Susan Smith, CPDT-KA, CDBC
In 1995 Sue sold her Mail Boxes Etc., USA business and started thinking about what she wanted to do for a living. She knew she wanted something she enjoyed and it was fairly easy to narrow it down to dogs. Once she made that decision, she apprenticed under another positive reinforcement trainer and started reading every book she could get her hands on.
After attending the San Francisco SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers, she went full-time and the rest is history. Her goal is to help dogs stay with their original human family through education, training and behavior modification.
Sue is an active, professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, graduated from the first class held at the San Francisco Academy for Dog Trainers, was in the first group of trainers certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers and is grandfathered into the International Association of Canine Behavior Counselors. Sue was named APDT Member of the Year in 2004. She belongs to several e-mail discussion groups and founded the PositiveGunDogs e-mail discussion group which promotes positive reinforcement training for bird dogs.
Sue regularly contributes to the APDT newsletter, has been published numerous times in the newspaper addressing behavioral and training issues, and has writen for The Bark magazine and other journals.
Sue was the Director of Animal Haven Acres Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center which was a dog sanctuary in upstate New York. She started up the Sanctuary for a no-kill shelter out of New York City; bringing the dogs up, introducing them to the environment, etc. She stayed in this position for three years. Sue and her dog, Jimmy Joe, lived at the Sanctuary and the Sanctuary dogs lived in the house with her – there was a limit of 15 dogs. The permanent dogs were unadoptable for various reasons – mostly aggression.
After leaving New York, Sue returned to Austin, Texas and began developing a series of courses and marketing materials for use by professional trainers, as well as resuming her private practice in training and behavior modification. She now works full time creating educational programs for dog trainers, including an intensive, year-long course for those wanting to become professional trainers.