Who or what is your favorite animal training source?

So, instead of writing a post for you, I am asking you to chime in.

I want to know:

  • Who is your favorite animal trainer? (Please include where he or she is and the methods they use and how you found the company.)
  • Is he or she a member of a professional organization? (If so, which ones?)
  • Who is your favorite animal behaviorist? (Please include where he or she is and the methods they use and how you found the company.)
  • Is he or she a member of a professional organization? (If so, which ones?)
  • What are your top three animal behavior and/or animal training books? (List the author.)

I have a few reasons for asking this but before I get into it, I want to hear from you.

Please note all comments are moderated and will be posted once reviewed.

Also take note that on this series of questions I am going to wait a bit until a variety of comments are in–this means that I am going to delay approval in the moderation queue so your answer might not appear right away.

Why? Because there are a variety of opinions and I don’t want to influence or to deter anyone from chiming in.

Okay, ready? Simply post your comment below.

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  1. Great question. I look forward to hearing what other people say.

    off to an eye doctor’s appointment, but I’ll make you a long list when I get back! 🙂


  2. 1) Wow just one favorite dog trainer? http://applewoodsdogtraining.com/ Margot Woods is a versatile dog trainer, who is disabled and trainer her own service dogs (and other peoples’ as well). I see she is FINALLY updating her website as well:) She is located in Maryland and uses the Bedrock Method that she has compiled herself in her education and training. (in other words, it’s based on accomplished dog trainers before her)

    2) She is a member of many professional associations.

    3) I have not found an animal behaviorist that can give advice beyond treat and distract and keep away to admire. I have not found one that has been able to direct a client with a really problematic dog to be able to maintain any sense of training without a reward present. To me training eventually phases out reward or correction to be a trained dog. This is inclusive of some tv personalities that are considered dog behaviorists (I consider them entertainment)***I should note that I am taking this to mean veterinarians who have passed their education and exams, and meet the requirements that are formally acknowledged as behaviorists. There are plenty of trainers who practice behavioral modification that I admire. I also don’t think you can be an effective dog trainer and not know how to modify behavior.

    4) Don’t have a favorite, would like to have a favorite. Have lots of non favorites in this category or dislikes.

    5) Ray McSoley’s Dog Tales, Koehler Novice, Koehler Open

    I am always sort of suspicious when someone does not disclose why they want to know the info other than general curiosity. So I hope I won’t be alarmed at the reason later on.

  3. LOL For sure it will be interesting, I have an article in mind that most everyone might be surprised about. However, it is going to take a while to construct!

  4. It’s tough to pick just one…

    Pia Silvani – director of St. Hubert’s Dog Training School, where I apprenticed. Uses primarily lure/reward, but one of the things I appreciate most is her willingness to try new things and adjust to the problem and the needs of the situation. Pia is a CPDT and member of APDT.

    But the other dozen or so trainers at St. Hubert’s I learned from are pretty damn good too. Not to mention Ian Dunbar, who is very good (some might argue too good) at simplifying things, and Sue Sternberg who taught me (and a million others) how to really interpret body postures.

    For behaviorists I would pick Patricia McConnell. She’s an amazing teacher and communicator. She demonstrates tremendous compassion and also has a willingness to adapt. She is a CAAB and may be a member of APDT too.

    But there’s also Suzanne Hetts, Dan Estep and Nancy Wilson…..

    Based on the above, you may be able to guess at least one book on my list.

    The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
    Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched by Amy Sutherland
    The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

    But that’s because you limited me to three. Could be a different list tomorrow.

  5. Okay, here’s my list Diana. 🙂

    Animal Trainers

    — I really really like Leslie Pavlich’s teaching style.
    She is very talented at presenting (sometimes difficult) information in a way that can be understood and used. Her DVDs are great. She walks you though each task step by step showing most (if not all) of the training process with explanations all the way through.
    A lot of people make similar style DVDs, I really like the way she breaks things down and explains them, though.

    — As far as top trainer / best trainer, Kay Laurence is phenomenal. She is suburb at setting up the environment and training steps so that the animal is successful every step of the way. I love watching her videos, some of them I have watched and rewatched, and I learn something every time.
    She is willing to share her stuff and has quite a few clips on youtube. (her youtube channels are ladstwo and Genabacab)
    Here’s an elegant clip that I really like.
    her website:

    Animal Training/Behavior Books

    1) Don’t shoot the dog. (Karen Pryor)
    It’s short and to the point, funny, well-written, full of great examples and has most of the basics in it. This is the book I love giving others to read when they want more info about how training works. (If pressed, I’d probably admit that I like Lads Before the Wind better than Don’t Shoot the Dog.)

    2)True Horsemanship Through Feel (Dorrance/Desmond)

    3) Horses Never Lie (Mark Rashid)

    I have a ton of books I like, these are the first 3 that come to mind.


  6. Diana–

    You might know this–but photos don’t seem to be displaying correctly on your blog.


  7. Thanks Mary. I was traveling and saw it upon my return. I host the photos off my site and there was a problem with bandwidth but it is good to go now and I appreciate the heads up.

  8. Thanks for th list Mary, glad to see other trainers outside the standard DT realm.