By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP, and Amanda Ott
Today on the blog, we’re excited to bring our readers a brand new column: Positive Dog Trainer Profiles. Over the years, we’ve been inspired by many amazing trainers like:
- Dr. Sophia Yin
- Turid Rugaas
- Victoria Stilwell
We’ve mentioned their names, linked to their articles, and cited their books throughout our blog. But, we feel as if each of them deserves a longer look at their influence, ideas, and impact in the dog training world.
For our inaugural article, we’ve chosen a trainer very near and dear to our hearts: Patricia McConnell. We’ll show how her personally influenced our training and then give a more general overview of her life, achievements, and philosophy. Without further delay – DogBoy’s Positive Trainer Profile #1: Patricia McConnell.
Patricia McConnell: Part Author, Part Scientist, All Positive Dog Trainer
McConnell holds a Doctorate in Animal Behavior, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and speaks at conferences across the globe. She once ran her own Wisconsin public radio program named Calling All Pets which dealt with common behavioral problems and her research into behavior. She also runs her own blog, and takes care of Border Collies to top it all off!
For those who don’t know, our trainer Jen actually studied under McConnell at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught a class there that integrated biology, behavior, and animal handling called “The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships.” If you have the time, check out one of her free lectures and speeches on YouTube!
- The Puppy Primer
- Love Has No Age Limit
- Family Friendly Dog Training
- The Cautious Canine
- Feisty Fido
- Way To Go
- I’ll Be Home Soon
- Feeling Outnumbered
- Play Together, Stay Together
- Leader Of The Pack
- Tales Of Two Species
- For The Love Of A Dog
Despite that already impressive publishing record, her crowning achievement was the landmark work The Other End of the Leash. This book has now been translated into thirteen different languages and continues to be one of the best books available on canine psychology.
It’s hard to summarize a contribution as large as McConnell’s, but if we could pinpoint her three biggest accomplishments in dog training they would be:
- Lending a hand in debunking dominance theory
- Explaining canine cognition in her book
- Proving that dogs have tangible emotions and feelings
These findings are pillars of modern dog training and every positive dog trainer owes a great deal to McConnell’s pioneering works.
How Patricia McConnell Has Influenced DogBoy’s Dog Ranch
If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you may remember that we attended an event at the AT&T Executive Conference Center in Austin where we saw Patricia McConnell speak in person. We’d admired her long before that talk, but it was amazing to watch her do her thing on stage.
Our training philosophy heavily draws from her message of having a collaborative relationship with dogs instead of a one-sided affair (cough, cough… unlike a certain whisperer we all know). She’s been on the forefront of bridging the understanding gap between owners and their dogs, a mission that we wholeheartedly support at DogBoy’s.
If you’re as interested in McConnell as DogBoy’s is, we highly recommend reading her latest book: The Education of Will, a memoir of her lifelong journey working with dogs and other animals. If you want to know more about how McConnell influenced our training, or just want to gush about her books, feel free to contact us today!
Patricia McConnell by Isthmus