Guest: Karen London, PhD

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in domestic dogs. She began working with dogs in 1997, and has spent years working with clients in one-on-one consultations in addition to teaching group training classes, and giving seminars about canine ethology for trainers, veterinary and shelter staff, and the public.

She received her B.S. in Biology from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the defensive behavior of neotropical social wasps, and a nesting association between two species of wasps. Her research and scholarly publications cover such diverse topics as interactions between species that live together, defensive and aggressive behavior, evolution of social behavior, communication within and between species, learning, and parental investment.

After graduation, Karen decided to switch to working with dogs. It was a natural outcome of her love for dogs in her personal life, and her scientific interest in species interactions and aggressive behavior in her professional life.  She has enjoyed the change to becoming a dog behaviorist and trainer as dogs are easier to work with and less aggressive than the wasps she knows and loves.

Karen is an award-winning author of six books on dog training and behavior, five of them co-authored with her mentor, Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. She blogs for and also writes the animal column, The London Zoo, for the Arizona Daily Sun.

Karen lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her husband and their two sons. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches tropical field courses in Nicaragua and Costa Rica called “Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation” and a class for freshman about the importance of insects to society called “Sex, Bugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How we can apply dog training principles to interacting with humans?
  • Why people might think using R+ on people might be manipulative?
  • Breaking down skills for human learners just like we do for dogs.
  • Don’t blow a reinforcement opportunity by using punishment, just because it took so long to get the behavior.
  • Finding empathy for yourself and your human subjects.

Links Mentioned:

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