Dog Behavior Conference


2024 Dog Behavior Conference

Join dog trainers, behavior geeks and pet pros from around the world on April 19-21, 2024 for the most anticipated and dynamic interactive online event of the year – the Dog Behavior Conference.

Featuring a world-class roster of elite presenters covering topics ranging from training and behavior to rescue/shelter work and the latest in behavioral and cognitive science, the Dog Behavior Conference (DBC) is a 3-day virtual event designed specifically for attendees seeking an inspirational learning experience and the opportunity to connect with and be inspired alongside a uniquely like-minded audience of dog lovers.

$139 for all 3 days

(approx £110)


Friday April 19:

  • 10:00 AM    Welcome
  • 10:30 AM    SARAH FISHER:  Movement Matters. Movement as a Foundation for All Behaviour
  • 1:10 PM       MICHAEL SHIKASHIO:  Hostility in the Home: Dog Aggression Directed at Family or Visitors
  • 3:30 PM       MARTY & MIKKEL BECKER: Looking After the Emotional Wellbeing of Pets: How to take the ‘Pet’ Out of Petrified and put the ‘Treat’ into Treatment
  • 5:30 PM       STEVE DALE:  Dogs Weren’t Bred to Be Couch Potatoes: Why We Must Enrich our Dogs’ Lives

Saturday April 20:

  • 10:00 AM    Welcome
  • 10:15 AM    ROBERT HEWINGS:  Scent & Emotions for Pet Professionals: Creating the Feel-Good Factor for Dogs
  • 12:20 PM     DANIEL MILLS:  Suspected Pain and Behaviour: What to look out for and what trainers should (and shouldn’t) tell the vet!
  • 2:40 PM       VICTORIA STILWELL:  Using BRAVE Strategies to Help Every Dog Navigate a Challenging World
  • 5:00 PM       IRITH BLOOM:  Give Them a Choice! How and Why Giving Dogs’ Choice Improves Behavior

Sunday April 21:

  • 10:00 AM    Welcome
  • 10:15 AM    JO PAY:  The Thrill of the Chase! Understanding Why Dogs Chase (and what you can do about it)
  • 12:20 PM     SARAH HEATH:  What Is Comprehensive Healthcare? Understanding the links between ‘mind and body’ in our canine patients
  • 2:30 PM       ANDREW HALE:  Bringing C.A.K.E to Dog Training: Moving Towards a More Care Orientated Way of Training
  • 5:00 PM       LISA & BRAD WAGGONER:  Revitalizing your Relationship with Rocket Recall Training

*Live Q&A (15-30 minutes) will follow each presentation


How Attendees Describe the DBC Experience:

DBC Attendee Comments

Click here to see full presentation descriptions

The Ultimate Dog Geek Event of the Year

Following 7 sold-out years of in-person conferences held throughout the UK, due to the global pandemic, in early 2020 the seventh annual DBC was shifted to an online conference with overwhelming success, providing thousands of attendees from around the world the opportunity to take advantage of the unique and powerful nature of the DBC experience.

Due to the success of the move online from 2020-2023 and based on the public’s rave response to the communal nature of the virtual experience, in 2024 the eleventh annual DBC will once again be accessible to all as a global online event.

Expand your knowledge, re-charge your passion, connect with like-minded dog people, learn how science impacts real-world training, and renew your dedication and inspiration to helping provide the best possible life for dogs and the people who love them.

Attendees of the 3-day online event will receive full entry to stream all of its live presentations, downloadable PDF resources, exclusive access to special promotions, and access to video recordings of each presentation from the conference.

Seats are limited, so don’t delay in registering for the online conference now to ensure you have a spot at this industry-leading annual event!

$139 for all 3 days

(approx £110)

2024 DBC Presentations

Marty & Mikkel Becker

Marty & Mikkel Becker

Founder of Fear Free, renowned veterinarian, certified dog trainer

Looking After the Emotional Wellbeing of Pets: How to take the ‘Pet Out of Petrified’ and put the ‘Treat into Treatment’
Fear is the worst thing a social species can experience, and it causes permanent damage to the brain. Behavior produces a physiologic response, so behavior is medicine; This points to the fact that to be optimally healthy, we must look at both a dog’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

For decades we were told that a) animals didn’t feel pain like humans, and b) to describe pets as having emotions was just anthropomorphizing their consciousness. What we pet lovers formerly intuited has now been scientifically proven. Pets feel pain and have a wide variety of emotions. 

If fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) is left unchecked during a visit to the veterinarian, trainer or groomer, the dog feels like they’re going to be harmed or even killed, and injuries to both dogs and people soar because of fear-based aggression.

Additionally concerning is the fact that when people see their pet with FAS, they feel that they are allowing their beloved pet to be harmed, when it reality, they’d do almost anything to make their dog happy, healthy and enriched. Dogs are like a human toddler:

  • They are taken against their will for healthcare (some call it hell-care).
  • The dog has zero understanding of why a veterinary visit, training or grooming benefits him/her.
  • Dogs don’t have the same concept of time as humans. For example, we know how long certain procedures take, and how long the high FAS inducing parts of visit last (for example, less than 10 seconds for the vaccine injection). Dog’s know something unpleasant will be over, even if it’s moments away.
  • Dogs can’t flee the threat. Humans can see a needle and run. Dog’s can’t. They’re held against their will. 

In this presentation you will learn:

  • How to recognize the most common signs of FAS in dogs
  • A knowledge of the most common FAS triggers in dogs and how to reduce or eliminate them
  • What to do when FAS levels soar to help calm a dog and be able to do a procedure
  • An understanding common sedation protocols used by veterinarians for client’s pets visits to the vet, groomer, travel or trainer
  • The synergies of a Fear Free healthcare team

Irith Bloom

Certified VSPDT trainer, dog behavior expert, founder of The Sophisticated Dog, VSA Faculty

Give Them a Choice! How (and Why) Giving Dogs Options Improves Behavior
Most dogs have little choice and control in their daily lives. This causes them stress, which can lead to problem behavior as well as stress-related ailments. In other words, while it may sound paradoxical, over-controlling your dog’s life can make your dog harder to live with (and less healthy, too).

Join Irith Bloom to learn how (and why) providing choice to your dog can actually improve behavior. She will explain the science behind the use of choice in animal training, discuss training techniques that increase choice for dogs, and give you tips for creating a choice-rich life that works for both you and your dog.

After this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the benefits of adding choice to pets’ lives
  • Identify areas where choice can be added
  • Create a choice-rich training plan
Steve Dale

Steve Dale

Author, broadcaster, dog behavior expert

Dogs Weren’t Bred to Be Couch Potatoes: Why We Must Enrich our Dogs’ Lives
All dogs need a job, but unfortunately the canine unemployment rate is sky-rocketing. They may be man’s best friends, but good zoos do more to enrich the lives of polar bears and chimpanzees than we do companion animals. As a result, obesity and boredom may lead to physiological and psychological problems, and can damage the human/animal bond, even leading to relinquishment. Sometimes enrichment choices may be dependent on what a dog was originally bred for. 

In this presentation, Steve will discuss the concept of contrafreeloading, and how we typically feed our dogs (which may be all wrong). Enrichment ideas will be shared that are easy and fun for clients to implement, including ‘brain games’ and using the most powerful canine tool of all, their sense of smell. Enrichment also appears to be a powerful way to support maintaining brain health and may even delay and/or alter the onset of cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

In this presentation attendees will learn:

  • Why enrichment is not only important but necessary for all dogs.
  • How enrichment and thinking through life might even prevent or delay the onset of canine dysfunction syndrome.
  • How enrichment may help to treat or even prevent behavior problems.
  • What contrafreeloading is.

Sarah Fisher 

Animal Centred Education founder, T-touch practitioner and behaviour counselor, VSA Faculty

Movement as the Foundation for all Behaviour
Without movement, both voluntary and involuntary, life doesn’t exist.

Movement is crucial for learning and development; spontaneous movements in developing animals play an important role in helping to strengthen the sensorimotor system. Movement enables a growing puppy to gain increasing control over their body and helps to strengthen important connections in every part of their glorious make-up. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of movement for enhanced learning in all beings.

As well as the more obvious movement we may see or feel in our four legged friends such as the rise and fall of the rib cage and abdomen with every breath, nose twitches, the beating of their heart, and changes in posture and organisation of the body when resting, eating and drinking, as well as on the move, there is constant dialogue throughout and between every part of a dog’s internal systems. The speed, duration and type of dialogue will be influenced by many factors. Every amazing, incredible part of a dog is involved in a synergetic dynamic process, filtering, assimilating, banking, and responding to information and sensations from their external and internal environment; a unique internal dance is happening every second of every day.

Every dog has their own movement story. Learning more about a dog’s movement story can deepen your understanding of the canine in your care and answer questions you didn’t know you’d asked.

This presentation will include:

  • ACE Observations to learn more about a dog’s movement story
  • The value of rethinking exercise, and the power of play
  • Sensory learning to help strengthen functional development of the sensory systems
  • Food for thought, mood and movement
  • Connections between pain, emotions and movement
  • The important role of open-ended movement patterns
  • Potential pitfalls of task/outcome focused training and limiting movement through management strategies such as crate training
  • Shaping ACE Free Work experiences to support learning, and the development of more efficient movement patterns
  • Tips and techniques that enhance more fluid movement in the caregiver to enable dogs to ‘find the flow’ at liberty and on the lead

Andrew Hale

Certified Animal Behaviourist, owner of Train Positive, and founding member of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter

Bringing CAKE to dog training
In this presentation Andrew will share his C.A.K.E acronym and why it is important when looking to move towards a more care orientated way of training. C.A.K.E stands for Compassion, Awareness, Knowledge and Empathy and Andrew will take us through each of these words and highlight why they are so important if we are turning up to influence, or change, the behaviour of another sentient being. Andrew will invite the listener to consider these words in a very deep and personal way, and examine their own relationship with things that are heavily related, such as judgment, consequences, behaviour and training itself.

C.A.K.E helps to create more empathetic and supportive relationships, not just with the dogs we work with but also with their caregivers, our peers and importantly with ourselves.

After this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Examine the difference between a task orientated and a care orientate approach to training 
  • Understand more about each of the words that make up C.A.K.E – Compassion, Awareness, knowledge and Empathy – and why they are all important in supporting that move to a care approach 
  • To understand some of the psychology behind judgements and expectations, and how both of these can sometimes hinder us making progress with our dogs 
  • To learn more about the role of belief and value systems in shaping our perception of the world around us, and how they can drive our responses to the behaviour of others 
  • To learn more about what might be limiting a client’s ability to move away from a compliance-based method and how we might support them to take a different approach

Sarah Heath

Renowned veterinary behaviourist, VSA Faculty

What is comprehensive healthcare? Understanding the links between “mind and body” in our canine patients
In human medicine a biopsychosocial approach is not only considered in the context of chronic pain management but also in a range of medical disciplines including dermatology, gastroenterology and endocrinology. Until relatively recently physical health has been the overwhelming emphasis within the field of veterinary care and often consideration of how emotional health influences it has been overlooked.

Things are changing and the field of veterinary behavioural medicine considers the health of canine patients in a more comprehensive manner. Behavioural change is often the reason for investigation of a dog’s emotional health but in this presentation a range of physical health concerns will be considered which can be indicators that emotional health of an individual is compromised.  Canine health will be viewed from the perspective of the health triad and the range of ways in which physical health can be impacted by compromised emotional health will be considered.

In addition to discussing how emotional factors can influence the presentation of physical health concerns in dogs the session will also explore how successful treatment can be hindered if these factors are not considered.

The complex relationship between gastrointestinal and emotional health will be explored and the influence of emotional health on skin disease in dogs will also be considered. It is commonly acknowledged in humans that stress is detrimental to immune function and people recognise that they are more susceptible to viruses, such as the common cold, when they are stressed.

The implications of compromised immune function can extend beyond risk of bacterial and viral infection and this will be discussed in relation to canine health. Weight management is another aspect of physical health which can be impacted by emotional compromise and this will also be considered.

After this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the interplay between physical, emotional and cognitive health in dogs
  • Consider the importance of appropriate emotional health and development in relation to the physical health of an individual
  • Appreciate the impact of chronic physiological stress and the range of potential physical health consequences
  • Appreciate the limitations of physical health treatment and management if emotional factors are not considered
Darris Cooper

Robert Hewings

BSc. MA. D/Prof.   Head of School The College of Scent Dogs Ltd.

Scent & Emotions for pet professionals, ‘Creating the feel-good factor’
Scent work, which was so often the preserve of the specialist, is now gaining popularity in the professional pet world due to its numerous benefits. Incorporating the ‘Christmas Emotion’ (The Seeking System) into your training can be highly effective. The main question we need to ask ourselves is how we can create a safe and welcoming environment for our dogs to learn in. It’s important to note that the seeking system isn’t just about ‘The Gun-Oil’ or other scents that we train our dogs to detect.

After this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the advantages of the Seeking System
  • Incorporate this behaviour into your training programme
  • Encourage others to address this aspect of the ‘Five Freedoms’ by providing the required mental stimulation
  • List the enhancing factors that the ’search behaviour’ will present
  • Demonstrate how this may be introduced into the real world
Rachel Bean

Daniel Mills

BVSc PhD CBiol FRSB FHEA CCAB Dip ECAWBM(BM) FRCVS, RCVS and EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine

Suspected pain and behaviour: What to look out for and what trainers should and shouldn’t tell the vet!
Problem behaviour can range from specific emotional disturbances such as anxiety and frustration problems to the failure of an animal to respond as expected to a training programme. In the latter case, the answer is often not to double-down on the training (and certainly to be tempted to use aversives to compel the dog to obey), but rather to stop, reflect and consider the potential role that pain and/or discomfort might play in the problem. Dogs generally work hard to please us and so when they do not fit in, appear to be disobedient or underperform then the reason is typically because they do not know what is required of them or that what is required is too difficult for them to do.

Psychological barriers to doing what is wanted include not only emotional states like anxiety holding the dog back, but also (and in our experience very often), undiagnosed pain or discomfort. Pain or the prediction of pain by a dog may make moving or doing certain acts unappealing without a strong incentive. Dogs may protest at attempts to make them comply by simply being reluctant or by showing aggressive displays. Although dog in pain can be trained not to show that pain and to comply with the requests of a trainer, this does not stop it being uncomfortable, or the associated risks with persisting with a request.  An uncomfortable dog may appear to be slower to learn the training exercise, need a larger than normal incentive or show an unreliable response even with a large incentive. All of these should be noted and concerns raised with the owner’s veterinarian.

In many countries, veterinarians are the only individuals legally allowed to make a medical diagnosis concerning someone else’s animal. Although there is greater awareness within the profession of the importance of controlling pain, teaching on this topic typically focuses on pain in relation to specific medical conditions, rather than the sort of chronic or fluctuating pain associated with many problem behaviours. So, what can the trainer do when faced with a dog who they are concerned might be in pain?

Non-veterinarians can express their concerns in terms of physical descriptions of signs of concern, but they should not relate this to a specific condition. Thus, it is fine to say that a dog has an unusual gait (and helpful to provide footage of this), also that the dog resents movement of one of his hips, but non-veterinarians should avoid statements like “I think he has hip dysplasia”, since this is an inference drawn from the signs and this is what is often protected in law. It can also be unhelpful as it may lead a vet to simply focus on this condition and potentially rule it out, when actually the problem may be elsewhere, e.g. myofascial pain or a lumbar spinal lesion. Thus it is much more helpful to gather evidence of discomfort to help a vet than to try to dictate to them.

In this presentation Daniel will highlight many signs to be aware of and which can be documented to help trainers and vets work together in order to maximise the well-being of the dogs with whom they work.

Key Learning Points

  • Many forms of pain and discomfort are implicated in problem behaviour and discomfort is commonly implicated in a wide range of problem behaviours, not just aggressive behaviour.
  • outcomes, so if these are not met (i.e. the dog fails to make the expected progress) then pain should be suspected.
  • In many countries only a veterinarian can make a medical diagnosis, but non-veterinarians  can raise concerns about how comfortable they think an animal may be and provide observational data (e.g. gait footage) to support these concerns.
  • Training an animal should have predictable Just because an animal has been seen by a vet and there is no overt pain apparent, that does not mean the animal is free of discomfort. In these circumstances input from a  veterinary behaviourist may be helpful
Jo Pay

Jo Pay

Dog behavior expert, trainer on Channel 4’s The Dog Academy

The Thrill of the Chase! Understanding Why Dogs Chase (and What You Can Do About It)
Does your dog, or your clients’ dogs struggle to cope when they are around things that move quickly? It could be traffic of varying sizes, bicycles, joggers, other dogs or even birds that trigger a reaction in dogs.

In Jo’s behaviour practice she regularly works with dogs that lunge towards traffic or joggers, they may bark and sound like they are screaming, they spin on their leads, jump up and grab on the arms of their handlers, rag on the lead, redirect bites onto the legs of their handlers; they may lay down and crawl or eye stalk fast moving dogs or joggers.

This can make walking stressful and dangerous, for the dog, for you and also for other users of roads and footpaths. Join Jo as she takes you through her tried and tested methods, designed by her to help owners of dogs who cannot walk safely around things that move quickly.

At the end of this presentation, you will have the bones of a training plan that you can take out and work through with your own dog, or your client dogs.

Attendees will learn:

  • A better understanding of why dogs chase
  • Management and why it is so important
  • Training methods for dogs who chase
  • How to monitor progress and support clients during the training process
  • The skills to put together a training plan for clients
Michael Shikashio

Michael Shikashio

Dog behavior expert

Hostility in the Home: Dog Aggression Directed at Family or Visitors
Have you recently introduced a new dog to your family, only to witness unexpected aggression directed towards your partner or visitors? Or, has your long-time companion suddenly displayed hostility towards a family member you live with? Perhaps you’ve observed your dog reacting aggressively when you and your partner express affection or approach each other. Maybe your dog just doesn’t want anyone in the home except you?!

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, then this presentation will be tailored to address your concerns! Join Michael Shikashio CDBC as he delves into the underlying reasons behind this often puzzling and stressful type of aggression. In addition to shedding light on the root causes, Mike will provide valuable insights into effective management and behavior change strategies suitable for situations where dogs and humans share living spaces, whether around the clock, or for just a few minutes while visiting!

After this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the causes of aggression in the home environment.
  • Learn practical and applicable strategies for managing situations where dogs and humans share living spaces, whether on a full-time basis or during short visits.
  • Explore proactive approaches to modify and reshape the dog’s behavior, fostering a harmonious relationship between the canine and human members of the household.

Victoria Stilwell

Dog behaviour expert, creator of It’s Me or the Dog, founder of VSPDT, Editor-in-Chief of and the founder/president of the Victoria Stilwell Academy

BRAVE – Coping Strategies for Every Dog
Does your dog sometimes feel overwhelmed in certain situations? Would you like to learn effective coping strategies to help you and your dog navigate these situations successfully? If you answered yes to these questions, it’s time to get BRAVE!

BRAVE is a collection of courses on that explore a new way of thinking about your dog’s life experience. I will show you how can you apply BRAVE elements into the life you lead with your own dog or dogs you work with.    

Working through real world case examples, you will discover how each element of BRAVE reinforces the bond you have with your dog, while giving you a clearer understanding of what your dog or the dogs you are working with, need to be successful.

This presentation will help you:

  • Discover how each element of BRAVE reinforces the bond you have with your dog and makes time together more enjoyable
  • Learn how your dog can be and feel safe using prevention, enrichment, and life skills solutions
  • Explore how “reading” your dog and having a real “two way conversation” together makes it easier to communicate and understand each other
  • Benefit from a toolkit of coping techniques for you and your dog that are easy to use even when you have a busy schedule juggling other responsibilities
  • Empower your dog with our profound techniques to enhance psychological wellness and team cooperation
  • Reduce challenging behaviors and make it easier for your dog to bounce back when life gets too overwhelming
Brad & Lisa Waggoner

Lisa & Brad Waggoner

Dog behavior experts, author, VSA Faculty, owners of Cold Nose College

Revitalizing Your Relationship with Rocket Recall™ Training
Sure, it’s a thrill to see your dog turn and race toward you when you call, but the more profound value of The Original Rocket Recall™ training is that it creates a bond of trust and affection with the dog in front of you. 

Whether you’re a professional dog trainer, a shelter or rescue worker, or a pet parent, using the systematic and progressive focus and attention games, combined with the Rocket Recall™ training games, will strengthen your relationship with your dog, enhance the quality of life for each of you and, most importantly, build trust. With trust, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. 

After this presentation, you’ll learn:

  • How to build fabulous focus and attention as a foundation for Rocket Recall™
  • The Check-In Game, Name Game, and Chase Me Game—fun ways to develop your dog’s attention and yearning to come to you
  • Why you need a reinforcement hierarchy
  • Strategies for recall success in highly challenging environments
  • Ways to avoid—and undo—the common mistakes that undermine a reliable recall

$139 for all 3 days

(approx £110)

Dog Behavior Conference Key Facts

  • This conference is approved for 18-20 CEUs from IAABC, CCPDT, PPAB and VSA.
  • Registration fee is $139 – or approx £110 and grants access to all conference presentations on all days of the event.
  • Single-day registrations are not available.
  • Access will be available to re-watch all presentations via recordings.
  • Group registrations not available – must be purchased separately.
  • The registration fee will be charged to your credit/debit card account as ‘DBC’ or ‘DogConference’.
  • Conference is held only online – there is no in-person version of the event.
  • Registrants will receive a digital certificate of attendance after the event.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  Will it be recorded?
Yes. All presentations and live Q&A’s will be recorded and access to all recordings will be available to each registrant for 12 months to watch as much as they would like.

Q:  Will I get CEU’s?
Yes. The Dog Behavior Conference is approved for 18-20 CEU’s from IAABC, CPDT, PPAB and VSA.

Q:  Can I register for just one of the three DBC days?
Due to space and registration limitations, attendees are not able to register for only one day of the conference. All registrations are for the full, 3-day conference. Registrants are free to attend as many or as few sessions live as they like – all sessions are recorded and available for one year following the event.

Q:  What time does the conference begin and end each day?
The first presentations each day will begin at 10am ET (3pm UK time), while the final presentation each day will end by 6pm ET (11pm UK time).

Q:  Are there discounts for group or rescue organizations?
Costs for the conference are already underwritten and further discounts are unfortunately not available.

Q:  What is the refund policy?
Refunds are available up to 10 days before the event, after which refunds will only be granted upon request if there is a waitlist for the conference.

Q:  Is VAT included in the ticket price?
No VAT is collected on the ticket purchases, as the organizing entity is a US company with no VAT exposure. Therefore, VAT receipts are not available for attendees.

Q:  My registration was bought for me by someone else. Does my name and email need to be on the registration?
Yes. Each ticket must be purchased separately and results in a unique access code to the conference, so each person attending must register individually WITH THE EMAIL ADDRESS OF THE ACTUAL ATTENDEE. Note that the email provided during registration will be the only email to receive login instructions and conference access, so be sure to use the name and email address of the person who will be attending the conference.

Q: What if I need to leave a presentation partway through it?
No problem. You can leave and rejoin the conference as many times as you like, and all presentations will be recorded (audio and video) so that you can catch up on what you missed later.

Q: Will I get a certificate for this?
Yes. All attendees will be emailed a digital certificate of completion after the event.

$139 for all 3 days

(approx £110)


Marty & Mikkel Becker

Irith Bloom

Steve Dale

Sarah Fisher

Andrew Hale

Sarah Heath

Robert Hewings

Daniel Mills

Jo Pay

Michael Shikashio

Victoria Stilwell

Lisa & Brad Waggoner

Register for the 2024 DBC here!


  • Movement Matters. Movement as a Foundation for All Behaviour (Sarah Fisher)
  • Revitalizing your Relationship with Rocket Recall Training (Lisa & Brad Waggoner)
  • Hostility in the Home: Dog Aggression Directed at Family or Visitors (Michael Shikashio)
  • BRAVE Case Studies: Using BRAVE Strategies to Help Every Dog Navigate a Challenging World (Victoria Stilwell)
  • Give Them a Choice! How and Why Giving Dogs’ Choice Improves Behavior (Irith Bloom)
  • Bringing C.A.K.E to Dog Training: Moving Towards a More Care Orientated Way of Training (Andrew Hale)
  • The Thrill of the Chase! Understanding Why Dogs Chase (and What You Can Do About It) (Jo Pay)
  • Scent & Emotions for Pet Professionals: Creating the Feel-Good Factor for Dogs (Robert Hewings)
  • Looking After the Emotional Wellbeing of Pets: How to take the ‘Pet Out of Petrified’ and put the ‘Treat into Treatment’ (Marty Becker & Mikkel Becker)
  • Suspected Pain and Behaviour: What to look out for and what trainers should (and shouldn’t) tell the vet! (Daniel Mills)
  • What Is Comprehensive Healthcare? Understanding the links between “mind and body” in our canine patients (Sarah Heath)
  • Dogs Weren’t Bred to Be Couch Potatoes: Why We Must Enrich our Dogs’ Lives (Steve Dale)

DBC Conference Speaker Bios

Marty & Mikkel Becker

Marty & Mikkel Becker

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them. He is the founder of Fear Free, which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. This includes veterinary and other pet professionals as well as pet parents through and animal shelter and rescue group staff and volunteers through 

Dr. Becker was the resident veterinary contributor on “Good Morning America” for 17 years and is a past member of the Board of Directors of American Humane. His special fondness for older pets has led him to a spot on the Advisory Board of The Grey Muzzle Organization, which is dedicated to helping homeless senior dogs. He also proudly serves as the first Ambassador for Sava’s Safe Haven in Galati, Romania. He has written 23 books that have sold almost 8 million copies, including three New York Times best-sellers. He also writes the weekly nationally syndicated newspaper feature Pet Connection with his writing partner, Kim Campbell Thornton. 

Dr. Becker is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and also at the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at both Colorado State University and the University of Missouri. Additionally, he has lectured at every veterinary school in the United States, and is on the advisory board of World Vets, an international veterinary and disaster relief programs to help animals. 

A passionate advocate for the human-animal bond, Dr. Becker serves as an adjunct professor at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He is an honorary board member of Pet Partners and the Humane Society of New York, as well as a past board member and strong supporter of his local pet rescue group, Second Chance Animal Adoption of Bonner Ferry, ID, and a supporter of the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Sandpoint, ID, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and the Whitman County Humane Society in Pullman, WA. He also serves on the advisory board of World Vets. Dr. Becker practices at VCA North Idaho Animal Hospital because he loves veterinary medicine, pets, and the people who care for them.


Mikkel Becker is the lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets and Fear Free Happy Homes as well as the host of the Happy Paws podcast. She specializes in reward based training and behavior modification with dogs, cats and occasional other species, including horses, pigs and orangutans. Mikkel is a Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a graduate of the rigorous San Francisco SPCA Dog Training Academy with Jean Donaldson with a certificate in training and counseling (CTC), a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA), a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and a Certified Dog Behavior Counselor (CDBC). Mikkel also majored in communications and minored in sociology at Washington State University.

Mikkel is regularly featured in publications that include USA Today,, Woman’s Day, Real Simple and a nationally syndicated newspaper pet column. She was the resident trainer at and now is the lead animal trainer at and Mikkel has coauthored six books, including the most recent release, From Fearful to Fear Free.

Mikkel lives in Spokane, WA with her daughter, Reagan and the love of her life – a Puggle named Indiana Bones. The rest of the critter crew includes two rescue mutts, Otis and Nova, a trick performing goldfish Orangey Peanut Butter, and an adorably cuddly teddy bear of a horse, Chili.  

Kim Brophey

Irith Bloom

CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, CSAT, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI, FFCP (Trainer), VSDTA Faculty, DWA Faculty, Co-founder of Porter Labs and the Freak’n Awesome Dog Project 

Irith Bloom finds joy in helping people teach with kindness while developing choice-rich environments for their companion animals.  She has been training since the 1980s and has worked with animals ranging from chickens and rabbits to dogs and horses—not to mention humans. She is a sought-after presenter, and her writing has been published in countless online outlets, as well as in print media including the recent book “Your Puppy and You: A step-by-step guide to raising a freak’n awesome dog.”

Irith is co-founder of Porter Labs, whose technology provides next-generation dog training and entertainment for dogs; as well as the Freak’n Awesome Dog Project, which helps people live the life of their dreams with their dogs.  Her training company, The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, provides both peer-to-peer and trainer-to-pet-family services worldwide through the magic of online meetings. 

Irith is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA), a Canine Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI-KSA), and a Fear Free Certified Practitioner (FFCP). She is also certified in TAGteach and on the faculty of Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior.

Irith has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Member of the Board of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and on the Advisory Board for Daily Paws, as well as Chair Emeritus of the Education Committee of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She volunteers for National English Shepherd Rescue.  Irith is between dogs at the moment, but shares her home with a well-behaved human spouse named Aaron.

Steve Dale

Steve Dale

Steve Dale, CABC (certified animal behavior consultant) is host of two national radio shows (Black Dog Radio Productions), Steve Dale’s Pet World, The Pet Minute), and Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio, Chicago. His website/blog: His many TV appearances range from Oprah to Good Morning America to National Geographic Explorer to a wide variety of Animal Planet programs, and as a former contributor to superstation WGN-TV and nationally syndicated HouseSmarts TV.

Among his books, ebooks Good Dog! and Good Cat! He’s a co-editor of Decoding Your Dog and contributed to Decoding Your Cat (both authored by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists). He’s a contributor to The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management (edited by Dr. Susan Little), Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient (edited by Dr. Mary Gardner and Dr. Dani McVety, 2017), and others. He’s written forewords/introductions to many books. Steve’s a print contributor to DVM 360 and a member of their speaking faculty. He also writes for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. Formerly, he was the pet editor at USA Weekend and author of a Tribune Media Services syndicated pet column for 21 years.

He speaks at veterinary and animal welfare conferences around the world. Steve has earned multiple awards for his work including the first recipient of the AVMA Steve Dale Excellence in Media Award (named for him in perpetuity); the AVMA Humane Award, and inducted into the Dog Writer’s Hall of Fame.

Steve serves on the Boards of the EveryCat Health Foundation (formerly Winn Feline), Human Animal Bond Association and Association for Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. He’s a past Board Member of the American Humane Association, CATalyst Council (which he co-founded), Pet Parrtners and others. He’s created and has worked with governments supporting pet protection laws, and speaks at veterinary meetings internationally.

Sarah Fisher 

Sarah Fisher is a canine and equine behaviour advisor and educator. She has worked with animals for over twenty years and is the founder of Animal Centred Education. Sarah teaches Animal Centred Education (ACE) courses for trainers, groomers, veterinary nurses, physiotherapists and animal behaviour counsellors who wish to broaden their expertise by learning detailed observations combined with ACE Free Work, bodywork, and ACE techniques inspired by animals and other professionals working in the fields of animal welfare, education and behaviour.

Sarah is experienced with a wide range of breed types and teaches staff workshops for many of the UK’s animal welfare organisations including Battersea. She has also worked in Europe teaching staff workshops for shelters and has taught workshops and clinics for dog trainers and behaviourists in Holland, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, South Africa, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Poland.

Sarah gives presentations on a variety of topics at dog training and behaviour seminars in the UK and abroad, and is a regular speaker at the annual Dog Behaviour Conference organised by Victoria Stilwell Positively. She also conducts behaviour assessments for private clients, animal welfare organisations, and court cases. Sarah is a published author and has participated in numerous television and radio programmes over the years including the recent Nightmare Pets SOS for BBC1.

Andrew Hale

Andrew Hale is a Certified Canine Behaviourist and Trustee at the Association of INTODogs. He is the behavioural consultant for Pet Remedy and has had a key role in the establishing the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter. With a background in Human Psychology, Andrew is passionate about learning more about the emotional experiences of dogs and those that that care for them.


Sarah qualified from Bristol University and spent four years in mixed general practice before setting up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. In 2018 she was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for meritorious contributions to the profession in recognition of her work in establishing Behavioural Medicine as a veterinary discipline. She is an RCVS and European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine. Sarah is an External Lecturer in small animal behavioural medicine on the veterinary undergraduate courses at Liverpool University and the University of Surrey. She is a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist under the ASAB accreditation scheme and registered as a Veterinary Behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. She sees clinical cases across North West England.

In 2002 Sarah became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine (formerly the ECVBM-CA) and served as President from 2002 to 2008. She served as Treasurer of the College from 2011 to 2017 and is currently the chair of the Behavioural Medicine Credentialing Committee. Sarah has a special interest in the interplay between emotional and physical illness in dogs and cats and particularly in the role of pain. She promotes the recognition of emotional health issues in companion animals and the role of the veterinary profession in safeguarding the welfare of animals in this context. Sarah lectures extensively, at home and abroad, on behavioural medicine and is an author, co-author and editor of several books including Behavioural Medicine for Small Animals and Feline Behavioural Health and Welfare, both published by Elsevier.

Robert Hewings

Robert Hewings

BSc. MA. D/Prof.   Head of School The College of Scent Dogs Ltd.

Dr. Robert Hewings is an inspirational trainer. With his exceptional skills in canine training and his accomplished writing, he has become a highly respected figure in the scent-detection dog training community. His 30 years of operational experience with the Metropolitan Police are a testament to his unwavering dedication and passion for his craft. His books, “Scent Training for Every Dog” and “Tracking for Every Dog,” have been invaluable resources for dog owners and trainers alike. Dr. Hewings is a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work and a commitment to excellence.

He served for 30 years in the Metropolitan Police, where 25 years were spent as a Police Dog Handler. His final nine years of service were spent as a full-time trainer at the renowned Metropolitan Police Dog Training Establishment in London. He has furthered his knowledge with a BSc in Canine Training and Behaviour, a Master’s degree in Professional Practice Police Dog Training, and a Doctorate in Canine Scent Detection. Rob has trained police dogs for all search disciplines, including explosives and narcotics. He has gained practical experience in London by supporting numerous significant events, such as the 2012 Olympics and Wimbledon Tennis, and providing security to the Royal Family.

After retiring in 2016, Rob wanted to share his unique blend of operational experience and Doctorate in Scent Detection training. To achieve this goal, he created ‘The College of Scent Dogs Ltd’, which is an exceptional scent detection training institution. The college provides City & Guilds awards in the areas of Scent Detection, Tracking, and Mantrailing, which are prestigious qualifications within the pet dog training community.

Daniel Mills

Daniel Mills

Professor Daniel S. Mills BVSc PhD CBiol FRSB FHEA CCAB Dip ECAWBM(BM) FRCVS, RCVS and EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine

Prof Mills is professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln, UK. He is a practising veterinary surgeon and academic who has specialised in the management of problem behaviour and the human-animal bond for nearly 35 years. In 2004 he was the first individual to be recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine, and in 2016 was further recognised by them as the first individual to be granted Fellowship status for his contributions to this field. He was also Europe’s first professor of his discipline and has pioneered a scientific transformation of our understanding of companion animal problem behaviour, through the development of a “psychobiological approach” to clinical animal behaviour assessment. Much of his work is transdisciplinary and he is included in the top half of Stanford University’s list of the top 2% of scientists in the world, and recognised as one of the world’s top psychology researchers by

He has published more than 200 full peer-reviewed scientific articles and more than 60 books and chapters. He runs an audio and YouTube podcast series “What makes you click?”, which features chats with inspirational friends in the field of animal behaviour he has had the benefit of getting to know over the course of his career ( 

Jo Pay

Jo Pay

Jo Pay has been a dog training professional for 28 years, running a variety of classes, workshops and working training and behaviour cases. She shares her life with a Border Collie called Twist, and specialises in working with the Border Collie breed.

Jo is a dog trainer and training & behaviour consultant for Channel 4’s, The Dog Academy. 

She works as European Manager for Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training and is  the European Coordinator for Victoria Stilwell Academy. She is a KC Rally judge, a canine fitness instructor, a qualified and accredited Instructor for Agility & Hoopers and a volunteer trainer for DogAID.

Michael Shikashio

Michael Shikashio

Michael Shikashio, CDBC, is the past president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and provides private consultations working exclusively with dog aggression cases through his business Michael is fully certified through the IAABC and is a full member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). He also hosts the popular podcast show “The Bitey End of the Dog.”

He is sought after for his expert opinion by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, New York Post, Baltimore Sun, WebMD, Women’s Health Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, SiriusXM Radio, The Chronicle of the Dog, and Steve Dale’s Pet World.

Michael is a featured speaker at conferences, universities, and seminars around the world, and offers a variety of workshops, webinars, and online courses on the topic of canine aggression, including the Aggression in Dogs Master Course.

Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog as well as Greatest American Dog, Dogs Might Fly, Dogs with Extraordinary Jobs, Help My Dog is Out of Control, and various featured web series including Arson Dogs, Guardians of the Night and Unsung Heroes. Having filmed over 110 episodes of It’s Me or the Dog since 2005, Stilwell reaches audiences in over 120 countries with her philosophy of positive training methods.  A best-selling author of 5 books including her latest book, “The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy,” Stilwell appears frequently in the media and is widely recognized as a leader in the field of animal behavior.

A passionate advocate for positive dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of, the founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and the CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training – the world’s premier global network of positive dog trainers. The recipient of multiple awards, Stilwell is committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and rehabilitation and is heavily involved with organizations around the world to increase awareness of puppy mills, dogfighting, animal abuse, pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention and other animal-related causes, but she is best known as a champion for humane positive reinforcement dog training methods. She is an Ambassador for the RSPCA, International Ambassador for the Soi Dog Foundation and serves on the Advisory Boards of RedRover, The Georgia Pet Coalition, The Grey Muzzle Foundation, DogTV, Dognition, W-Underdogs and Canine Assistants

Brad & Lisa Waggoner

Brad & Lisa Waggoner

Lisa and Brad Waggoner are the founders of Cold Nose College, whose mission is to keep dogs in their forever homes by fostering trust and understanding for both ends of the leash. 

Lisa and Brad are well-known for their clear, compassionate, and engaging communication skills. They are dedicated to helping dogs and their people form a strong bond and enjoy their lives together, whether it’s by coaching and mentoring professional trainers or self-paced, on-demand courses. “Where cold noses meet warm hearts” is an exact description of their approach. You will see Brad and Lisa’s warmth and care in their interactions with both species.

Brad and Lisa are both Certified Professional Dog Trainers—Knowledge Assessed. In addition, Lisa is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer and a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, also co-instructing that program with founder Malena DeMartini in its early years. Brad is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a Fear Free Certified Trainer, and has TAGteach primary certification through TAGteach International. Training dogs also means teaching people, and Lisa and Brad are exemplary in their credentials and devotion to helping both the dog and human end of the leash.

$139 for all 3 days

(approx £110)

Dog Behavior Conference