

  • Deer Run's Liz Geisen is currently a student in the Karen Pryor Academy under Laura Monaco Torelli's guidance and will soon be a certified trainer.  Liz is currently teaching Puppy Start Preschool Classes at Deer Run and also teaching basic manners classes.  Liz also assists Dr. Jokela with behavior modification plans for dogs with behavior illnesses such Aggression, Separation Anxiety and Noise Phobias. You can contact Liz at Deer Run at 219-864-7180 or by her training email at .

  • Cindy Andrysiak is a Karen Pryor Trainer in Valparaiso IN. 
  • Toni Bianchi in Valparaiso, IN.  Toni has her own training facility called P.E.T.S. (Positive Experience Training School) and also does in home training. In addition to puppy classes and basic training Toni is also a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).  Toni is certified by the CPDT and is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG)