Tap Into These Top 9 Positive Dog Training Influencers For A Trouble-Free Dog

Let me introduce you to these Top 9 Positive Dog-Training Influencers:

  • Dr. Marty Becker

  • Dr. Nicholas Dodman

  • Dr. Ian Dunbar

  • Susan Garrett

  • Patricia McConnell

  • Pat Miller

  • Karen Pryor

  • Victoria Stillwell

Each of these dog trainers/behaviorists have followed their passion and discovered ways to live with a trouble-free dog by using positive reinforcement dog training methods. They generously share what they have learned through writing books, holding classes, creating dvds, giving lectures, online classes and exclusive training camps.

*This post has affiliate links. If you click on a link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only include links to products that I use or recommend. All opinions are my own.

Dr. Marty Becker


Dr. Becker is easily recognizable from his television appearances

Fearful Dogs
From Fearful to FEAR FREE

on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” and “The Dr. Oz Show” where he is the resident veterinarian.

He contributes to Vetstreet.com, Parade Magazine and AARP.com. His veterinary practice is in Idaho.

Despite his busy schedule, he has managed to write a number of books on pet care.

His most recent positive reinforcement dog training book is From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias. 


Dr. Nicholas Dodman

The Well-Adjusted Dog



This man is known world-wide as an animal behaviorist.  Until recently, Dr. Dodman was a professor and the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

He has also appeared on TV on shows like Oprah, the Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20 and CNN to name a few.

Dog trainers who want to increase their understanding of dog behavior read many of his books including

The Well-Adjusted Dog: Dr. Dodman’s 7 Steps to Lifelong Health and Happiness for Your Best Friend.

Jean Donaldson

The Culture Clash


Jean Donaldson came east many years ago to present a workshop that I attended which was co-hosted by my kennel club members. We wanted to learn how her positive reinforcement training methods could improve our performance with our dogs in conformation shows and other dog sports.

Jean has also lectured to a lot of groups in the UK, Japan and Australia.

Jean is both the Founder and Director of the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. Over 200 trainers have been certified in class training and private behavior counseling. There is a 3 to 6 month wait list for its courses. You can enroll in Jean’s online courses at RaisingCanine.com.

I have The Culture Clash in my library. I highly recommend it if you want to understand the relationship between humans and domestic dogs.


Dr. Ian Dunbar

I met Dr. Dunbar in 2002 when I attended a 2 or 3-day workshop for dog trainers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had the audience laughing as he told stories about dogs and people too.

Before & After Getting Your Puppy

In the 1970’s, Dr. Dunbar realized that there were no classes for puppies.  I remember that era well since I had to wait to enroll into obedience classes my own miniature poodle Desiree until she was six months of age.

Desi’s classes back then were taught by a former military dog trainer who taught us how to use force to get results. She shut down emotionally during competition and even nipped the pant leg of a judge who crowded her as she moved forward…so much for that method of dog training.

On the other hand, Dr. Dunbar presents a positive approach to dog training with toys, treats and games as rewards when teaching basic manners. At the workshop in Pittsburgh, we learned the value of stuffing Kong toys for different breeds and activity levels of various breeds of dogs to keep them occupied.

I have Before You Get Your Puppy and a second book After You Get Your Puppy in my library but now you can get both in one version: Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog.


Dr. Dunbar has had a number of websites over time.  He has now taken his courses online at Dunbaracademy.com. For just $20/month, you can have access to all of his books, courses and  updates.


Susan Garrett

I happened to see an ad for Susan’s Recallers online course and am glad that I clicked through and joined.

Shaping Success

Susan earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science at the University of Guelph. From there, she became a canine-sports instructor and is one of the most successful agility competitors ever. In fact, she has won multiple Gold Medals at National or World Championships over the past 20 years.

Susan teaches effective positive reinforcement training by playing with your dogs. This makes training fun for both people and their dogs and thus is self-rewarding.

Susan’s book Shaping Success was named Dog Book of the Year for 2005 in the category of “Training and Behavior” by The Dog Writers Association of America. 

Susan took her training online in 2008 with Recallers. Anyone can learn either through videos, the written word or audio. Her students tune in from 82 countries.

AgilityNation is another online course for those that compete in agility.


Patricia B. McConnell, PhD, CAAB


I have read a number of Trisha’s 11 books including The Other End Of the Leash which has been translated into 14 languages.

Dr. McConnell has specialized in canine aggression while consulting with pet owners over the last 20 years. She had taught in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 25 years. She speaks around the world about canine behavior and training.

I listened to a talk she gave about her latest book The Education of Will. You can watch that by clicking HERE. You will be riveted as you listen to her talk about Will and how he taught her to face her own fears in order to reclaim her life.

To learn more about Dr. McConnell, visit her website at www.patriciamcconnell.com or visit her blog at www.theotherendoftheleash.com.



Pat Miller

Pat has certainly gained her knowledge of dogs through experience. After serving as a humane officer in California, she became one of the first certified dog trainers through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2001.

The Power Of Positive Dog Training

Her dog training company Peaceable Paws, has been located on the West Coast, in Chattanooga, Tennessee and now in Fairplay, Maryland.

I met Pat at a Pet Expo in Maryland where she was signing books. One of my obedience class students had just finished going through Pat’s Intern Academy as a result of working with her own dog that had aggressive tendencies in my Canine Good Citizen class. She has become a Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT).

Pat is also a prolific author. Besides writing her own books, she contributes to The Whole Dog Journal and Tufts University’s Veterinary School publication Your Dog.

The Power of Positive Dog Training is also in my library. It must be in many other dog lover’s libraries too since it has remained on Amazon’s “Top 10 Dog Training Books” since 2002.


Karen Pryor


Clicker Training For Dogs


Karen Pryor pioneered force-free/positive reinforcement training methods. Karen Pryor Clicker Training founded her academy which then launched training centers in North America in 2007. This was done to help set standards for dog trainers and to help them increase their financial success.

Students can enroll and take part in 11 different courses through online learning. There are more than 1300 certified training partners in the US and Canada and around the world designated by the initials KPA CTP.

I recently purchased Karen’s Getting Started Clicker Training for Dogs to have fun with Gusto.


Victoria Stilwell


This English-born trainer became known in the United States as the star of It’s Me or the Dog. This TV series allowed her to display the benefits of positive reinforcement dog training in opposition to another popular dog training show that was based on dominance and force to get a “quick fix” for the TV audience.

Victoria has appeared in over 110 episodes since 2005 that reach audiences in over 60 countries. She has received many outstanding rewards for her contributions to the Pet Industry.

Positive Dog Training
Train Your Dog Positively

Taken from her Amazon.com biography, Victoria’s core reward-based training philosophy is based on avoiding the use of pain, fear and punishment while helping to build mutual trust, respect and love through the implementation of her scientifically-backed positive training methods.

Victoria brings experts together on her Positively.com blog to continue educating the public.  She also has Positively Dog Training which is a worldwide network of positive reinforcement dog trainers. I am happy to report that Gusto’s obedience instructor is certified as a trainer in Victoria’s network.

Victoria’s accomplishments are far too numerous to list here. I have her book Train Your Dog Positively in my library.





I hope you have enjoyed reviewing these Top 9 Positive Dog-Training Influencers. Tap into their knowledge for a happy and trouble-free dog.


Here’s my take on Positive Reinforcement Training in this video:


Who has influenced you the most in training your dogs? Let us know 🙂

Be sure to come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!






18 Replies to “Tap Into These Top 9 Positive Dog Training Influencers For A Trouble-Free Dog”

  1. I started with Karen Pryor’s books just after I got Harley and haven’t looked back. I love positive reinforcement training! I have also been interested in Agility and briefly met Dr. Becker at a BlogPaws conference. Both of those books are added to my Amazon wish list. 😉

    1. For online Agility courses, definitely tune into Susan Garrett…She gives so many bonus trainings to help you get into the mind of your dog.I should be doing more clicker training with Gusto so I better pull Karen’s book off the shelf again…lol

  2. I don’t have a dog however I do have friends who are doggie pet parents and lovers. I will share this post with them. What a great selection of resources to help pet parents and their pups!

  3. Our local trainer Crystal Blaker has influenced our pack the most. She’s generous with her time and references. She’s recommended several resources from people on your list. I have several books that look promising, and now I have a few more for mountain TBR:)

    1. Authors are really passionate about getting their message out and getting feedback on the impact of their words. I spoke with a non-fiction author today who just published her second book that took her 1 1/2 years to write!

  4. I’ve heard of a few of the people on the list, but not all of them. This is a great roundup with lots of great info for dog owners. If I owned a dog I’d be on Amazon right now ordering books!

  5. While I recognize some of these books, I’m not familiar with all of these authors. I’ll have to check them out!

  6. I LOVE Victoria Stilwell & Dr. Becker! Victoria was the biggest influence on me, I feel like I was clueless before her show aired on Animal Planet. She taught me SO much about dogs & dog training. She literally changed my life!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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