Well-behaved dogs target of new training center in Newmarket

K9 Unified Behavior Center opens to provide a safe training space for difficult dogs

Karen Baxter said her experiences with difficult dogs helped her train and develop behavior.

The owner of Newmarket’s new dog training business, Unified K9 Behavior Centre, recalled working on a case earlier in her career that had a significant impact on where she would ultimately focus her business . Although she said she saw some success training the dog, his circumstances changed and he returned to aggressive tendencies. The dog was later euthanized.

“It really put me on the path to, my focus has to be behavior. I mostly want to work on behavior. That’s my passion,” Baxter said. “The one thing when you get into the industry, it’s that you study all the time.”

Baxter’s new business at 580 Steven Ct., which had a soft opening on March 1, will offer dog owners behavioral consultations, puppy programs and different training clinics such as leashing.

She said she is best known in North York but chose Newmarket as her central location. After working for another training company, she said she and her partner wanted to create their own that could separate dogs with social issues, with different exits and rooms.

“It became clear that to properly handle behavioral cases, you need to have a safe facility. Because sometimes these dogs, they’re not always social,” Baxter said.

The trainer said her passion for dogs began at a young age when she cared for them regularly in her Toronto neighborhood. She took her first class after having a dog, Casey, who had more behavioral issues than the others she had worked with.

“She pushed me to learn more and learn more,” Baxter said, adding that it ultimately led her to quit a career in the corporate world for dog training.

Baxter will run the company alongside his partner, Amanda Nickerson, who specializes in animal psychology.

She said they want to provide a space without blame or judgment for landlords, adding that sometimes issues are just circumstantial.

“It’s not necessarily what works for this dog that will work for (that one). We have to look at each dog individually,” Baxter said.

The company’s arrival was welcomed by locals on Facebook.

“Can’t speak highly enough of Karen and Amanda,” one comment read. “They were a wealth of knowledge, support and compassion for our pup.”

Baxter said the company’s preparation had been a “whirlwind,” which involved removing walls to create open space for agility training.

She said they will be starting a variety of programs and clinics over the next few weeks, including first aid, abseiling and a leash program that will end with a walk down Main Street.

“We see the psychological well-being of dogs – because they have to live in our human world – we see it as a partnership between human and dog.”

You can contact the company at (289) 383-4136 or [email protected]

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