Training With Respect: The PupLife Interview With Dog Trainer Paul Owens

Paul Owens The Dog WhispererDog Whisperer Paul Owens is a professional dog trainer and one of the leading proponents of nonviolent animal training in the United States. Paul is the author of the best-selling book, The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training and he is featured on the dog training DVD, The Dog Whisperer: Beginning and Intermediate Dog Training. His specialty is in the evaluation and behavior modification of aggressive dogs and he is frequently consulted and referred by veterinarians. Hi Paul. Please tell our readers about your training philosophy or personal approach to dog training.

Paul Owens: Studies have shown a direct connection between how we interact with animals and how we treat each other as human beings. So we teach positive, nonviolent dog training. That means no hitting, kicking, shocking, shaking or jerking methods are ever employed. No choke, prong or shock collars are ever used, only regular Dog Collars. In essence, we strive to provide 9 essential ingredients for the happiest healthiest relationship possible. Here is a poem we teach in our children’s classes:

Food and Play and Socialize
Quiet time and Exercise
Give your dog a job to do
And lots of rest when days are through
Train with love, respect and care
And see the vet throughout the year! That’s wonderful. How did you get started?

Paul Owens: I started in 1974 learning and then teaching the same methods everyone else was using at that time: a combination of negatives (jerking, pinning, shaking) and positive (praise, affection, play). I switched to positive training in 1988 and haven’t used the negatives since. What are the three most common reasons dog owners come to you?

Paul Owens: Well, puppy training and basic family dog training issues like housetraining, jumping, barking, digging, etc. Dealing with moderate-to-severe aggression is half of my practice. And many people want to learn advanced behaviors and how to increase reliability without using force. What three behaviors would you like to see every dog owner teach their dog?

Paul Owens: That’s easy. Down, stay, come….and get me a soda out of the fridge…oops, that’s four.. Tell us about the Dog Whisperer DVD. How did the project come together?

Paul Owens: Funny story. I actually wrote a children’s book about dogs and was shopping for an agent. I was introduced to Norma Eckroate who co-authored several books (including The Natural Dog and The Natural Cat). She said she didn’t work with fiction but asked if I would like to work on a dog training book that espouses nonviolent dog training. I said what-the-heck. It sold to the first publisher we found and has since climbed to over 100,000 copies.

She’s now my business partner and we are about to introduce an incredibly exciting program called that will spread positive dog training all over the world. Stay tuned! Thank you for visiting with us.

Paul Owens: Thank you.

To learn more about Paul Owens, visit his web sites at and You may also purchase The Dog Whisperer DVD direct from