Trainer Biographies

All of our trainers are Karen Pryor Academy or Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers certified. You are in good hands!

Mirkka Koivusalo, MSc, PhD, KPA CTP

Mirkka is the founder and the head trainer at Mindful Behaviors. She has a professional background in science: her MSc and PhD in biochemistry and education as a research scientist have helped her in developing an analytical and systematic approach also to dog training and behavior.

She started dog training in 2002 from dog sports. As soon as she got her working dog puppy, Hovawart Dea, she discovered clicker training through Clicker Trainers’ Club Finland and knew this was the right path for her: everything is based on scientific data on how animals learn. She started applying these principles to train Dea for performance, and together they received titles in obedience, rally obedience, search and rescue trias and tracking both in Finland and in Canada. In 2010 she decided to take her education as a dog trainer to the next level by attending the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Program from which she graduated with distinction in October 2010 as a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). Mirkka takes pride and enjoyment in putting a lot of effort in training her own dogs: currently two Australian Shepherds Forbes and Flirt. Both dogs have titles in both rally obedience and tracking.

In the recent years Mirkka has combined her scientific research background with canine scent detection, she has a research project in biomedical scent detection in Toronto, which has also been featured on CBC Radio 1 and a part of the study is published in Journal of Hospital Infection.

Mirkka keeps up to date with her education, and has trained not only dogs, but chickens and horses as well. The essence of positive training is that it doesn’t only apply to the animal: our focus is to make the training rewarding for the dog owners as well!


Marilyn Aston, CPDT-KA

Marilyn’s journey into dog training began in 2006 with her education from Sheridan College’s Animal Care program. Among a broad range of topics, this certification offered Marilyn an introduction into the science of how animals learn, as well as hands-on experience working with a diverse range of species. Upon graduation Sheridan awarded Marilyn with the Dr. G.R. Cormack Award for academic achievement, and she graduated with honorary recognition.

Today Marilyn is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and founder of One Leg Up Canine Company, a pet dog training and walking company in Guelph, Ontario. Marilyn continues to develop and stay current with her knowledge of positive dog training methods through participation in seminars and continuing education opportunities.

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