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Ian Dunbar

Ian Dunbar

Ian Dunbar with his American Bulldog.

Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian / behaviorist that has spent a large percentage of his life to studying dogs. He is a dog training god in the eyes of some. I have a much lower opinion of his abilities. He leans heavily towards the positive movement but does use aversives. Typically the aversives that he uses are his voice being altered in volume or tone.

My issues with Dr Dubar lie with the open attacks he has made on valuable tools such as prong collars and eCollars. I also take huge issue with the fairy tales that he paints in his speeches. In my eyes they are extremely idealistic. I am continuously left saying I am sorry but the real canine world doesn’t work that way. I have often wondered if he truly believes these things or if he has been trapped into them for fear of losing his following. It is probably a little too late for him to say, “Sorry I was wrong.”

I also am suspicious of any dog trainer that continuously dresses in suits and spends more time behind a podium than he does interacting with real world dogs. I have considered in the past that I might be very wrong about Dr Dunbar. I searched for and found various YouTube videos in which he appeared. These videos left me feeling severely underwhelmed. Dr Dunbar holds himself out to be an authority on aggression but the one story that he brought up in his “TEDS” speech, he concludes by saying that the dog was euthanized. During the speech he hints at the approach he took with that particular case. I understand totally why it failed. Notice the word, approach was singular. Is he a one hit wonder? Did the client lose patience? Or does he believe that Rome was built in a day.

One of the most magically powerful training techniques is to ignore all unwanted behavior and instead, teach and reinforce good behaviors. Whenever your dog does something you like, simply say, "Good dog" and give him a piece of kibble, some affection, or play a game with him as a reward. For example, reward your dog whenever he sits, lies down, looks at you, stops barking, or just looks cute
--Ian Dunbar

Biography

Ian Dunbar

Ian Dunbar with Cesar Millan.

  • Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and writer.
  • Born in England and raised on a farm.
  • Attended the Royal Veterinary School in London.
  • Moved to Berkley in 1971.
  • Earned his Ph.D. in animal behavior at the University of California Berkeley.
  • Dr. Dunbar is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
  • Member of the International Society for Applied Ethology.
  • Member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
  • Member of the California Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Member of Sierra Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (which he founded).
  • Founded Sirius Dog Training in 1981.
  • He has written six dog training books and hosted the popular British television series "Dogs with Dunbar".