Bringing positive reinforcement training and animal-assisted therapy to the Kalamazoo area
We are proud to be a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. The Karen Pryor Academy is a trusted source for evidence-based dog training, and focuses on the use of positive reinforcement to encourage dogs to repeat desirable behaviors. They say: “We don't teach positively just because we're nice (though we are), but because we understand the history and use of punishment in training. Karen Pryor Academy's approach is more effective in every meaningful dimension.”
Animal Assisted Intervention
Evidence shows that supporting children and adults with informal animal interactions can reduce stress levels and anxiety by lifting mood, provoking laughter, and increasing oxytocin levels. Animals can help children to overcome insecure attachment and engage in play. And research has shown that petting a dog can even increase motivation and focus.
Meet the Team
Owner, Operator, and Head Trainer
Kim Marsh is the program lead and owner of Big Furry Friends. Kim holds certifications from the Center for Human Animal Interventions at Oakland University and the Karen Pryor Academy. She has been operating Big Furry Friends since 2018, and has been working with therapy dogs in the school setting since 2015. Kim is a Midwest Regional Team Lead for HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response, and is responsible for training and overseeing the work of animal-assisted therapy teams to provide support in emergencies. She is also an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen program and Alliance Therapy Dogs.