Byline: David Sharos Daily Herald Correspondent
An occasional series on Lisle and Naperville businesses
Mainstream America has embraced the idea of the perfect family consisting of a mom, dad, two kids, the minivan and the dog.
That's all well and good - until reality sets in, especially the dog part. Most canines don't come with a lot of built-in memory. That's where Narnia Pet Behavior and Training can help.
Founded in 1990 by Sally Myers, Narnia offers classes for owners and their pets aimed at establishing appropriate animal behavior and control without using punitive measures.
Myers deals mostly with dogs, but there are some cats, too. She said all training is based on positive behavior modification.
"We never use the word 'no' in our classes because it's too much a part of our everyday vocabulary already," she said. "Our term instead is 'off.' We use positive reinforcement, behavior modification and psychology."
A college graduate with a degree in sociology and psychology, Myers said she began training dogs in her basement as a hobby until it became a passion and took over her life.
Co-owner and work partner Karen Johnson said what started as a modest business with six dogs quickly grew to the point where Narnia has had to move three times in order to provide adequate space for its clients.
The business now is housed in Plainfield.
"We're in our third building now, which is about 4,500 square feet," Johnson said. "We're at the point where we're running about 30 classes a week, with nine dogs per class."
Johnson said two instructors are assigned for each session. The basic program consists of six weeks of training, offering one hour per week, plus a two-hour orientation for owners. The fee is $110, and most folks enroll for three sessions.
"We take dogs from the very beginning, including puppies that may be only 9 or 10 weeks old," Johnson said. "It's easier to work with a dog that is young and can be trained rather than one that has been allowed to do whatever it wants. …