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About Karen 

I am a certified professional behavior consultant specializing in cat behavior and dogs dealing with fear and stress. By Your Side is the outgrowth of my professional and volunteer experiences in shelters, dog day care, and a veterinary clinic and as a student of animal behavior, professional behavior responder for the ASPCA, and behavior consultant.  Above all, however, I bring to my work the experience of being a caregiver to my own pets. 

Why Work with me? 

In addition to being a qualified, experienced professional...


I recognize that every situation is different. 

You and your pet are individuals and a team like no other.  Likewise, your environment and routine are not exactly like anyone else’s.  While there are common behavioral concerns and training objectives, every situation is unique.  I do not come with a canned plan but with a science-based toolbox that we will access based on your situation. 

I believe that people want to have positive relationships with their pets.

I approach my work from this basic premise.  I respect the bond between people and their pets.  I do not use pain or unpleasant experiences to teach pets or their humans.  No one learns well when they are in pain or are being told that they are "doing a bad job" or "doing it wrong."  Compassionate, consistent, and clear communication are the most effective (and fun!) ways for both you and your pet to learn together.

I can empathize with the joys, the frustrations, the rewards, and the challenges of sharing our lives with pets.

There is no better feeling than coming home and being greeted at the door by a happy, tail-wagging dog or a cat rubbing against your legs.  There is no greater comfort than warm fur, dog kisses, or cat purrs when you've had a hard day.  Just having your pet by your side, in your lap, or at your feet can make your cares melt away for a few moments. 

On the other hand, our pets' behavior can sometimes be embarrassing, frustrating, isolating, or even dangerous.  Often we don't understand why our pets are behaving in certain ways, and figuring that out is the key to moving toward solutions and preserving the relationship. 

You are not alone.  When you work with me, you will have someone who empathizes with your joys,  your fears,  your frustrations, and your victories. 

With outdoor cat in lap.jpg

Photo by client Sarah Levitin

​Education & Certifications

  • Certified Cat Behavior Consultant  (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants)

  • Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants)

  • Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers)

  • Aggression in Dogs Master Course (

  • L.E.G.S. Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation Professional Course

  • Feline & Canine Behavior Technology Diplomas (Companion Animal Sciences Institute)

  • Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practices course  (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants)​

  • Human-Animal Bond and Shelter Medicine courses (Humane Society University)

  • Bachelor of Science, Biology (Syracuse University)

  • Master of Science, Higher Education (Syracuse University)

CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer
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