We know it's tough to sort fact from fiction when it comes to animal behavior, so let us point you in the right direction. We've vetted (pun intended) these experts so you know you can trust their information.
Downstay is not compensated in any way for these recommendations.
If you haven't heard of Dr. McConnell's incredible pioneering work on dog behavior and training, you should stop what you're doing right now and go read her books. We'll wait. You can come back after you've read The Other End of the Leash and/or For the Love of a Dog. Her memoir, The Education of Will , isn't about animal behavior per se, but one of the themes is how our companion animals often bring into focus our own psychological baggage. Like her books, her blog is engaging and heartwarming (even our cold, cold hearts) and delightfully earnest.
Dr. Friedman is a psychology professor at Utah State University. Her website has a ton of information on behavior shaping and some fantastic graphics and videos for explaining important concepts. We love her work on behavior management in domestic parrots--perhaps the most common and deeply misunderstood exotic animals in captivity. You'll be reading for days in her "written works" section, and when you're done you can head over to her merchandise page to support her work by buying a sweet poster that might just remind you to behave better!
Dr. Andy Roark is a veterinarian, not an animal behaviorist, but we like him anyway. His website is full of great content that will educate you and might just challenge your assumptions about animal medicine, pet ownership, and, well, humanity. He hosts a YouTube show called "Cone of Shame" that is both campy and charming and will leave you smirking right along with Dr. Roark while he educates you about anal glands and how to get your cat to stop waking you up to eat. Some of the content on his site is authored by other people since he's such a busy fellow, so keep an eye open for that.
Zak George, as far as we can tell, is a dude from Atlanta. If you consult with Downstay as a client, we'll tell you to run for the hills if a trainer's only qualification is "he's a dude". However, the thing we like about Zak George is that he makes positive reinforcement training accessible to everyone with his YouTube show. Zak's unrelenting positivity--not just with dogs but seemingly with life in general--sometimes makes him iridescently charismatic and sometimes leaves you wondering what meds he must be on. In terms of technique, Zak gets the Downstay stamp of approval for humane and effective training, believing that even poor people need access to decent dog training, and his hyper-friendly, labrador-retriever-style, possibly-Wellbutrin-fueled professionalism.
There's so many great resources out there. Keep checking back as we continue to grow our site.
If you would like to suggest a site for us to review, see the submissions page. Like most mammals, we love new things!