Meet the Team

We are a small but dedicated team that's positively obsessed with all things conservation, ecology, and detection dogs.

Kayla Fratt

K9 Handler & Certified Dog Behavior Consultant

Kayla has a bachelor's degree in ecology from Colorado College. She has studied ecological sampling techniques ranging from mist-netting bats in Ecuador to plant surveys in Panama to electro-shocking fish in Wisconsin. She has always been passionate about both animal training and conservation biology. In fact, one of the first animals she ever trained was an orphaned American kestrel she taught to fly and hunt.

After college, Kayla worked in a variety of dog-related jobs, including at one of the USA's largest animal shelters. There, she adopted Barley and they embarked on their journey together. They enrolled in a nosework class and Kayla spent years learning how to apply the basic principles of K9 nosework to conservation biology. Kayla was a finalist for a Fulbright scholarship to study the selection of conservation detection dogs, but withdrew from the selection process to take a job as a conservation detection dog handler in 2019. She started K9 Conservationists in late 2020. As an IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Kayla is extremely dedicated to effective and humane dog training methods. When she's not training Barley or Niffler, you can find Kayla cross-country skiing or doing jigsaw puzzles.

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Barley

Senior Conservation Detection Dog

Barley was relinquished to Denver Dumb Friends animal shelter in 2017 due to being incredibly high-energy and obsessed with balls. He and Kayla met within hours of his arrival, and by the end of Kayla's shift he was in her car on the way home. Within weeks, Barley proved himself a standout in nosework classes. He's an incredibly enthusiastic worker who loves doing demonstrations for school groups. Barley is also a professional traveler and has been to 9 countries! He spent about a year and a half working with Kayla as a conservation dog team, sniffing out targets like zebra mussels, black-footed ferret scat, and ivory. Barley loves nothing more than going on adventures with Kayla and bringing her items to throw. He is normally a very quiet dog, but he absolutely barks with joy when he sees the training bag come out!


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Niffler

Junior Conservation Detection Dog
Niffler was purchased from a breeder in 2020 with the goal of following in Barley's pawprints. He surpassed expectations when he started working on wind farms at just 9 months old! His first field season was a smashing success and we can't wait to watch him grow up. Niffler was chosen from the litter due to his incredible drive to sniff and search for hidden food. He's friendly, relatively independent, and determined. His amazing temperament and health are a testament to what purpose-bred dogs are for!
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