Caryn Self-Sullivan

Caryn Self-Sullivan's picture


About Me
First Name: 
Last Name: 
Self-Sullivan, PhD

KPA Client Endorsed Certified Training Partner Specializing in Personalized In-Home Training for Dogs & their People

Dr. Caryn works with pet dogs, companion dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs from puppyhood to old age.  Her focus is on building lifelong bonds between dogs and their people based on good communication and trust. Her training programs include Obedience & Good Manners, Behavior Modification for Ordinary & Serious Problems, Basic Puppy Socialization & Training, Training for Therapy or Service Work, and Calming your Reactive Dog.  Every program is personalized to meet the needs of both dog and owner.

Whether you have a new puppy, an adolescent dog, or an older dog, Caryn can help you train obedience & good manners, specialized behaviors, change those unwanted behaviors, and have fun doing it!  Her service areas include a 30 mile radius around both Fredericksburg and Colonial Beach, enabling her to serve clients in Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline, Orange, Culpeper, King George, Westmoreland.  Extended service is available for Prince William, Lancaster, Essex, Green, and Albermarle County residents.

In addition to her Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) certification, Caryn Self-Sullivan is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), an Operation Socialization Certified Trainer (OSCT), an Association of Pet Dog Trainers Professional Member, a K9 to 5 Therapy Dog Evaluator, a Therapy Pets Unlimited Evaluator, a Puppy Raiser for Service Dogs of Virginia, an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (AKC CGC), a Doggone Safe Be A Tree Licensed Presenter, a Certified TAGteacher, and a member of the Animal Behavior Society, the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, and the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior.

Philosophical Statement:

Caryn works with pet owners, parents, children, shelter staff and volunteers, veterinary staff, groomers, trainers, coaches, camp counselors, teachers, and business managers—anyone who needs or wants to train specific skills, to modify behaviors, and to build long-term trusting relationships with learners.

Her training philosophy is based in the science of how animals learn with a focus on positive reinforcement.  Learn more about Dr. Caryn's methods for training at and


A native of Fredericksburg, VA, Caryn Self-Sullivan went back to school in 1993 to study marine science after "retiring" from a career as a Realtor and raising three children. This academic journey has taken her around the world, studying and conducting research in the USA, Australia, Belize, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Caryn's primary areas of interest are Animal Behavior and Conservation Biology. She received her BS in marine science in 1997 from Coastal Carolina University, and her PhD in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M in 2008. She graduated from Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) in 2011, and is honored to join her peers as a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP).

In addition to running her local business, Ask Dr. Caryn LLC, Dr. Caryn is also adjunct faculty in the Fischler School of Education and the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Florida, and is President of Sirenian International (SI). At NSU, she teaches graduate-level courses in environmental education, animal behavior, conservation biology, and marine mammalogy via distance-ed and field courses. At SI, a network of more than 400 manatee and dugong professionals from more than 40 countries around the world, Caryn helps provide resources to sirenian projects in developing countries. She conducts educational outreach events, teaches field courses and capacity-building workshops, and raises the money necessary to fund these efforts.

Services Offered: 

Operation Socialization: Small group and private puppy socialization and training for you and other members of your household. Great training for breeders and rescue or shelter workers, too! 

Training Good Manners for Family Dogs: Small group and private training teaching basic foundation and obedience behaviors. Ideal for singles, families, and rescue or shelter workers.

AKC Canine Good Citizen Training and Evaluation: Small group and private training for the AKC CGC and S.T.A.R. Puppy Certification.  Also available for Evaluation Clinics.

Training for Therapy, Service, and Companion Dog Owners: Small group and private training for advanced skills and behaviors.

Be A Tree Bite Prevention: Seminars for you and the younger people in your life teaching kids how to be safe around dogs! Ideal for teachers and parents.

Behavior Modification: Private in-home behavior modification for you and your dog. I work with both ordinary and serious behavioral issues.

Family Paws Parent Education: Private and small group training for expectant and new parents who want to prepare their dogs for the arrival of a new family member.

Clicker Training: Private training, seminars, workshops, and behavioral consultations for pet owners, zookeepers, shelter staff and volunteers, veterinary staff, rescue organizations, groomers, breeders, and more—anyone who wants to learn better socialization skills, husbandry skills, behavior modification skills, or how to train animals to do specific skills for therapy, service, or competition.

TAGteach: Private consultations and group training classes for parents, coaches, trainers, teachers, counselors, managers, and more—anyone who needs to teach people how to perform specific skills or change specific behaviors.

Services Offered Summary: 
Dr. Caryn specializes in puppy training & socialization, obedience & good manners, and behavior modification. She offers behavioral consults, private in-home training, and small group classes in the greater FREDERICKSBURG, COLONIAL BEACH, and BOWLING GREEN areas. Whether you have a new puppy, a older family pet, a rescue or a foster dog, Caryn can help you and your dog!
Contact Information
Phone Number: 
+1 (540) 287-8207
Phone Number 2: 
+1 (540) 287-8207
22401 Fredericksburg , VA


Member for
6 years 7 months