15 Extraordinary US Dog Behaviorists

Many dogs are given up or surrendered because of problem or seemingly unmanageable behavior such as hyperactivity, poor leash etiquette, guarding their food, or even aggression. The truth is, most behaviors that are considered problematic are actually easily modifiable with the proper techniques. Not only can training your dog help to restore peace of mind and balance in your home, but it can provide your pup with valuable mental and physical stimulation. Professional Dog Consultants can assist with a wide variety of topics, from behavior issues to choosing the right leash and collar for your pet. Enrolling your dog in group training classes is a great way to provide them with fun and social activities while simultaneously teaching them to be happy, contributing family and society members. In addition to being extremely beneficial for dogs and their human family members, behavior modification specialists prevent countless animals from becoming shelter statistics. These are some of the best in the business.


Larry Benoit

Larry Benoit is a leading full time dog trainer in the Baton Rouge Metro area, and voted one of America's top ten professional dog trainers.

Larry Benoit believes that "a trained human is a dog's best friend". Benoit is an Associate Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, and Association of Professional Dog trainers. He specializes in obedience and socialization, and regularly travels up to 35 miles to see his clients. It is Benoit's firm belief that to train a dog successfully it is necessary to learn and understand the mind of a dog. He offers basic obedience group classes which last five weeks and focus on sitting, leash etiquette, staying, and coming when called. Private in-home training lasts four weeks and covers basic commands, as well as addressing disruptive behaviors such as charging the door, jumping on people, rowdy or destructive behavior. If clients are looking for something more intensive, Benoit offers boarded private in-home training at his residence which lasts four weeks and involves three one-on-one sessions per day.


Sylvia Bishop

Having trained dogs for over 38 years, world famous dog trainer, Sylvia Bishop promotes fun training for both dog and handler.

Sylvia Bishop, AKA "The Bishop", has been training dogs for almost four decades. She has been passionate about making training fun for both dog and handler since 1974, and puts great efforts toward helping other dog handlers reach their potential. She provides her clients with her world-renowned variety of ways to enhance their dog's training, using a combination of fun, motivation, and a simple buckle collar. In addition to helping her clients, Sylvia gives lectures, teaches courses, hosts competition obedience seminars, and creates instructional training videos for per owners, and for the purpose of entering the competitive obedience world. She regularly enters her own dogs in competitive shows, and is the first person to have more than seven different dogs for qualifications to Crufts. She is the only trainer to be invited to the prestigious Crufts Dog Show for 30 consecutive years.


Three Dogs Training

A professional Dog Trainer since 2000, Lisa J. Edwards believes the best dog/human relationship comes through a balance of boundaries and freedoms.

A Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for almost 20 years, Lisa J. Edwards splits her professional time between classroom instruction at Three Dogs Training and conducting private behavioral consultations from NYC down to the lower Hudson Valley. She is a nationally Certified Dog Behavioral Consultant (IAABC), a Pet Partners Certified Evaluator and Certified Instructor, and an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. In addition, Lisa and her three dogs are registered Animal Assisted Therapy teams through Pet Partners. She is passionate about building and strengthening relationships between humans and their canine family members, and specializes in training to correct aggression, separation anxiety, hyperactivity, destructive behaviors, and housebreaking issues to name a few. As a Certified Behavior Consultant, she also frequently helps prospective pet parents choose dogs that will be the best fit for family and lifestyle.


Walk This Way

A graduate from the Animal Behavior Center of New York, Renee Payne believes in positive reinforcement based dog training and behavior modification.

Training pups since 1999, Renee Payne is not only a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, she is also a member of the Associates of Professional Dog Trainers, Certified by the Certification for Professional Dog Trainers, and a certified Tester for the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Program. At Walk This Way, Renee and her team specialize in new dog training, behavior modification, nose work / tricks, and service dog training for dogs accompanying people with disabilities. She employs only positive reinforcement / reward-based training and behavior modification methods and firmly believes that no two dogs are the same, therefore there is no one "right" approach to training for everyone. Unique to Renee and the work her team does is their involvement with the Pace University Parenting, Prison, and Pups program - a multifaceted study aimed to equip inmate mothers with skills training in parenting. She is an evaluator for the adoptability of dogs for local shelters and rescue groups, and designed a written / interactive process for residential buildings to evaluate potential canine residents.


Canine Dimensions

Following years of study and research, nationally known trainer and behavior expert Phil Guida has combined the best components of existing training programs and intuition.

Recommended by vets, dog rescues, and animal shelters throughout the US and Canada, Phil Guida is a nationally known Dog Behavior Expert and a pioneer in the scientific field of reward-based, balanced dog training. Founded in 1997, Canine Dimensions provides both on-site and private in-home dog training, using Guida's 3-phase dog training model that was developed based on observations of how dogs communicate with one another. Guida and his team specialize in behavior modification, problem solving, and obedience training for both adult dogs and puppies. Housebreaking, crate training, destructive behavior, socialization, manners, aggression, leash etiquette, hyperactivity, and fear/ anxiety are only a few areas in which they consistently help clients find balance with their pets. Canine Dimensions is dedicated to community and is partnered with the Camden County Animal Shelter which is transitioning to becoming New Jersey's first high-volume, no kill shelter. Trainers at CD personally provide foster homes for homeless, neglected, and abused animals and regularly donate their time to local shelters. Over the past 20 years, the team has trained and rehabbed over 50,000 dogs.


Tully's Training

With over a decade of experience training a variety of exotic animals, owner and founder Mary Tully bases her approach to behavior modification on the science of learning.

Serving the greater Los Angeles area and now Seattle, the Tully training system centers on positive reinforcement, building confidence and trust between human and animal, making simple changes that set both pets and owners up for success, and training with focus on long term results. Mary and her team provide private, in-home dog training, online Skype training, and dog training classes all customized to fit the needs of each individual pup and their family. At Tully's Training, emphasis is placed on strengthening the relationship between you and your pup using simple techniques based on trust and understanding, and centered around working together as a team. Before taking on a client, a complete, thorough, in-home behavioral evaluation and consultation is conducted to look at each dog's daily routine, and identify the root causes of any issues. A customized training program is then created centered around specific needs and geared toward teaching the pet owner to read their dog, and prevent problems from happening in the future. Mary Tully is also the resident Animal Expert for Autostraddle, the world's most popular online magazine for LGBTQ women.


I Said Sit

Certified trainer Elisha Stynchula believes in teaching dogs as quickly and easily as possible, working with their natural reflexes and instincts.

I Said Sit is a state-of-the-art 5,000 sq foot facility located in Los Angeles, CA. Owner and Certified Trainer, Elisha Stynchula utilizes reward-based, motivational training aimed at teaching dogs both as quickly and as easily as possible, working with their natural reflexes and instincts. She specializes in training pups to adopt specific behaviors the client wants to see at home, and all of her customized, recommended practice methods are designed to accommodate the client's lifestyle. It is firmly believed at I Said Sit that eliminating factors that create disruptive behaviors is a more sustainable way to truly foster change than only targeting the symptoms. Elisha and her team specialize in behaviors associated with insecurity such as separation anxiety, biting and barking, aggressive behavior, running away, and destructive tendencies. She offers dog and puppy training, boarding school - the fastest, most intensive training program available, private training sessions - with focus on teaching pet owners how to train their dog, group classes, and most popular - day school which also offers pick up and drop off school bus services. The beautiful facility includes a 1,600 sq foot training classroom with rubber impact absorbing flooring, and a tutoring room which is set up just like a home environment especially for private sessions.


Doggie Manners

Caryl Wolff got her start at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, and is the only LA dog and puppy trainer with the distinction of being simultaneously certified by over 6 organizations in her field.

Los Angeles based Certified Dog and Puppy Trainer, Caryl Wolff teaches classes for puppies and dogs in obedience, manners, agility, tricks, and games. She conducts private sessions in Bel Air, Brentwood, Westwood, Palms, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, West Hollywood, even San Fernando Valley and South Bay areas. The most comprehensive way for both dog and owner to learn, her private lessons take place either in the client's home, or the location of their choosing. Caryl is certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), International Association of Dog Behavior Consultants (IAABC), National Assiciation of Obedience Instructors (NADOI), Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP), and is a certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (AKC CGC), and American Kennel Club Puppy S.T.A.R. Evaluator (AKC S.T.A.R). She specializes in anxiety based issues especially separation anxiety, and works with clients to address many others such as aggression, adjustment to children / babies, housebreaking, bolting, and hyperactivity to name a few.


The Sophisticated Dog

Director of Training, Irith Bloom has been training since the 80s, and believes that training should be enjoyable for animals and humans alike.

Fluent in English, Hebrew, and Japanese, Irith Bloom is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor, and FAR Beyond Licensed Trainer. To maintain her high standard of service, she regularly attends courses, seminars, and workshops, and speaks at conferences. Her training methods are centered around positive reinforcement (primarily clicker training) which rewards pups for doing the right thing vs. punishing for the wrong thing and bridges the gaps between humans and animals. Her reward-based activities allow dogs to enjoy training and learning, making the process quick and long lasting, and holding space for communication without force, prompts, or manipulation. Irith offers coaching, day training, behavior modification, in-home private training - custom designed to meet the needs of both family and pets, new adoptee training - designed for the acclimation of a new pet into the home, and adoption consulting - helping prospective adopters choose a pet that is perfect for their family.


Urban Pooch

Chicago's accomplished Head trainer, James Bahr, has over 26 years of training experience and specializes in agility work.

"Where Every Dog is A Champion" is the slogan at Chicago's Urban Pooch training and fitness center. Owner and head trainer, James Bahr specializes in canine agility work and has over 26 years of experience in his field. He and the Urban Pooch team offer agility classes which are taught exclusively by professional competitors, workshops, personal training sessions, group classes, fitness sessions, obedience classes, and daycare. Before attending daycare, which includes lots of running and playing with other dogs both indoors and outdoors, all pups must attend a two hour socialization session which owners are welcomed to stay and observe on-camera. Urban Pooch obedience training includes crate games, manner work, and behavior specialty classes. The state-of-the-art 10,000 facility (which can be toured virtually on their website) boasts indoor dog runs and agility rings, premium rubberized agility contact equipment including top-notch agility mats designed for maximum traction and comfort, a super clean, climate-controlled environment, and a retail store. Urban Pooch is also home to the world's first FitBark Dog Activity Monitor program, which awards weekly prizes to its top performers.


Canine University

Co-Owner of Canine U. Gerilyn Bielakiewicz, holds two nationally recognized certifications and has over twenty years experience training dogs.

Serving the Greater Boston Area since 1992, Canine University Co-Owner, Gerilyn Bielakiewicz, is recognized for her ability to break dog-related issues down into smaller, more manageable problems, helping thousands of families over the course of her career. Not only is she a nationally Certified Professional Dog Trainer with over 20 years of training experience, she is author of 7 books, some of which have been translated into over 20 languages. She and her team offer training classes which are centered around positive reinforcement and motivation, training seminars and clinics, hands-on workshops, behavioral consulting, private training which includes private behavioral consulting and goal specific training. Canine University also offers Doggie Daycare where the primary goals are to help shy dogs become more confident, help puppies learn good play skills, help young dogs practice self-control, relieve anxiety, and allow high-energy pups to exhaust themselves in healthy and productive ways.


Do No Harm

Rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the US, Linda Michaels is a respected author, and the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs.

Linda Michaels, affiliate of the International School of Canine Psychology and International Companion Animal Network, has her MA in Psychology and was recently rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the US. Her laboratory research experience in behavioral neurobiology studied the confluence between behavior and the brain. A combination of her scientific training and hands-on experience with dogs and wolfdogs has created a link between the worlds of science, dog trainers and pet owners. Linda is the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs - an adaptation of Maslow's Hierarchy of (human) Needs- which serves as a unique model of behavior modification and wellness. She teaches private, customized obedience classes for dogs and puppies of all breeds and sizes from the Greater Los Angeles Area down to San Diego. As a Certified Fear, Aggression, and Reactivity Consultant, she focuses on modifying psychological elements of dog behavior that reflect the human psyche.


Do More With Your Dog

Founder Kyra Sundance believes in positive reinforcement training, and encourages incorporation of dogs into more aspects of daily life.

"Do More With Your Dog" is the motto of founder Internartional Bestselling Author, Kyra Sundance. Kyra's priority is the assimilation of canine companions into more aspects of daily human life. What began as a training program focused on teaching tricks using positive reinforcement techniques, has develped into a multifaceted institution for all types of agility and behavior training. Some of the programs Kyra and her team at Do More With Your Dog offer include Canine Conditioning, a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI) workshop, a basic Dog Tricks workshop, a Pedestal Training workshop, and an Intro to Stunt Dog Competition workshop. All of Kyra's positive reinforcement training incorporates rewarding desirable behavior with treats, toys, praise, or playtime, marker and clicker training, and discipline through non-violent consequences such as time outs and witholding attention.


USA Dog Behavior

Dallas Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, Scott Sheaffer has earned certifications from two international professional organizations specifically for his treatment of behavior issues in dogs.

Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, Scott Sheaffer specializes in the assessment and treatment of fear, anxiety, phobias and aggression in dogs six months and up. He focuses on behaviors such as separation anxiety, possessive behavior around food, toys, and beds, inappropriate urination, compulsive behaviors, hyperactivity, generalized fear, and seven different types of aggression. Scott and his team offer one hour private sessions at the USA Dog Behavior location, one hour private sessions at the client's location, phone consultations, and seminars for professional dog trainers, veterinary practices, dog owners, and rescue organizations. Also available on his website are informative and entertaining dog training videos by Sheaffer which offer current and in-depth solutions for common behavior issues found in dogs. He serves as a Consultant for Municipal Animal Control Services, Legal Consultant in dog bite cases, and is the creator of FRED (functional reactivity exercise for dogs) behavior modification.


Success Just Clicks

Working with dogs for over 15 years, nationally certified professional dog trainer Tena Parker is an avid supporter of responsible rescue practices.

Founder of Success Just Clicks, Tena Parker is passionate about the use of positive reinforcement and clicker training for both obedience training and in the rehabilitation of troubled dogs. She is a nationally Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, earned her Master's Degree in Education and Bachelor's in Psychology at Sarah Lawrence College. The Success Just Clicks team offers private training, group classes, advanced canine sports training. Although specializing in private in-home training with focus on aggression and reactivity, they offer private training for a variety of issues including basic manners, leash-etiquette, obedience, and new puppy work. Parker is an avid supporter of responsible rescue practices, and works with the Proper Pitbull as their training team manager and Board Member, overseeing training and behavior related injuries, creating behavior plans for rescue dogs, and training new volunteers who are joining the team.

As you can see, it is imperative that the trainer you choose employs humane training methods and positive reinforcement when working with your dog. It can feel daunting, choosing the right person for you and your pet in the absence of personal references, and lack of government regulation allows almost anyone to advertise themselves as a “dog trainer”. This list can serve to offer suggestions as well as to provide a checklist as to qualities to look for in a trainer. Reward-based training is enjoyable for your pup, can be an important constituent of responsible pet ownership, and ultimately enhances the relationship between pet and owner.