Kyoko Johnson has been training dogs and their people in Hawaii since 2008.  Her love of dogs came from volunteering for various dog rescue organizations and shelters on the island. Since beginning her dog training career, she has earned various professional training and instructor certifications, including through Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Karen Pryor Academy, and National Association of Canine Scent Work. Most recently, she was certified through the world’s first cancer detection dog training course with In Situ Foundation, a pioneer in the field.

Kyoko’s current focus is canine scent detection. She has competed in various nose work trials, earning “high in trial” with multiple dogs.  Since 2011, she has trained and coached over 100 dog & handler teams in scent work skills. In addition to training pet dogs, Kyoko is a conservation detection dog trainer and handler. Past projects include working for a wind farm habitat conservation program which utilized canines to locate endangered seabirds and bats to measure environmental impact; and a pilot study in collaboration with US Fish & Wildlife and US Geological Survey, which measured the efficacy of utilizing detection dogs to lower avian botulism-related mortality in koloa maoli, an endangered Hawaiian duck (see more on the study at USGS’s website). Kyoko is currently working with US Fish & Wildlife on a project to utilize detector dogs to assist with their effort to eradicate invasive yellow crazy ants that cause harm to seabirds at a remote atoll. She is also conducting various projects through her non-profit organization Conservation Dogs of Hawaiʻi, including training dogs to detect invasive weeds. Follow her conservation dog adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Kyoko and her husband Tor live on the North Shore of Oʻahu with their two dogs. Kyoko continues to attend and host educational seminars whenever possible in order to stay up to date on the most cutting edge training methods.

Professional Certifications

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers – Certified & Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)

National Association of Canine Scent Work – Certified Nose Work Instructor™ (CNWI) and Odor Recognition Test Certifying Official

Karen Pryor Academy – Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)

In Situ Foundation – Certified Bio-Dog Trainer (CBDT)






Hana Hou! Magazine – “Nose for the Noxious”

Earth Island Journal – “Sniffing Out Invasive Species”

Hawaii News Now – “Scientists Turn to Canines (And Their Noses) In Fight to Save Endangered Species”

All About Birds – “On Kauai, Hawaiian Ducks Are in a Dire Situation. Dogs Are Helping”

Star Advertiser – “State Deploys Pair of Dogs to Find Rats”

Island Dog Magazine – “Making Scents Work”

Honolulu Magazine – “These Local Dog Detectives Sniff Out Everything From Drugs to Diseases”

Maui Now – “Dogs Utilized in Avian Botulism Detection”

The Garden Island – “Canines latest tool in effort to curb avian botulism”

The Pet Hui (video) – K9 Scent Detection

Star Advertiser – “Nose Work games enliven dogs’ senses”

Continuing Education – Scent Detection & Bio-Medical

* 2020 NACSW Enhanced Education Weekend for instructors
* 2020 Earth, Wind and Odor webinar with Lauralea Oliver
* 2020 K9 Nose Work® Virtual Camp
* 2020 Leash Handling for the Detection Dog Handler webinar with Fred Helfers
* 2020 Handling is So Much More Than Handling the Leash webinar with Christina Bunn
* September 2019 – Overview of Recent Research by US Navy webinar (canine olfactory generalization / discrimination balance) with Lauryn DeGreef (Naval Research Laboratory)
* June 2019 – Conservation Dog Symposium at Hawaii Conservation Conference
* 2019, 2016, 2015, 2012 – K9 Nose Work® Training Camps
* April 2019 – Chemistry of Odor webinar with Lauryn DeGreef (Naval Research Laboratory)
* April 2019 – Extreme Elevation online course with Kimberly Buchanan
* January 2017 – California Narcotic Canine Association and NACSW Joint Conference, attended seminars include:
~ ~ ~ Ken Furton, PhD – Chemistry of Scent
~ ~ ~ David Adebimpe, PhD – Scientific Look at Scent Training Aids
~ ~ ~ Andie Thompkins, PhD – The Neuroscience of Canine Vision and Olfaction
~ ~ ~ Alex Rygg, PhD – The Anatomy and Fluid Dynamics of Canine Olfaction
* December 2016 – National Institute of Health Clinical Research Training
* November 2016 – National Institute of Health Research Ethics Training
* November 2016 – In Situ Foundation – Cancer & Bio Medical Detection Dog Training Certification Program
* February 2016 – Fred Helfers From Foundation to Finesse workshop
* January 2016 – California Narcotic Canine Association and NACSW Joint Conference, attended seminars include:
~ ~ ~ Steve Austin – Obtain & Maintain Excellence in Scent Work
~ ~ ~ Mel English – Understanding K9 Olfactory & The Hunt
~ ~ ~ Joe Oberding – Hard Surface/Urban Tracking
~ ~ ~ Frank Romano – Selection to Detection
~ ~ ~ Jill Cline, PhD – Nutrition for the Working K9
* July 2015 – Fred HelfersK9 Olfaction and Odor Seminar
* November 2014 – Jill Marie O’BrienK9 Nose Work® Element Specialty Trial Prep Workshop
* August 2014 – Julie GauntK9 Nose Work® NW2-Level Container Searching
* October 2013 – Detection Dog Training Seminar with Jane Sharp (London Heathrow Airport K9 Unit)
* September 2013 – Diabetic Alert Dog Trainer Seminars with Rita Martinez
* 2013-2014 – K9 Nose Work® Instructor Certification Program
* February 2013 – Jill Marie O’BrienContinuing Nose Work®
* June 2012 – Jill Marie O’Brien and Julie GauntIntroduction to K9 Nose Work®
* October 2011 – K9 Nose Work® for the Shelter Environment – Live Demo Workshop

Continuing Education – General Training & Behavior

* December 2017 – Terry Ryan – Gamification Workshop
* February 2016 – Terry Ryan – Coaching People to Train Their Dogs
* 2013-2014 – Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional Program with Terry Ryan
* December 2014 – Nicole Wakida – Canine Cross Fit Workshop
* May 2013 – Andrea Dexter – Problem Solving Weaves Agility Workshop
* April 2013 – Nancy Gyes – Agility Contact Training Workshop
* March 2013 – Pairing Pavlovian Conditioning with Operant Odor-Discrimination Training Webinar
* March 2013 – Grisha Stewart – Behavior Adjustment Training seminars
* 2009, 2010, 2011 – Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conferences
* October 2011 – Trish King – Use of Stuffed Dogs in Evaluations, Consultations & Training
* October 2011 – Grisha Stewart – BAT Demo: Behavior Adjustment Training in Practice
* September 2011 – Gail Fisher – Dogs at Play: Recognizing, Evaluating & Understanding Styles of Play Behavior webinar
* March 2011 – Terry Ryan – Canine Body Language, Aggression and Reactivity seminars
* February 2011 – Sue Ailsby – Training Levels Workshop
* January 2011 – Terry Ryan – Problem Solving workshop for pet dogs
* November 2010 – Terry Ryan – Poultry In Motion (chicken workshop for dog trainers)
* October 2010 – Pia Silvani – Feisty Fidos Live Demo Workshop
* 2010-2011 – Professional apprenticeship with Marie-Gabrielle Selarque CPDT of Pro-Dog Hawaii
* 2010-2011 – Ethology & Canine Behavior Lecture Series Webinar
* October 2010 – Debby McMullen – Guided Study Managing Multi-Dog Households
* Oct-Dec 2009 – Barbara Handelman  – Understanding Canine Behavior
* April 2009 – Sue Sternberg – Canine Body Language, Temperament Assessment, & Behavior Analysis
* April 2009 – Trish King – Canine Body Language and Aggression
* April 2009 – Brenda Aloff – Socialization and Reinforcement in Dog Training
* June 2008 – Pooch 101 by Project POOCH – A workshop on developing a program in corrections for youth offenders and shelter dogs