Caryn Charlie Liles, CPDT-KA
Owner, Head Trainer
Caryn Charlie Liles, CPDT-KA is a Toronto-based “people-trainer for dogs” and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer
through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She is the founder of Whatta Pup!, a pet
dog training company established in 2008. Seeing a growing need for specialized training due to an increase in
aggression in Toronto, Caryn co-founded The Toronto Centre for Canine Education, specializing in “the socially-
Caryn speaks from the heart, injecting humour and compassion into all her work. She strives to inspire pet owners
and pet professionals to take an active role in learning the language of animals and teaching them appropriate
behaviours through humane and science-based training.
Drawing on years of experience in the corporate world, she shares a wealth of knowledge in communication, technology,
and leadership. Having studied languages, human resources, finance, and psychology, Caryn brings a well-rounded and
creative perspective to the table when working with clients both human and canine.
Caryn has always been an animal lover but it wasn’t until 2003 that she began working with dogs professionally. She
adopted a 3 year old German Shepherd / Husky mix from a shelter only to come face to face with severe separation
anxiety and dog-aggression, propelling her to learn more about animal behaviour, psychology, learning theory,
ethology and husbandry.
In 2008, Caryn opened Whatta Pup! to provide dog walking and training services to Toronto's dogs, gaining confidence
and experience in the field. During her third behaviour consultation, her use of force came back to bite her (so to
speak), resulting in a severe dog bite to the face, arms, and torso; she quickly realized that correction-based
methods did more damage than good to the canine-human relationship and took some time to re-evaluate her philosophy.
Caryn became a "cross-over trainer", spending the majority of her time researching science-based methods that did
not include the use of force, fear, pain, or intimidation to work with animals. Immediately she saw the difference
humane training could make with animals and how quickly she could get the desired results.
In 2012 she wrote her certification exam, scoring close to 100%. She earns continuing education credits each year,
ensuring that she is up to date with her skills and knowledge. Caryn has trained dogs, cats, horses, chickens, a rat
and even a goldfish.
Caryn has appeared on Rogers TV in a live episode of Toronto Speaks: Pet Talks, appeared as a guest in an episode
of Doggy House Calls, and was recently featured in the Globe and Mail in the Careers section
Mirkka Koivusalo, MSc, PhD, KPA CTP
I have been an animal lover all my life,
which has manifested itself since early on in my life as a passion for horseback riding.
I started clicker training in 2002 in Finland as soon as I got my Hovawart puppy and
realized the power of this methodology compared to others. To learn this technique I
attended several courses given by Clicker Trainers’ Club Finland. Through these courses I
got to know other clicker trainers and together we started training search and rescue
using positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. In Finland search and rescue is a
competitive sport for working dog enthusiasts. Before moving to Canada my Hovawart Dea and
I attended a search and rescue trial, which we won with the highest marks. Tracking and
obedience training are also close to my heart. In Canada we got our Tracking Dog (TD)
title in 2008. We competed successfully in obedience and Rally obedience trials both in
Finland and in Canada. My current dog is a co-owned Australian shepherd Forbes, who has a
future career in breeding. I am training him for tracking and rally obedience.
Due to the guard dog instinct very prevalent in the Hovawart breed I became become well
acquainted with the importance of helping dogs of hard-to-train breeds to cope with the
challenges of urban environments. Very often the innate behavior patterns of the dogs are not
compatible with what the human society considers acceptable. Therefore, I am focused on
bringing positive reinforcement training to urban dogs, who can be turned into pleasurable
life companions by the right kind of training.
My PhD degree in biochemistry and education as a research scientist have helped me in
developing an analytical and systematical approach to dog training. What I am particularly
attracted to in clicker training is that everything is based on scientific data on how animals
learn. In Finland I worked for a couple of years in teaching clicker training to dog owners.
In 2010 I decided to take my education as a dog trainer to the next level by attending the
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Program from which I graduated with distinction in October
2010 as a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). I have been running my
company Mindful Behaviors since then offering both group and private training for dog owners.
Sean Howard, PMCT, CPDT-KA
Sean has been many things in his life (hacker, professional juggler, photographer, animator, digital strategist,
and agency president) and a few years ago in the midst of his fourth mid-life crisis he realized that he wanted to
commit his life to helping animals in need. He searched North America for the top animal behaviour specialists and
quickly settled on Pat Miller in Maryland and began attending her academy in 2010. In April of 2013 Sean became a
Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
With his own special-needs dog, an epileptic Karelian Bear Dog, Sean has learned that there is no single path for
any animal in this world. He brings a kind and supportive approach to understanding the needs of the dog and the
human family - working together to achieve goals that are realistic and desired for all involved.
Sean is excited to be working with Whatta Pup, proud to be the first Pat Miller Certified Trainer in Canada and is
a registered APDT member, an APDT C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and a Peaceable Paws Affiliate in good standing.
A three-legged Shepherd-Husky mix from the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA. Eleven years
old on July 8th, 2012, he’s got a laid-back personality and a gentle temperament. He loves to
run and swim, but also loves to just hang around and people-watch. He is trained in Basic,
Intermediate and Advanced and is currently studying Tracking for fun.
A Boxer-Boston Terrier mix from the Etobicoke Toronto Animal Services. Six years
old on May 31st, 2012 and a big dog in a little body. He is a very playful and excitable pup
who is a born runner. He loves to snuggle and sleep under the covers by your feet. He is
trained in all the Basics and has successfully graduated his level one Tricks class with Rover
Achiever's Julie Posluns. Currently, he's learning Rally Obedience with Mindful Behavior's
A two-year old Australian Shepherd, bred by our dear friends Ayella and Mike at Oracle
, Forbes is a passionate tracking dog who was bred for love. Plain and
simple. While somewhat skeptical of new people, Forbes loves his canine friends, especially the ladies.
Forbes is trained in Rally Obedience and is currently working towards his tracking title.
In 2011, Sean was volunteering with a local shelter where he would walk dogs during the day and he
happened upon the dog that would soon steal his heart. Sean wanted a leaner, a dog who loved attention and who
would curl up at his feet while he read a good book. A dog who would play fetch like a fiend, swim doggedly in
every lake and take home every agility trophy possible.
What did he get? He got Mikka. An epileptic Karelian Bear Dog who doesn't like to be pet, can't swim to save his
life, doesn't lean into people and would frankly prefer to play with his toys by himself.
Sean got the dog he needed rather than the one he wanted and he's never looked back. He got his perfect dog.