Karis Nafte started working with dogs in 1996. She loves teaching her human and canine clients on “both end of the leash” to have happy, harmonious relationships whether they have a new puppy or an old dog who needs to learn some new tricks. Karis uses positive reinforcement plus effective communication, not fear or intimidation, to get desired behaviors from the dogs she works with.


Originally from the USA, Karis studied through the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). She moved to Cape Town in 2005 where she started Happy Dogs and in 2011 opted out of big city life and moved Happy Dogs to Knysna.


Karis has worked with thousands of dogs and owners in her more than twenty years as a professional dog trainer and behaviorist. Karis has worked with dogs of all sorts of breeds with all sorts of behavior issues, from aggression to disinterest, puppies to wild packs. She has also been lucky to work with many different species of animals, horses, parrots, cats, cheetahs, pigs, wolves and chickens to name a few.


Karis is also a licensed animal wrangler for the film industry and a passionate agility handler. In addition to competing with her own dogs in agility Karis is the regional director for the South East Coast area for the South African Dog Agility Association (SADAA) and is an agility judge for SADAA. She has been featured on Top Billing, for two years was a regular on 567/702 radio on the pet care line as well as weekly guest on the eXpresso Show on SABC 3 discussing dog behavior.


She shares her home on a smallholding with her husband, daughter, three cats and five busy, happy dogs. When she is not teaching other people, you will find her working her own dogs, reading books on philosophy, gardening or sweeping up dog hair.


Cathie has been training dogs since 1988 when she got her first Border Collie, Caley.

Since then she has trained and competed in obedience, agility, dog jumping, working trials and carting competitions and earned Gauteng Provincial colours in 1996 when she and Caley were selected for the provincial team at the South African Working Dogs Invitation Stakes at the Dog of the Year show.


In recent years she trained her Maltese/Border Collie cross named Monty,  and he achieved champion status in carting and dog jumping, as well as being awarded the title of Companion Dog Excellent in working trials competitions.


Cathie has taught puppy classes and more advanced obedience training for the past 20 years and has passed level 1 & 2 of the Hills Puppy School Instructor courses. She assists at Happy Dogs with the Puppy 1 & 2 classes as well as teaches more advanced work in 2 other Companion Dog classes.

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