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. As soon as she got her working dog puppy, Hovawart Dea, in 2002 in Finland, she discovered clicker training 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 obedience, tracking and search and rescue.
While attending several clicker training courses given by Clicker Trainers’ Club Finland she got to know other training enthusiasts and together they trained working dogs very actively. The solid, systematic training produced results: Mirkka and her canine partner won a search and rescue trial with the highest marks in 2006, got their tracking dog (TD) title in Canada in 2008, and competed successfully in obedience and Rally obedience trials in both countries. Currently Mirkka is training her Australian Shepherd for tracking, scent detection and rally obedience.
Due to the guard dog instinct very prevalent in the Hovawart breed Mirkka became well acquainted with the importance of helping dogs of hard-to-train breeds to cope with the challenges of urban environments. She became focused on bringing positive reinforcement training to urban dogs, and while still in Finland she worked for a couple of years teaching clicker training to dog owners. 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). She has been running her company Mindful Behaviors since then offering both group and private training for dog owners. She 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!