Trying to establish the underlying reasons of the behaviour

Passionate about animals since my childhood, i have always been intrigued by canines’ intelligence, obedience and the emotions they experience.
At the age of 20 i indulge my interest in the world of Canidae, starting by educating my own dogs and those around me, foremost out of curiosity to explore their potential of learning and secondarily to offer a better companion to those who wish it.
Today based in Antony i propose my services in Canine Behaviourism & Coaching.

Ethology, Canine Learning Theory & Animal Cognition, taught me to observe and interpret the signs, in order to better understand canines.

As a passionate advocate of Positive Reinforcement and Operant Conditioning, i recommend to all animal lovers, to interact with their dogs with a lot of kindness, empathy & patience!!!


A Coach should always know and respect the dog's feelings, during the instruction session.
He shows to the individual the possible choices and which is the best to make, according to his personality.
He creates scenarios that build dog's self-confidence, helps him to discover his strengths and abilities, in order to use them in everyday life.

I have two primitive-type dogs, a Samoyed and a Japanese Spitz, who are shy, suspicious of strangers and over-reactive.
My female Sammy, originally from a Bulgarian puppy farm/mill, later repatriated to a French pet shop – from where I acquired it – was already predisposed to a stressful life, deprived from her conspecifics and the imprinting period, until the final destination to France.
During her doubtful background, there is a lot of space for errors and a PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from the environmental and not only, stimuli, she had to cope with.
I have taken her at the age of 4 1/2 months, which is already a long time for an animal to live in a “glass box” (80 by 80cm, the window cage) without her natural environment or the best nutrition, for her mental and physical growth.​
Sammies are known to be difficult to train – like most working dogs – due to their stubbornness, moodiness and disobedient tendencies, full of energy that needs to be canalized, not to mention their quite annoying ability to get bored too fast…
Her play-mode is different from others, primarily due to her nature and secondarily her reactivity that adds to the equation.
Running small animals are transforming into prey. My other dog, the Spitz, becomes her “victim” during play-time, because of her strong prey-drive.
Behaviour modification against her natural hunting instincts, it is not easy to achieve, it takes time, patience and consistency, furthermore proactively eliminate the triggers.
My Spitz, originated from a reputable breeder, but with inadequate human contact and the noises that come with a household, therefore i had to desensitize him to the hair dryer, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, washing machine etc. His over-reactivity completes a long list, he is introvert, suffers from neophobia, anxious to human presence, with ADR (active defence reflex) and OCD (obsessive compulsion disorder).
Both my dogs are negative bias and to live and work with them it is an actual challenge.
To guide them in their life full of stimuli and stressful triggers, i use the VRS (variable-ratio schedule) reinforcement program, Impulse control, DRI (differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviour), Desensitization and Counter-conditioning.
These methods are designed to relieve their anxiety and canalize their hyperactivity in the right direction and make their hypersensitivity less prominent.

Dogs give us unconditional love

patience & empathy is they least we can offer them in return

To teach the dogs more complicated behaviors, i use a clicker, operant and classical conditioning and of course all type of rewards – verbal, physical & edible – for a pleasant and lasting education.

The “law of effect” by Psychologist Edward Thorndike states that motivation will encourage a better reaction, as well as “Premack principle” by Psychologist David Premack, who also declares that the individual will be more motivated to perform an activity, knowing that pleasant consequences are following!
But keep in mind that the motivation with treats is for congratulating – not bribing – the dog, when offering us the desired behavior!!!

After my studies as well as long researches and reading about scientists – with sometimes controversial theories & methods – i decided to follow the one that seems to me the most logical, forgetting all about the obsolete principles of the old dog training school, back at 1980s.
Today, you can find many theories and scientific studies, concerning the ethical and kind way of educating and living with the dog.
Ethology science attempts to recognize animals’ innate and learned behaviors, their ability to adapt to different environments and successfully respond to changes.

Thanks to Anders Hallgren, Sally Gutteridge, Ian Dunbar, John Bradshaw, Karen Pryor, Emma Parsons, Turid Rugaas and other specialists, Psychologists, Biologists, Canine Behaviorists and Instructors, i have finally found the right approach to understand my dogs.
The good news is that scientific researches from all of the above and others, specialised in animal behavior, have proved that the theory of the “pack leader” or the “alpha” of the house, are obsolete and wrong!

Physical force, violence, reprimands and negativity are undeniably unnecessary, same as the absolute control over these intelligent and emotional beings, who just want to be part of our family!


We must consider our relationship with the dog as parental, rather than this of the master and subordinate.
Dogs, similarly to children, see us as their "role model" for guiding them to their new life, with us.
Our role is not to dominate them, but to establish a symbiotic relationship with them. Let us be worthy of this role!

Katerina Giannikosta

Certified Canine Behaviorist & Coach

Canine Principles

Certified - Canine Reactive Behaviour


UK Rural Skills

Accredited - Canine Reactive Behaviour