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Ivan Balabanov

Ivan Balabanov

Ivan Balabanov with his dogs.

Ivan Balabanov is a world class Schutzhund competitor / trainer who has produced several DVDs and numerous online pay-per-view videos.

Ivan had developed a tug based system which has been promoted as reducing the amount of corrections a dog should need. As the pet owner, this system can work well if you have a high drive dog; especially one that is high prey drive. If your dog is not high drive this sort of system could fail miserably. Ivan does demonstrate how to do similar approaches using food, but it’s really not quite the same thing.

Ivan Balabanov and Michael Ellis are often compared. People often ask me whose DVDs they should buy. I give a description of the two different styles that these two men take. If you like something that is faster paced, highly energetic but doesn’t provide quite the same level of detailed explanation then Ivan is for you. Many people prefer Michael Ellis' teaching style. It is definitely slower pace. There is a lot of repetition so that the concepts are understood. The tugging is a lot more stationary also.

I personally like Ivan's style, because I use tug training not only for obedience training, but also as a work out for the dog and human. If you had only ever seen the Michael Ellis videos, you might not get the same impression as how this is to be done. Some find this style distasteful. I do not - I own Ivan’s first 2 DVDs.

The only part that I did not like, was that the first DVD portrayed eCollars to be a tool of the devil. I know that ivan does use them. This might not have been Ivan’s fault though. The marketing people that produced these DVDs may have wanted to take that angle. There is an underlying tone to the DVDs that suggests you can almost eliminate compulsion all together.

Ivan speaks openly and honestly about eCollars right here.

His words seem like common sense to me but you wouldn't believe how many people just don't get it!

Ivan Balabanov's Biography

  • Born in Bulgaria.
  • Trained dogs professionally in Belgium before moving to the US.
  • Eight (8) times National Champion.
  • Two (2) times World Champion.
  • Award winning author of the book “Advanced Schutzhund“ and DVD series “Obedience Without Conflict”.
  • Has appeared on Animal Planet, Fear Factor, and pretty much all dog sport magazines around the world.
  • Lectures at the annual United States Police K9 Association Events and is a trainer for ATF special task force K9 units.
  • Instructs and lectures some of the top Search and Rescue organizations in the US as well as Switzerland.
  • Worked as a Guide Dog instructor for 5 years in California where he trained more than 300 dogs and students.
  • Worked as animal behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA (a "no kill" facility) and was responsible for the successful evaluation and rehabilitation of some of the most difficult cases.
  • Founder of the SF/SPCA Dog Trainers Academy. He also went on to write and teach the training curriculum.