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The Best & Brightest in the World of Dogs
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Since the 2005 debut of trainer Victoria Stilwell’s hit television show, It’s Me or the Dog, her no-nonsense, positive-reinforcement-based approach has endeared her to pet lovers all over the world. Her holistic methods empower families to work together to create lasting solutions to behavioral problems. Stilwell’s acting background and dog-training experience have put her in an ideal position to promote positive methods to both professional and mainstream audiences in more than 30 countries. She’s judged contestants on the television show Greatest American Dog and appeared on numerous talk shows, written for several periodicals, and authored two books: It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet and Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet (a third book is in progress). Plans are currently underway for a foundation to raise money for smaller rescues and assistance-dog organizations.
Stilwell’s influence on popular culture has helped create exposure for positive training while providing a media counterbalance to those promoting dominance-based methods. 
—JoAnna Lou

Together, Suzanne Hetts and Dan Estep came up with the concept of behavioral wellness, which emphasizes the need for baselines to determine what is “well” in terms of pets’ behavior. 

Pamela Reid, director of the ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Center, not only lectures on animal behavior and learning theory, she puts it into action to improve human-canine relationships. 

Terry Ryan has been a guru for a generation of trainers. Teaching others how to motivate dogs through games, lecturing, writing and presenting seminars, she is a bright light in support of good relationships between people and their pups. 

Pia Silvani turned her love of teaching people and dogs into an amazing career as an internationally recognized canine coach and one of the training and behavior world’s go-to people. 

For the past 30 years, Wendy Volhard—who is credited with developing the first puppy test and first drive theories—has been teaching people how to communicate effectively with their pets. 

Sophia Yin is a multitalented vet, behaviorist, trainer, lecturer and videographer, with a great knack for imparting knowledge and expertise both to her colleagues—via her textbooks—and to the general public. Her site has invaluable info and fantastic videos. 

Emily Weiss probably never thought of herself as a matchmaker, but to the benefit of many adult dogs in shelters, it’s worked out that way. During a career dedicated to creating positive, humane animal behavior programs, Weiss developed MYM SAFER (Meet Your Match Safety Assessment For Evaluating Rehoming), a test that helps animal-welfare professionals identify potential aggression in dogs as well as opportunities for behavior modification, which ultimately leads to more—and more successful—adoptions through appropriate placement. 

If you want to become fluent in “dog,” start with Dog Language, the seminal work by ethologist Roger Abrantes, widely known for his views on social behavior and its applications to the daily understanding of pet behavior. 

HELPERS
We not only look out for our dogs, our dogs look out for us. These folks help them learn how to do it.

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Submitted by AliKat | February 13 2010 |

Although I know the article wasn't about the dogs pictured on page 49, it was still a thrill to see the little round photo of our Chow Chow Rowdy in the picture(7th from left, down 3 spots), especially since The Bark has also just chosen him (puppy pic) and one of our other Chows(who passed 9/25/09) in the smiling dogs online for this past week. Rowdy was also in The Bark magazine as one of the smiling dogs in the Nov./Dec. 2008 issue. Naturally, we think he's a real handsome guy, but it's nice to know someone else thinks so too. Thanks Bark!

Submitted by Julie Hirt | March 12 2010 |

Hello The Bark!

I am surprised that Cesar Millan didn't make the list - of the top 100 or the honorable mention story above. I hear rumblings of him being a controversial figure in the dog world (not sure I understand why) but he has, at the very minimum taught thousands of dog guardians that a daily 20 minute walk a day is crucial to a dog's physical and mental well-being. Not to mention that he's been showing millions of viewers that it isn't the dog's fault - it is the human's.

I am trying to figure out why he would have been omitted. Maybe he is too commercial. I don't know. But isn't it important to note what he's been able to contribute to the overall collaborative work by the pet community as a whole?

Sincerely,

Julie Hirt

Submitted by Matthew | April 13 2010 |

Hi Julie,

Typical comments in our canine search and rescue group is that Cesar is 80% correct. Once you've advanced to the point that you understand which 20% is garbage, you don't need him anymore.

The nonsense is all that alpha-aggressive stuff. Granted I'm biased in that you can not teach wilderness Search and Rescue through discipline methods. No dog is going to go look for someone lost in the woods for 8 hours because of fear of reprisal. You MUST make them want to do the work more than anything else. There are zero obedience commands given during the actual search training. I know this colors my perspective on dog training. :)

For an alternative view, check out http://www.phoenixbooksandaudio.com/books/detail/the-behavior-savior/ .

Fair disclosure: Dina was a Mission Ready member of our search and rescue team before the tragic, untimely death of her partner. We've both trained dogs and taken classes together, and it my professional opinion that she is very good at what she does. This is my first working dog and I have certainly learned important lessons about my partner by applying her principles and methods. I'm also fortunate to be able to call her a friend. No, I don't get anything from mentioning her book.

Read Culture Clash; if you're in the area, work with Dina; and you'll have all the tools you need to develop a great relationship with your dog. After that it is up to you and your willingness to devote 1 hour a day to giving your dog exercise, obedience training, and affection. (That's a Dina saying. :)

Matthew

Submitted by Anonymous | April 7 2010 |

I do not disagree with anyone on this list and what a wonderful list it is. There are some of the top people here and kudos to Bark for pointing them all out to the public. I am just wondering, where is Suzanne Clothier? She is one of the leading figures on canine assessments and relationship based training methods. Please consider her for next years list.

Submitted by pierre | August 19 2013 |

There are some of the top people here and kudos to Bark for pointing them all out to the public. I am just wondering, where is Suzanne Clothier? She is one of the leading figures on canine assessments and relationship based training methods. Please consider her for next years list.

http://binaereoptionen.webgarden.com/

Submitted by Laura | April 8 2010 |

But I have to agree...Where is Suzanne Clothier?? I hope she's considered next year!

I was relieved not to see Cesar Milan! Kudos to you for not including someone who uses a lot of controversial and harsh approaches.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 30 2010 |

Myrna Miliani is brilliant and it's about time we started to listen to what she has been writing (for years) about.

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