The Academy Experience

"The Academy for Dog Trainers changed my life. I have never encountered a teacher like Jean Donaldson. The best I have ever witnessed. Not only does she teach us how to effectively apply reward-based methods for teaching dogs, she teaches her students the very same way, creating a learning environment unlike anything we've ever experienced before.

Jean opened my eyes to see dogs and all they are capable of doing. Training dogs does not have to be a power struggle and when it's not, wow, is it a whole lot more fun for both us and them. And the results you achieve are fantastically rewarding.

Now I have a fulfilling career doing what I love. I have a network of colleagues and an alma-mater I can continue to count on if I ever get stuck. The Academy for Dog Trainers provided me opportunity that I will forever treasure!"

Jody Karow, CTC
Founder - DogSense Unleashed

"It is difficult to overemphasize the quality of the program, value of Jean's tutelage and cogency of her instruction. The Academy has rendered me a competent dog trainer, but more importantly, it has developed my critical thinking skills while fostering the highest level of professional and ethical standards in me. Jean has shown me what it truly means to be an educator; she is the type of teacher I aspire to be."

Kelly Cottrell, CTC
Supervisor of Behavior and Training
Louisiana SPCA

"If it weren't for brilliant, inspirational tutelage of Jean Donaldson, Aishe and I would probably be working in miserable 9-5 jobs; instead we are living our dream jobs, doing work we love, and enhancing the lives of our canine and human community.

Jean is the rock-star of the dog training world. She taught us everything we know about humane-based dog training principles. We graduated with a sense of purpose that neither of us has ever felt before. Jean showed us how important education and prevention is to saving dog's lives. If pup and parent could start off on the right paw from the get-go, with scientific learning principles at their ready, the relationship is far more likely to succeed. This led to SF Puppy Prep - a center to support and educate puppies and their sweet, but frazzled parents. We are now 6 and 1/2 years out, and we see evidence every day that what we've learned from Jean Donaldson has manifested in hundreds of well socialized, happy puppies, fewer dogs ending up in shelters with behavioral issues, and smarter, more sensitive humans.

If you ever get a chance to hear Jean speak, you will understand why we are 'star-struck.' And if you haven't read her acclaimed book, The Culture Clash, get thee to the bookstore ASAP and pick it up! When the Academy left the SF/SPCA, we could hear all the eager students on the wait-list for enrollment moan in despair. Now that Jean has decided to re-invent it, those same folks will be dancing for joy.

A great teacher can change your life. Great teachers are few and far between. Jean Donaldson rocked our world and then gave us the tools, knowledge, and belief in ourselves, to build a better one. She has taught us how to be the kind of people our dogs think we are."

Stephanie Miller
Owner - SF Puppy Prep

"When I was accepted into The Academy for Dog Trainers, I had no idea just how much the quality of the education I would receive would bypass my expectations. I expected to learn better mechanics and become a more efficient trainer. I did not expect the depth of material and even now, as a grad, find myself completely blown away at the comprehensiveness of the program and the access that we continue to have to the best in the business: Jean Donaldson.

Studying under Jean with my fellow students has stretched me as both a dog trainer and as a person. I put a lot of hard work, brainpower and hands-on time with dogs to graduate from The Academy and it is, by far, one of my greatest accomplishments and one of the things I am most proud of. I am in excellent company as a grad and lucky enough to call friends the game-changers I've met in The Academy: people who are improving the lives of dogs all over the world every single day. "

Lori Nanan, CTC, CPDT-KA
Owner - La Dolce Doggie, New Hope PA
Co-founder - Your Pit Bull and You

"It is easy to get completely overwhelmed by all the dog training "experts" out there all spouting their "surefire way" to train a dog. But Jean only approaches her teachings from a science-based, completely humane perspective. From learning theory and classroom preparation to ethics to step-by-step instructions on how to teach and motivate a dog to behave, Jean completely answered the questions about how and why a dog can and should be treated humanely in every way. The focus was also not solely on teaching dogs the basics. There was intensive work on treating aggression, separation anxiety, and fear.

If you are serious about becoming a professional dog trainer, and you are dedicated to treating dogs humanely, you should do whatever you can to study with Jean."

Jeff Millman
Chicago Paws, Chicago, IL
Watch and Train, LLC

"The Academy for Dog Trainers is a rigorous academic program that ensures students graduate with a breadth of knowledge about dog behavior, the science behind training, and client coaching. From the moment I began the program, I was struck by the quality of materials and in-depth discussion among fellow students that mirrored and rivaled my experiences in graduate school in a traditional university setting. Jean's mentoring challenged me not just to learn the information, but integrate it and perform it at a competent level. Since graduating I have found the follow-up support of Jean and my colleagues, and the continuing educational opportunities the Academy provides, invaluable. Although the program is online by nature, the level of communication and collaboration among students is superb. The Academy is ideal for individuals who want to be challenged, to think critically and scientifically, and who want to provide a level of competence that is so needed in this profession."

Maureen Backman, MS, CTC
Owner - Mutt About Town
Founder - The Muzzle Up! Project
"Trust. Love. Science. It works."

"Joining the Academy was the beginning of a journey that has taught me many things. What started out as a course to improve my dog training skills turned into an adventure trip that allowed me to discover - and become part of - the future of modern dog training. Be it the science of animal learning and behaviour, hands-on training and problem solutions or client counselling and business advice, Jean's challenging and comprehensive program covers it all. Being a good dog trainer requires a lot more than just having a love for dogs and this is where I found it. The continuous education and critical back-and-forths through webinars and discussion forums provide a never ending source of knowledge and inspiration. Added to this is the tremendously supportive and welcoming group of people from all walks of life who share their passion for dogs, science and ethics. The high-level material, support and ongoing professional development makes the Academy the perfect place to learn about training dogs intelligently and respectfully, developing better and more efficient relationships with clients and building a truly professional career. And all of this while having a lot of fun."

Sylvie Martin, CTC
Owner - Crosspaws, Doggedly Positive Dog Training
Victoria, Australia

"How to help dogs? That was the question. The Academy was my best and only answer. The rigorous curriculum provides the very best applied science, and the Academy is also a singular forum for exchanging ideas with a lot of very smart people. There is nothing like it anywhere else. And yes, because of The Academy, I have helped many dogs to be safe and happy."

Glenn Pierce
Owner - PowerPuppy Dog Training
Altamont, NY

"The education and support I received at The Academy under Jean Donaldson's direction was by far the single greatest investment I've ever made in my future as a dog training professional. Not only did I learn about how dogs learn, but I myself was humanely trained to educate my human students with positive reinforcement. Not only is Jean a fantastic teacher of dogs, she stands alone as one of the most HUMANE people educators I've ever had the privilege of studying under. She sincerely talks the talk of positive reinforcement, but also walks the walk."

Denise Herman, CTC
Owner, Empire of the Dog
New York, NY and Baltimore, MD

"Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers gave us the foundation to successfully launch full-time, careers as dog training and behavior consultants. Her forthright, honest and humane approach to dogs, training and behavior issues is accurate, effective and refreshing! Jean Donaldson is one of the most influential educators for dog trainers and owners. The Academy's modern, science-based program thoroughly prepared us with a well-rounded education, including an incredible understanding of how dogs learn and behave, a technical proficiency in training dogs as well as the people skills and business skills required to run a successful business. If you are considering a career as a dog behavior consultant, Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers is without a doubt the very best choice."

Drayton Michaels, CTC
Vyolet Michaels, CTC

"In 1999 I was a corporate hack, going through the daily grind. Eventually I got sick of it and decided that life was too short to not follow my passion. Dog training was it for me; I always found myself enrolled in one class or another. I decided to put my fears aside and look for the best dog trainer program I could find. My research continually led me back to The Academy for Dog Trainers.The curriculum was developed and taught by Jean Donaldson; it was rooted in science, based on the psychology of learning and the evolutionary processes that explain behavior. I was given all of the tools I needed to face even the most complex behavior cases.I jumped in with both feet, got the education of a lifetime, became a dog trainer and never looked back. If I can do it, you can do it."

Wendy Van Kerkhove
Owner, Fresh Air Dog Training
Minneapolis, Minnesota

"I credit much of my growth and subsequent success in the field of animal behavior and training to the comprehensive education I received in Academy with Jean Donaldson. As a marine mammal trainer trying to shift into the field of domestic dog training, attending the Academy was one of the best career decisions I made and allowed me to make the transition successfully. The Academy provides a thorough, scientifically sound education that is vital for trainers just entering the field or those wishing to broaden their scope and further their skills. Graduates of The Academy develop into trainers and behavior counselors with efficient skills for training fluent behaviors, resolving behavior problems, and coaching clients. As the Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, I seek to hire trainers with the level of expertise and education provided by Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers. Furthermore, I credit the success of the Humane Society's shelter behavior modification program to the experience and instruction I received in Academy and I am enormously pleased this program continues to save the lives of many shelter dogs here in Boulder."

Lindsay Wood, MA, CTC
Director of Animal Training and Behavior
Humane Society of Boulder Valley

"One cannot hope to capture what it is like to be Jean Donaldson's student in a few short lines but here is an attempt. Imagine being taught by someone who can emphasize with each learner, treat each question as if it were the first time she had ever heard it, create an atmosphere of respect, warmth and academic integrity while offering instruction which is firmly based in science in a field which is littered with myths. Even Jean's exam questions are a delight. Well-written, challenging even for the very best of her students while giving a fair chance of success to anyone who really dug into the material. The test questions demanded that we actually think about what we learned in order to answer them. Some instructors are bright. Others know how to teach. And there are those who can entertain. Jean combines all of these qualities and is effective with at least two species - maybe more!"

Diane Podolsky, CTC
The Cultured Canine

"On top of the course modules, video demonstrations, weekly webinars, and detailed training technique coaching is the highest-level, most active and most supportive discussion forums network I have ever seen. Jean is there for her students and grads. The Academy sets a new, very, very high standard for dog training professionals. It is like The Navy Seals for dog trainers!"

Sandi Thompson, CPDT
APDT Trainer of the Year
Founder - BRAVO!PUP Dog Training
Bay Area, CA