Today we wanted to share some of the best dog trainers we know who use positive reinforcement techniques to train dogs. From amazing tricks to correcting even the most stubborn of behaviors, these talented specialists bring out the best in dogs and inspire us.
I have loved watching their videos and tips online, reading their books and meeting and consulting with many of them in person. I have learned so much from them since I adopted my rescue Kilo the Pug who came with quite a few issues and had not had much socialization or training. He now loves training for treats and my approval and can do at least 50 tricks and behaviors. We practice every single day to keep him mentally and physically active and make him the best happiest dog he can be.
Read: How To Solve These Common Dog Training Issues
I believe that positive training builds the human-dog bond. Early on in our research for the Talent hounds TV series, we spoke to experts about the benefits of positive reinforcement over pack or alpha dog training techniques to see what is more effective for training your dog. See the results HERE.
International Dog Trainers
Sara Carson and The Super Collies
It’s amazing how much Sara and Hero The Super Collie have grown since we first met them four years ago while working on our documentary TV series. She is a certified Trick Dog Instructor and the owner/ trainer of Paws Up Dog Training.
She has also been the star of many Talent Hounds Talent Shows including the video below and winner of many trick contests.
Hero knows well over 300+ tricks/behaviors and loves to perform. As well as appearing in our TV series and videos, they have a very successful Facebook Following and Youtube Channel. Together they have appeared and performed on America’s Got Talent where they reached the finals, David Letterman for his Stupid Pet Tricks Segment. They also performed on the Marilyn Denis Show for Talented Teen Week, won Simon Cowell’s YOU Generation Performing Pets competition and performed in the United States with Stunt Dog Productions.
Sara has done an amazing job training her recent rescues Marvel and Loki. She and her dogs are amazing. We are very happy to call her our friend and we are very grateful for the tips and advice she has given us.
Below she appears in Zac George’s video “How to Train a Superdog”
Read: Dog Trainer Spotlight -Sara and Hero
Zac George & The Dog Training Revolution
Zak George is a celebrity dog trainer, author and YouTube star with a huge online following. He teaches dog lovers how to care for and train their dogs using positive reinforcement. He’s starred in two of his own dog training TV shows, Animal Planet’s “Superfetch” and the BBC’s “Who Let the Dogs Out”. He has appeared as an expert on various other Animal Planet shows such as Dogs 101. His expertise has also landed him on many national talk shows and news programs such as Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Early Show on CBS, Fox and Friends, and Rachael Ray.
Laura Nativo- The Fairy Dogmother
I enjoyed meeting Laura Nativo and her adorable Pom Preston Casanova at a BlogPaws event. I have watched her on TV and on YouTube as in the video on Crate Training below. We have stayed in touch online. She is a lovely dog trainer, and pet lifestyle expert.
Victoria Stilwell is one of the world’s most recognized and respected positive reinforcement dog trainers. Best known for her role as the star of Animal Planet’s hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog and as a judge on CBS’s Greatest American Dog. She has appeared in over 100 t.v. episodes since 2005 reaching audiences in over 100 countries counseling families (including mine) on their pet problems.
We have had the pleasure of talking to Victoria and her family (human and dogs) in person at live events like the All About Pets Show and at the Royal Winter Fair. She is absolutely delightful and kind and I have found her advice very effective. She often points out that humans need as much training as dogs- very true in my case.
Read: Victoria Stilwell’s Train Your Dog Positively
Kyra Sundance’s world acclaimed acrobatic stunt dog team has performed on The Tonight Show, Ellen, ET, Worldwide Fido Awards, in halftime shows and more. She’s also an internationally acclaimed best-selling author for her dog tricks book series, 101 Dog Tricks, which has been translated into 15 languages.
Omar Von Muller
I am so inspired by Omar and his dogs, especially Jumpy who tragically passed over the rainbow bridge from cancer. Jumpy was known on YouTube as the most talented dog in the world and this video has over 12 million views. Omar suffered terribly from the loss and took a long break but I was thrilled to see him back on World’s Most Amazing Dog with Lucy this year.
World-renowned dog trainer Emily Larlham only uses Progressive Reinforcement Training. She offers complete and free ‘how to’ videos on dog training, clicker training and behavior modification on her Youtube Channel. Her’s is a type of training that involves no forms of physical or psychological intimidation. Visit her website for more free information on this way of training animals that is not only the safest, but yields the most amazing results and creates the strongest trust and bond you could possibly have with your dog.
Richard Olate is the second youngest in a family of 22 children from Chile South America. He turned his life long passion of working with dogs into a career. Now he performs alongside his family and features a troop of dogs from rescues and shelters. Olate’s Dogs perform high-energ
Read: Have You Seen The Amazing Olate Dogs
Brandon McMillan has spent his entire life working with animals. From his years as a wild animal trainer for film and television, McMillan has created a unique and popular “7 Common Commands™”(Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Heel, No) dog training system. He successfully demonstrates his methods rehabilitating rescue dogs in his hit television show “Lucky Dog” on CBS.
I have had the great pleasure of meeting Brandon at Global Pet Expo several times. I love his books and training tools which work well with Kilo the Pug.
Named one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States by TopTeny!, Tonya Wilhelm’s twenty-year career has culminated into every one of her services merging under one brand: Raising Your Pets Naturally.
Raising Your Pets Naturally teaches pet owners about dog behavior, dog training, cat behavior, dog and cat nutrition, pet care, pet product reviews, traveling with dogs, pet and human health, and of course, lots of fun and useful information. We have become friends online through BlogPaws.
Dr. Ian Dunbar
Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer. He advocates for people to see the world through the eyes of our beloved dogs. By knowing our pets’ perspective, we can build their love and trust. A message that resonates well beyond the animal world.
Local Ontario Dog Trainers
We have had the pleasure of working alongside these amazing trainers either on the Talent Hounds documentary series, events or attended one of their classes with Kilo.
Gillian Ridgeway and Karen at Who’s Walking Who
Gillian is the Director of Who’s Walking Who Dog Training Centres in Toronto and Ajax. We worked with Gillian on the Talent Hounds TV series and she often guest posts for us on dog training. She was the first person I took Kilo the Pug to but we decided he needed some help from someone who sepcializes in squishy face rescues and fear reactivity. Gillian believes that education combined with experience is the key to helping clients teach, and manage, their dogs.
Read Gillian Ridgeway’s: How To Stop Attention Seeking Habits
Joan Weston of Fangs But No Fangs who specializes in Canine Behavioural Consulting. Her approach is based on science, research and mutual respect. Even if you don’t love your dog’s behavior, you still love your dog. Helping them shouldn’t be an adversarial battle based on fear, pain or outdated opinions. At Fangs But No Fangs, they understand that you and your dog are on the same team, working together. When you act with compassion and intelligence, great things can happen for you both.I contacted her to help my foster dog Kilo interact more safely with new people and dogs. Joan has magic hands! See my full recap HERE
Heather McLeod, President / Owner of RuffSport only uses Positive Dog Training techniques. Heather enjoys, competes in, performs and teaches multiple dog sports including Agility, Dock-Diving, and Disc. She attended one of the best agility training facilities in North America—Say Yes Dog Training in Ancaster, Ontario. Heather believes in always being positive but Say Yes taught her that being positive is not the same thing as being permissive. RUFFSPORT provides private and group dog training classes in Dog Sport Foundation, Agility, Disc, Basic Manners/Obedience, Dock Jumping, Tricks, and Flyball.
Renee trains all her dogs using positive reinforcement training, a gentle and humane approach to training that builds a healthy and trusting relationship with your dog. All About Dogs has a spacious 14,000 sq foot facility located in Toronto, with 2 large training halls and a dedicated puppy training room, all equipped with sports flooring for cushion and traction. All About Dogs assists pet owners in raising and training dogs through informative and interactive training programs from early socialization to adulthood as positive training is the best way to create a happy and confident dog who understands what is expected of him.
Read Renee DeVilliers: How To Teach Dogs Focus and Self Control
Canine Campus, owned by top trainer Lucinda Glenny CPDT-KA, was awarded Top Training Facility Markham area 2011 and serves Markham, Stouffville, Richmond Hill and Thornhill. The facility provides award-winning dog training classes, in-home behavior consults and doggie daycare. Specializing in anxiety and aggression issues, Canine Campus has been consistently recommended by breeders and vets to help solve the most difficult situations.
Lucinda impressed us with her own very well-trained pups, as well as her kindness and compassion, nurturing foster Chihuahua dogs from CCRT. She specializes in training dogs with anxiety or behavioural issues. She is currently studying for her BSc in Behavioral Science at York to further her understanding of how environment and temperament affect each dog.
Cheryl Orletsky aka the Dog Guru
Cheryl Orletsky is the Founder and Director of Holiday Pet Care, the highly successful Dog Daycare & Cage-free Boarding Centre, Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Service serving York Region since 1998. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers (CAPPDT), the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and is a licensed presenter for DogGone Safe.
DogGuru, Cheryl Orletsky on positive reinforcement traing: “It’s moving away from thinking of training as controlling dogs and moving much more towards the idea of learning communication skills so that they’re actually going to understand what we want from them. ”
Andre Yeu of When Hounds Fly, graduated from the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behaviour and was certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. He founded When Hounds Fly Dog Training in January 2010, and has since seen another location added. Currently he teaches Puppy Socialization and Foundation Skills classes at both locations.
We’d like to give a special mention to a couple of up and coming local dog trainers we have worked with:
We are always so impressed by Dog Trainer Taylor and her super talented viral video stars – Trick Dogs Lottie the Border Collie and Grizzly the Rescue German Shepherd. Taylor and Lottie have been performing 2 years in a row with Talent Hounds and with the addition of Grizzly their act keeps getting better and better.
Dog Training Tips By Taylor, the talented trainer of Lottie
Nana is an extremely well-trained Border Collie with a YouTube Channel and successful career performing. She is one of the stars of our Backseat Barkers comedy series -Her trick videos were part of the inspiration for the original Talent Hounds Documentary.
Marcy is a wonderful positive reinforcement trainer and her dedication to her three Jack Russells is obvious in their strong bond together an impressive roster of tricks. Sweetie, the eldest Jack can solve math problems, Lulu rides skateboards and plays piano and Shivers can jump rope.
Read: Amazing Community Event For Trick Dogs and Dog Lovers
Maddisen and Rev the Border Collie
Rev is a gorgeous Border Collie, with an easy going personality and lots of energy. He competes with trainer Maddisen in canine musical freestyle, freestyle disc, agility, dock diving, herding, and pretty much any other dog sport. Rev has performed with Talent Hounds and been featured on City TV and the Pet Network. He is now a member of the amazing Woofjocks team.
The WoofJocks Canine All Stars are a skilled group of dogs and handlers. The troop of well-trained dogs love to show off tricks, agility and their dance moves in the ring for audiences. The shows are always educational and fun and all the dogs are family pets who have been trained using Positive Reinforcement training techniques.
Read: WoofJocks Wow at PawsWay’s Family Day
The Ultimate Destination for your SuperDog specializing in Boarding, Daycare, Grooming, Training, Pet Supplies.
Jen Longhurst of Life With Jasper Zen
Jasper is a spunky little Shih Tzu/Chihuahua mix that loves to play and bark living in Ontario, Canada!
Ashley, Mickie and Maya
Beautiful Maya and Ashley performed with us at Canadian Pet Expo in April. Ashley dedicates many hours a week to training and exercising Maya.
Dryver and dogs Kallie, Niner and Spook
Dryver and his disc dogs Kallie and Spook have performed with us over the last couple years at our All About Pets Talent Show.
Tonya Wilhelm says
Wow! Thank you very much for the spotlight on positive dog trainers! Positive dog training is the best way to work with your dog on any behavior. Thanks for the shout out too~! ~Tonya
Michelle Harrell says
Thanks for highlighting positive dog training, something I am really passionate about. I’ve been performing professionally with my poodles, The Magical Poodles, for 18 years. I train with love, and a yummy treat!
Talent Hounds says
The Magical Poodles look amazing. We’d love to do a feature as I especially love seeing what you are doing in libraries and schools!! So important to teach kids how to safely interact and use reward based training. We are actually starting Kids Pet Club and could also do a highlight there. I’ll be in Florida in March for an Expo?
Cathy Armato says
Good roundup of training videos. I love Victoria Stilwell & Laura Nativo! Kilo did an awesome job on his tricks! Thanks for sharing these.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
I really like Sophia Yin and Tab Shamsi. Sophia Yin is a veterinarian and advocates proper handling skills by vets and teaching children and adults how to approach and watch for communication signs in dogs for better relationships and bite avoidance as well as positive reinforcement training. Tab Shamsi has a YouTube channel full of free videos with positive training techniques and advice for basic obedience and tricks. The videos are short and concise and easy to follow for even a beginner.
Talent Hounds says
Yes I agree – I follow his channel and watch Tab Shamsi’s videos (although I have not seen any new ones lately) and I thought Dr Sophia Yin was amazing (it was so tragic to lose such a smart advocate for kindness and animal welfare way too early- I had only just started to get to know her online)
Sophia Yin is amazing and has contributed so much. Unfortunately, she died in September 2014. It appears everyone on this list are people who are living, which is probably why she isn’t on it.
Talent Hounds says
Yes, we had the pleasure of communicating with her when we were researching and starting Talent Hounds. She was so helpful. We were very saddened by the loss. She contributed so much to the dog community.
Daniel Josselyn says
I know an excellent positive reinforcement based trainer in Ontario named Dan Josselyn, owner of Golden Rule Dog Training. He’s a Karen Pryor Academy graduate, Low Stress Handling certified, Fear Free certified trainer, Fear Free certified groomer, and Fear Free speaker. He’s also completed Michael Shikashio’s course on aggression in Dogs and several online classes led by Ian Dunbar. He’s the trainer for Zen Dogs on Church street in Toronto, the Training Manager for Coveted Canines Rescue, one of 2 trainers that advises Boston Terrier Rescue Canada, and the instructor for EduCanine’s Pawsitively to the Rescue virtual classes. I know him well because I am him.