Dog Training and Behavior Resources

 In Dog Behavior

animal reincarnationMany of you know that I have a puppy in my house, my Afghan hound love, Tashi Joy, who is now almost 8 months old. (Where did THAT time go??)

(For more on Tashi’s story, you can read the post Animal Reincarnation: Love Never Dies.)

Oh, it’s been forever since I’ve had a puppy. I’ve fostered many over the years, but they were mostly bottle babies who moved on with their lives after a short time in my care. All of my dogs have come through rescue as adults, and while I’ve had to work on behavior and training issues with some of them, frankly, for the most part, they have been easy.


Although Tashi has been around the block before, she’s still a puppy, in a puppy body, with puppy teeth, puppy energy, and puppy naughties. 🙂 And…she’s an Afghan…which makes her even more mischievous. The breed has earned the nickname “Elegant Clown” for good reason. Training an Afghan is kind of like training a cat…“convince me why this is a good idea” is the mantra of the day.

(Here she is wearing her “clown snood”, agreeing that it’s a good idea to wear it and sit because there is a cookie involved. For those of you who don’t know snoods, they operate on the principle that it’s a lot easier to wash a polka-dotted piece of fabric than it is to wash an entire squirmy puppy head who has just dunked her long ears in her food bowl.)

Behavior issues are one of the most common reasons that people work with me. Often, communication is essential to figuring out what is causing or creating the behavior issue…but it’s not always enough to solve it. (Behavior always makes sense from the animal’s perspective, even if it doesn’t make sense to the human.) Once we understand what the issue is and what is motivating it, we can work to solve it through communication, training, and sometimes veterinary and other supportive help.

Over the years I’ve been working as an animal communicator, I’ve come to believe wholeheartedly that positive reinforcement training meets the needs of puppies and dogs much better than the older, dominance based approaches. There has been a tremendous amount of research and work done by some wonderful veterinarians and animal behaviorists in this area, and I’ve seen it make a huge difference in the quality of the relationships that people and dogs have with each other.

In my opinion, the old dominance model of dog training not only is a simplistic and misinformed way of relating to dogs that doesn’t respect and value them as sentient and spiritual beings, but it often isn’t effective…or it is effective at the expense of the dogs, limiting their sense of safety in the world and the full development of their personalities and their ability to express themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

So, when I knew Tashi was coming, I stocked up on positive training-oriented puppy and dog training books. I needed a big refresher…and I also love learning and reading the information from some of the best people in the field.

I often have clients ask me for training and behavior recommendations, so I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorites. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a good place to start with resources for positive training and creating a balanced, partnership-based human-dog relationship.

Dr. Ian Dunbar

Dr. Dunbar is a veterinarian and a behaviorist, and has a lot of wonderful resources, including YouTube videos, about many aspects of dog training. He debunks the dominance-based, “alpha dog” philosophy of dog training with scientific study and years of experience, and he’s made huge contributions to the field of positive dog raising and training.

Here is one of my favorite of Dr. Dunbar’s books, and one of his many excellent videos:

Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog


Suzanne Clothier: Relationship Centered Training (TM)

Suzanne Clothier has been working with animals professionally since 1977, with a deep background of experience that includes obedience, agility, puppy testing, breeding, Search and Rescue, conformation, instructing, kennel management and canine midwifery. She is well respected for her holistic Relationship Centered Training™ approach to dogs and the people that love them.

Suzanne has a lot of really good training resources and articles on her website, and some wonderful blog posts.  Here is one of her books that I really like:

Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs

Patricia McConnell

Patricia McConnell, PhD, a Zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, (CAAB) has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals. She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Patricia has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and taught “The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships” for twenty-five years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her radio show, Calling All Pets, was heard in over 110 cities around the country, where Patricia dispensed advice about behavior problems and animal behavior research for over fourteen years.

I really like and recommend these books:

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog

Dr. Sophia Yin

The late Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinarian and behaviorist, made wonderful contributions to the field of dog behavior. Dr. Yin was a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, author, and international expert on Low Stress Handling. Her “pet-friendly” techniques for animal handling and behavior modification are shaping the new standard of care for veterinarians and animal care professionals.

She has a lot of YouTube videos, and some wonderful books. Here’s one of my favorites:

How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves

Linda Tellington Jones/T-Touch

The Tellington TTouch is a specialized approach to the care and training of our animal companions. Developed by internationally recognized animal expert, Linda Tellington-Jones, PhD (Hon), this method based on cooperation and respect offers a positive approach to training, can improve performance and health and presents solutions to common behavioral and physical problems. It also helps establish a deeper rapport between humans and animals through increased understanding and more effective communication.

Linda Tellington-Jones has a lot of material for animals of all species on her website; here is her book for dogs:

Getting in TTouch with Your Dog: A Gentle Approach to Influencing Behavior, Health, and Performance

April Frost

Finally, one of my favorite books (she really gets it about telepathic communication):

Beyond Obedience: Training with Awareness for You & Your Dog

April Frost has dedicated her life to improving human and animal relationships. She is known throughout the United States and Canada as one of the most learned and qualified people in the fields of animal behavior and alternative healing.  April has spent many years as a professional behavior counselor, trainer, teacher, presenter and groomer of animals. She is a Reiki Master, Channel, Herbalist and Natural Practitioner. She trained with respected herbalist Susan Root.

My top 3 recommendations for dog training and behavior issues:

  1. Communication and relationship-building is key.
  2. Respect your dog as a fellow sentient being, an individual, and your partner and spiritual equal, and approach all behavior training from this perspective.
  3. If you need help, get it. Telepathic communication, training, energy healing, and holistic or conventional veterinary care all can be appropriate and helpful, and often necessary, in solving problems.

If you need communication help with your dog around a behavior or training issue, you can Schedule a Consultation with me. I can help you to understand your dog’s perspective, and facilitate a two-way conversation between you and your canine companion.



Here are some resources for finding a qualified force-free trainer in your area:

Pet Professional Guild

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT®)

Grisha Stewart’s Professional Directory


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