Lilian Akin, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA got her start training dogs by volunteering at shelters. She has worked, volunteered and/or taught classes in all three of the major Pittsburgh shelters, Animal Friends, the Western Pa. Humane Society, and the Animal Rescue League. She started out by working with shelter dogs under the guidance of volunteer trainers. She later interned with local behavior counselors, began teaching public classes and ultimately sought certification as a Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) and as a Behavior Counseler (CBCC).
She started out using the typical style of training in the early 90’s – using choke chains and no treats. She longed to learn methods that were kinder and more gentle and more fun for dogs. She attended her first week long conference held by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in 1995 and then completed an Instructor Training Course through Dogs of Course in 1996 where she learned about using positive reinforcement in the manner of treats, toys, clickers and whatever motivates the dogs. After that point she has thrown away the old fashioned style of dog training and moved onto motivational positive reinforcement training that is scientifically based and does not use choke chains, prong collars or shock collars.
Using positive reinforcement is something everyone can do. It is fun for the dog and fun for the human. Contrary to what some people say, it is not permissive and can absolutely involve high expectations for a dog’s behavior.
Since 1991 Lilian has been volunteering with shelters, teaching classes, rehabilitating shelter dogs, and doing private consultations with owned dogs. Her goals is to keep dogs in their homes. She has been in business for herself since 2004 doing in-home dog training and behavioral consultations. She assists clients in picking out the right dog from their home whether from a shelter, rescue group, or breeder, in preparing families for the arrival of a baby, in teaching general good manners and in rehabilitating behavior problems from housetraining to aggression to anxiety.
In 2006 she obtained certification through the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers as a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed). In 2011 she obtained certification as a CBCC-KA (Certified Behavior Counselor Canine-Knowledge Assessed). She is only one of 74 behavior consultants to obtain this advanced certification worldwide.