Karin Holmström Forster
Dog behaviourist expert Karin Holmström Forster has been working with dogs and their humans in Portugal since almost two decades.
Originally from Sweden, Karin a dog behaviourist has through her working life had her focus on rehabilitation. As young she worked as a nurse, massage therapist. Later got a qualification in Kinesiology and is still running classes as a Pilates instructor.
When she got interested in the canine community she felt motivated to improve her knowledge and started intensive courses and seminars with Karen Pryor in the USA, Fernando Silva in Portugal, Audrey Finns and Gary Landsberg in the USA and Cilla Danielsson in Sweden, Kenth Svartberg Sweden, Victoria Stillwell in the UK, now in USA. Grisha Stewart UK, Ian Dunbar USA, Bob Baily USA, Daniella Zurr Germany, All are international dog trainers behaviourists and ethologists that are highly respected in their field. Karin has studied Ethology and on Dog Behaviour & Cognition at Linkoping University in Sweden.
Today she educates new instructors both in Sweden and the Algarve.
Through Pawsitive Dogs, she trains dogs and their humans communicate better for an easier life together.
As an expert in her field she is a catalyst for change in dogs’ wellbeing and is a favourite speaker at dog related events. She recently was a key note speaker at an animal cruelty prevention seminar run by Safer Communities Portugal. From that an animal welfare umbrella group for shelters and individuals started, seeking information and assistance with animal welfare issues.
With her many qualifications, Karin hopes to further her involvement in dog training, especially service dogs.
In 1999 the half English, half Swedish family moved from the UK to the Algarve. Today their sons are grown up and the family is spread to the UK, Sweden and Algarve. The family includes a mixed breed of dogs, including two certified Assistance Dogs Abbe and Snoopy and a young Pet Trailing dog Wilda.
Karin and two young rescue dogs began guide dog training in August 2017 in Devon, England, with Alan Brooks, one of Britiain´s most experienced guide dog trainers. Mr Brooks a former Guide Dog UK regional manager with several books and articles edited.
During her stay in England Karin had the opportunity to witness the difference in the integration of the visually impaired in Portugal and in the UK.. Every day Karin saw 3 to 4 visually impaired people in their daily routines with the support of their white stick, guide dogs or human guides. Karin explains that most “towns we visited have audible crossings and crossings with texture to help a blind to feel with his feet where to cross the road".
Every visually impaired should have the choice to live as normal as a visually able, being blind should not mean staying at home.
With the skills and experience acquired in her training with Alan Brooks, Pawsitive Dogs Algarve started the Pawsitive Guide Dog Training Program in the Algarve.
In Karin’s words “having worked all my life with people in health and rehabilitation then lately dogs and their owners I feel the way I can best give back to society is giving independence and a friend to someone who otherwise may never be able to leave home.
Being a certified assistance dog trainer Karin has the ability to train combination dogs that can not only guide the blind but also be a medical alert dog and or assisting them in other disabilities such as being wheel chair bound.”
Since then she has trained assistance and guide dogs for not only Portugal but Holland, Sweden and Germany.