6 Women Kicking Ass in the Dog World

Inspired by my friend John McGuigan (Glasgow Dog Trainer) and his recent post on sexism in the pet industry. I wanted to draw people’s attention to some women in the dog world that are doing incredible work.

All of those listed are a huge inspiration to myself and I’m sure many others. I’ve also had the honour of talking to many of them in my regular Dog Talk podcast and will insert links to the relevant episodes as we go.

Grisha Stewart1) Grisha Stewart

Grisha Stewart is best known as the author of Behaviour Adjustment Training (Amazon US). A book that revolutionised the way that we work with dogs that have social issues such as reactivity or aggression. Before Grisha’s book the world of dog rehabilitation was very much stuck in an outdated model of rigid counterconditioning training that didn’t fully embrace the dog’s natural behaviours.

Not only has Grisha pioneered behavioural rehabilitation she’s embraced empowerment training which gives the power back to the dogs. This enables us to build stronger relationships and achieve husbandry and training goals on a much higher level than previously.

Where you can find Grisha: 

Website: https://www.grishastewart.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/grishastewart1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grisha.stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/grishastewart

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grishastewart

Dog Talk Podcast: http://nickbenger.com/podcast-a-conversation-with-grisha-stewart/

Jemima Harrison

2) Jemima Harrison

In 2008 Jemima shocked and appalled the dog world with her BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed. The documentary revealed the horrendous health and welfare issues surrounding pedigree dogs.

After the documentary Jemima didn’t just move on, she did it all again three years later in a follow-up documentary and continues to blog on dog health issues to this day.

Even after the initial two documentaries and huge amount of blogging these breeding practises are still a huge problem. For the work Jemima continues to do despite continual abuse from those with their heads in the sand she commands great respect from me.

Where you can find Jemima: 

Jemima’s Blog: http://pedigreedogsexposed.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JemimaHarrison

Dog Talk Podcast: http://nickbenger.com/podcast-a-conversation-with-jemima-harrison/

Patricia McConnell

3) Patricia McConnell

I attended Patricia’s seminar when she visited my hometown of Bristol, England. The depth of knowledge she possessed was obvious and her talk was excellent. Patricia has to be one of the most experienced and well-informed people in the dog world.

McConnell is an author of several highly-commended books including For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend (Amazon US) and The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs (Amazon US) among many others. 

She is also the Adjunct Professor of Zoology at the University of Winsonsin-Madison and she has seen clients for severe behavioural problems since 1988. Pretty impressive!

Where you can find Patricia: 

Patricia’s Website & Blog: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PatriciaMcConnell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaMcConnellPhD

 

victoria stilwell

4) Victoria Stilwell

Victoria’s dominance has been so clear in the last few years. I almost didn’t include her in the list as she seemed too obvious. It would of been wrong to deny her the place though.

‘It’s Me or the Dog’ was one of the most popular dog training television series of all time. As a result Victoria has become one of the biggest advocates for positive dog training in the world and for that we owe her a lot. 

Through her blog posts, podcast and television projects Victoria is changing the world of dogs for the better. She’s done and is doing so much it’s hard to put it all into one short bio. I encourage you all to follow her work for yourselves. For those unfamiliar with her Victoria’s book Train Your Dog Positively (Amazon US) might be a good starting place. 

Where you can find Victoria: 

Website & Blog: https://positively.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/victoriastilwell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaStilwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaS

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/victoriastilwell

Risë VanFleet

5) Risë VanFleet

Risë brought empathetic listening and people skills to the dog world in a big way with her book The Human Half of Dog Training (Amazon US). She is known internationally for her work in Animal Assisted Play Therapy and gives regular seminars and workshops. Risë is also very active on a Facebook group which shares the same title as her book. It’s lovely that someone so respected and well-known takes so much time to answer the questions of readers and group members. 

Where you can find Risë

Website: https://www.risevanfleet.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/VanFleetPlayTherapy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlayfulPoochProgram

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HumanHalfDogTraining/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlayfulPoochOrg

Pam Mackinnon

6) Pam Mackinnon

Pam isn’t quite as much of a social media extrovert as some of the others on this list. Which makes her achievements easier to miss but they’re no less significant. An Ex-HM Customs and Excise drug detection dog handler; Pam is very experienced and knowledgeable.

Through her Talking Dogs Scentwork and Talking Dogs Rally workshops she’s brought both sports to hundreds of dogs that would never of otherwise experienced them. Pam has also wrote Talking Dogs Scentwork: The Manual (Amazon US) for those that can’t attend her workshops and if that wasn’t enough there are also the Scent 1: Learning to Sniff and Scent 2: Handling Skills DVDs. 

Where you can find Pam: 

Scentwork Website: http://www.talkingdogsscentwork.co.uk

Rally Website: http://www.talkingdogsrally.co.uk

Scentwork Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalkingDogsScentwork

Rally Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TalkingDogsRally

Scentwork Twitter: https://twitter.com/Scentworker

Rally Twitter: https://twitter.com/tdrally

Dog Talk Podcast: http://nickbenger.com/podcast-a-conversation-with-pam-mackinnon/

 

Further Reading: 

7 More Women Kicking Ass in the Dog World

48 thoughts on “6 Women Kicking Ass in the Dog World

  • September 3, 2016 at 9:57 pm
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    Don’t forget Leslie McDevitt . her book “Control Unleashed” turned my life around when I was struggling with a reactive dog. The first place to say it was not my fault. I then went n to read loads of other behaviour books and found Grisha Stewart not long after.

    Reply
    • September 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm
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      I haven’t read Leslie McDevitt’s book but have heard lots of good things. Good call Liz! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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      • September 4, 2016 at 6:28 am
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        Leslie McDevitts book is great. It’s a great read. You should check it out!

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        • September 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm
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          I definitely should. There are lots of people recommending it since I’ve posted this article!

          Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 12:17 am
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    Uh…Jean Donaldson…perhaps THE most influential woman in modern dog training.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 10:54 am
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      Excellent suggestion.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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      Perhaps, I would put Karen Pryor up there too. Both excellent.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 2:11 am
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    Don’t forget Hannah Brannigan and Denise Fenzi!!

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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      Hannah Brannigan is a new name for me but I like Denise Fenzi’s stuff! Good suggestions.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 2:26 am
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    Agreed~Leslie’s work is truly life changing for my students and their dogs…
    I use so many of these fantastic peoples’ work to help people and their dogs learn together. Thanks for the list~I’ll be reposting it to share with others!

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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      Hi Lynn, I would really appreciate that. I’ve heard many people speak highly of Leslie’s content. I will have to check it out.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 2:50 am
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    Nicole wilde saved and helped me through the training of aggressive behavior and also wolf training

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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      I love Nicole’s blog.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 3:18 am
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    I would also like to suggest Leslie McDevitt. I was desperate when I found her book Control Unleashed. I can’t begin to tell you how much she has encouraged me – and – given me advice/games that have worked for a reactive Border Terrier. Thanks to Leslie and help from other trainers our Amazing Gracie is now a Canine Good Citizen who participates in agility and walks with friends.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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      Wow! Well done Judy! That’s lovely to hear.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 5:42 am
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    I have started studying with Rise Van Fleet and can say that she personally embodies the spirit of lightness and humor so critical to the success of work in AAPT. Also, I agree, she is extremely kind and generous in helping others interested in the field.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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      It’s lovely to hear a personal experience. Thanks Rachelle. Good luck with your studying!

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 7:22 am
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    My list would include Kathy Sdao and Dr Susan Friedman – taking positive renforcement thinking to the next level. Think I’d also have Jean Donaldson in there too! Loved your bio…your emphasis on learning and the fact that you have changed your thinking. I also feel the R+ message is even more powerful from someone like yourself who used to believe in old fashioned methods but through education has realised these approaches don’t stack up.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm
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      I really appreciate that Kate, that’s so nice of you. I’ve heard really good things about both Susan and Kathy. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 7:55 am
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    I will add a second vote for Leslie McDevitt, the concepts in Controled Unleashed work really well with reactive border collies. It is a book I have referred loads of people to and everyone has got something out of it.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm
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      Thanks Karen. It seems like a hugely popular book.

      Reply
    • September 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm
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      I love the Tellington Touch harnesses. I’m planning to mention them in a future article.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    Karen pryor, kay laurence, Helen Philips, Emily Larlham (kikopup) to name a few more

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm
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      Excellent suggestions!

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 9:58 am
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    Nice one Nick, there are so many more great women who really rocked the animal training world…what about Karen Pryor? Or the wonderful videos from Kikopup a.k.a Emily Larlham…or Jean Donaldson and there are many more 😉 Maybe do a list of the 25 Women Kicking Ass…..?

    Reply
    • September 4, 2016 at 1:45 pm
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      Hey Natalia, I love that idea. Maybe I could do a larger list based on readers comments?

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm
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    Karen Pryor, Emma Parsons (Click to Calm), Leslie McDevitt, Pat Miller.

    Reply
    • September 4, 2016 at 1:45 pm
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      Great suggestions Lisa.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 1:50 pm
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    The list is way too short- Suzanne Clothier, Sophia Yin, Nicole Wilde, Jean Donaldson and I could go on and on. But the largest omission is Karen Pryor.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm
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      Hey Dan, I agree! It is way too short, I love all of your suggestions. I just chose a few of my favourites, I’m really enjoying hearing all of yours.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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    Oh yes, I want to have added:
    Leslie McDevitt
    Pat Miller
    Karen Pryor
    Emma Parsons
    Pamela Johnson
    Emily Larlham
    Dr. Susan Friedman
    Dr. Sophia Yin (RIP)
    Kyra Sundance
    Denise Fenzi and any of the instructors at the Fenzi Academy.
    Alison Brown
    Suzanne Clothier
    Silvia Trkman
    Donna Hill
    Nicole Wilde
    Kathy Sdao

    Let me know if you need more info on any of these AMAZING women.

    Reply
    • September 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm
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      Wow! Great suggestions Tasha. I may write a follow up article and I will be sure to include some of those names next time around.

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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    Kay Laurence and Kathy Sdao would be on my list.

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    • September 4, 2016 at 4:26 pm
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      Both very respectable additions!

      Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 5:08 pm
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    Good to see Dr Yin mentioned already. She continues to “kick ass” through all she had already achieved and those she continues to inspire; she lives on through that and, hopefully, has inadvertantly raised awareness that even the most brilliant, talented and inspiring individuals can be hurting inside x

    Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm
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    Camille Ward, of About Dogs, LLC, Ann Arbor, MI, is a godsend. She’s done some important research on dog behavior at the Univ. of Michigan. She’s responsible for strengthening the relationships between countless dogs and their human guardians, greatly enhancing the quality of life both.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2016 at 5:48 pm
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    Let’s not forget Susan Garrett!

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    • September 5, 2016 at 10:49 am
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      Yes, Susan’s “Crate Games” and “Recallers” have changed many dogs’ lives.

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  • September 5, 2016 at 10:48 am
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    Sdao, Friedman, etc. – wonderful! BUT, and it’s a big but…
    No Jean Donaldson, who is leading the movement toward competency in dog training with her Academy for Dog Trainers and her now famous “three questions” to ask a trainer before hiring them? No Niki Tudge, who forged a completely new international force free pet professional organization, Pet Professional Guild, as well as an independently tested credential that REQUIRES trainers to reject choke, prong, and shock collars? No Emily Larlham, who brought positive dog training to so many via her free online videos on Kikopup channel? No Donna Hill, who is meeting an emerging need that is too often insufficiently met, by providing quality online instruction to those who want to train a service dog themselves or become professional service dog trainers? No Dr. Yin, gone too soon, but, still, such a pioneering force in the movement for low stress handling in the veterinary milieu?
    In my opinion, you’ve left out some very important women, so either your research is lightweight or you needed to increase your number from 6 to…whatever.

    Reply
    • September 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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      Hi Anne,
      This is not supposed to be an exhaustive list. These are women that inspire me, I’ve invited others to create their own lists and I will likely write a follow-up article covering those that are most mentioned. I love your passion and the reasons you put forth for the women on your list. I’m sure many of them will feature in a future article.

      Nick

      Reply
  • September 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm
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    Turid Rugaas – Her book Calming Signals really helped me understand my dogs body language

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    • September 5, 2016 at 2:21 pm
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      Turid’s books are great. I’ve mentioned them in my most recent article on dog harnesses.

      Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 1:53 am
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    Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels have been pivotal to so many pet owners, competitors and service dog trainers that she definitely is worthy of a mention here. I would also add Dr. Karen Overall. The Protocol for Relaxation she developed puts her right up there on my list as well.

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    • September 6, 2016 at 9:10 am
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      I’ll be sure to check those out. Thanks Amy.

      Reply
  • September 24, 2016 at 12:42 am
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    Hey Nick,

    Love both your lists. I would also recommend Dr. Susan Friedman. I attended one of her seminars and it changed my views on several things.

    Although she doesn’t consider herself a professional trainer, Eileen Anderson is awesome. I consider her the top blogger in the world of dog training.

    Reply
    • October 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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      Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. The second list was based on the people that were ‘most commented’. I believe Susan Friedman came close to making the list but didn’t quite get commented enough. I hear very good things about her seminars though and would love to attend one when I get the chance.

      I must admit I haven’t read much of Eileen’s blog but we’ve spoken briefly on Facebook and she seems like a very nice person. Another one I must check out!

      Reply

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