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Wolf Park's seminars provide unique opportunities for professionals in the animal industry to advance their knowledge about animal training, welfare, and ethology from some of the top experts in the field. Our seminars are primarily lecture-based but often integrate training demonstrations and presentations from Wolf Park staff.

“Applied Ethology & Family Dog Mediation Professional Certificate Course – The L.E.G.S.® of the 21st Century Dog” with Kim Brophey, CDBCCPDT-KAFDM

August 10-14, 2022

$1,600 – This includes access to Kim Brophey’s online version of the same course with two year access to the materials. Access will be provided after the Wolf Park seminar concludes.

For participants who have already taken Kim Brophey’s online course, the price is $1,300

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! This sold out seminar rocked the dog world last year when it was first offered at Wolf Park, igniting an international conversation and paradigm shift in the industry. Kim’s only in person annual offering of this seminar is at Wolf Park, where it all started.

Dog “behavior problems” have reached epidemic levels in pet dogs, despite the remarkable commitment and extensive interventions of dog training professionals and loving families to resolve them. Kim Brophey offers that the field of Applied Ethology is the missing key to our understanding the dynamic reasons behind these struggles, as well as the starting point for meaningful solutions. Kim’s vision is to facilitate a critical paradigm shift in our relationships with dogs through this lost science of Applied Ethology and the new specialized practice of Family Dog Mediation. Through the addition and integration of these elemental principles, participating dog behavior professionals will revolutionize their own work and help to redefine how we perceive, talk about, and treat our canine companions as a society.

This full certificate course in Applied Ethology and Family Dog Mediation provides a thorough scientific examination of the intersection of canine and human evolution, welfare, behavior, and relationship in the modern world – filling in a critical information and credential gap for dog behavior professionals in the industry. Kim will discuss the essential role of the ethological lens in our professional task of understanding and mediating human-dog relationships. Seminarians will be guided through Kim’s trademarked L.E.G.S.® initiative (Learning, Environment, Genetics, and Self), which has received international praise by colleagues as ground-breaking for the dog behavior industry. The late Raymond Coppinger, world-renowned ethologist and evolutionary biologist, said of the L.E.G.S.® initiative, “I have never seen such a creative, imaginative, and well-coordinated program.”

During this intensive five-day course, attendees will be given a solid and comprehensive foundation in the integrated science of Applied Ethology to expand their professional knowledge base and ability to accurately identify and effectively treat a range of serious behavior cases. Students will additionally have the unprecedented opportunity to witness the applied ethology course concepts through live demonstrations with the wolves at the park, as well as to experience how to practically apply this science in behavior assessments and interventions through live Family Dog Mediation demonstrations with Kim and real local clients seeking help for their canine companions. Complete coursebook with additional resources and references will be provided.  Attendees will receive a certificate and the designation of Family Dog Mediator (FDM).

Topics Covered

  • Beyond Applied Behavior Analysis- Learning as just one piece of the puzzle, and other problems with the puppeteer model
  • Principles of evolution and natural laws
  • A big picture look at ethology and applied ethology
  • Evolution’s role in shaping behavior – the relationship between form and function
  • The concept of phenotype and the L.E.G.S. model
  • Captivity, welfare, and the Five Freedoms – interrupted L.E.G.S.
  • Artificial selection and human interference in genetics and environment
  • Expectations and perceptions as antecedents – for the dogs, families, and professionals
  • How to do a simple L.E.G.S. assessment
  • Dog L.E.G.S. in action – a deep dive into the four overlapping elements of life:
    • Learning – the role of learning and personal adaptation in nature (point of classical and operant learning), trust and safety above everything, trauma (and how common it is), motivation, Premack over carrot/stick, disastrous behavior chains, appropriate choice and control (the good and the bad of freedom), reinforcement histories, habits, instincts, dopamine, intentions and strategies, emotions and reactions, reaching the frontal lobe, effective communication, saliency, neural pathways, social learning and psychology, inspiring learning through initiative and reliability in relationship, other opportunities and obstacles to learning related to the other L.E.G.S.
    • Environment – the intended environment (habitat) vs. reality, the pet environment, over-stimulation, frustration, confinement, management ideas and resources, loss of nature and challenge of homeostasis, the literal environment (ultimate, global, local, and proximate antecedents), the social environment (ultimate, global, local, and proximate antecedents), social stability and sense of safety, dominance and responsibility in social animals, critical importance of social signaling and cues, rates of change of cumulative effects, point of reference/precedent – the “Room” effect
    • Genetics antecedents – evolution’s natural selections, protein coding DNA vs. regulatory DNA, talking about breeds is NOT being a dog racist (humans were not artificially selected for distinctly different behaviors and forms), understanding dogs and their behaviors according to selected functions, conditions, releasing stimuli, modal action patterns, modifications, and the ten genetic working groups of dogs (history, selections, functions, implications for pet dogs): Natural Dog, Sight Hound, Guardian, Toy Dog, Scent Hound, Gun Dog, Terrier, Bull Dog, Herding Dog, World Dog
    • Self – the “Big 6” internal conditions of the dog and effects on behavior: Individual Personality/Psyche, Age/Ontogeny, Sex/Hormones, Nutrition/Condition, Disability/Physical Injury, Health/Physiology
  • Working with people through Family Dog Mediation – L.E.G.S. of both species and MEETING people and dogs where they are
  • Family Dog Mediation as a comprehensive solution for behavioral health – identifying contributions and sources for behaviors using L.E.G.S. to target solutions
  • Concepts and practices for professionals to mediate L.E.G.S. effectively
  • PREMIER reveal of Kim’s top 10 Dog Behavior Hacks that are guaranteed to blow your mind!

Recommended Reading & Viewing to Optimize Course Experience

BooksMeet Your Dog – Kim Brophey; Biophilia – Edward O. Wilson; Animals Make Us Human – Temple Grandin; Your Inner Fish – Neil Shubin; Dogs – A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution – Raymond Coppinger

VideosWhat Darwin Never Knew – PBS; Planet Earth Series – Discovery Channel, Life Series – Discovery Channel; Motor Patterns and Their Influence on Breed Specific Behavior Problems – Ken McCort

Kim Brophey, CDBCCPDT-KAFDM, is an applied ethologist and owner of The Dog Door Behavior Center in Asheville, NC. Brophey authored the 2018 book Meet Your Dog: The Game-Changing Guide to Understanding your Dog’s Behavior and presented the TED talk The Problem with Treating a Dog Like a Pet. She trademarked the Dog L.E.G.S. model, endorsed by the late Raymond Coppinger, to help dog lovers better understand their dogs’ behavior through an interdisciplinary framework. Kim’s 20-year commitment to Family Dog Mediation has been recognized nationally and locally. She has been awarded the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Outstanding Trainer of the Year in 2009 and the Best Dog Trainer in WNC seven years in a row. Kim has traveled internationally, presenting on canine behavior, applied ethology, and welfare. She has served as expert counsel for the NC Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Review Committee and has contributed an ethology module for Michael Shikashio’s Aggression in Dogs Master Course. Brophey’s work has been featured in Psychology TodayThe Washington PostNational GeographicPet MDThe Human Animal Bond Research InstituteNPR’s All Things Considered, and The Family Dog podcast.

Continuing Education Units
This seminar has been approved for 21 CEUs for behavior consultants through CCPDT and 25 CEUs through IAABC.

Date, Cost, Dietary Information
The seminar will be held August 10-14, 2022 from 9am – 5pm. The price is $1600 and includes access to Kim Brophey’s online version of the same course with two year access to the materials. For participants who have already taken Kim Brophey’s online course, the price is $1,300. There will be no direct interaction with Wolf Park’s ambassadors, though you will observe wolf behavior and training during the seminar. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please let us know during registration if you have any special dietary needs or restrictions.

Refund Policy
For the remainder of 2022, our refund policy is now as follows: Refund requests must be received in writing no later than 4 weeks prior to the event start date. Refunds will not be issued for cancellations made after this date or for no-shows. Refunds will be issued within 30 days after the course ends. A $50 processing fee will be deducted from refunds.

If you have any questions, please email