About Me

Hi there.  I’m Robin Bennett, and I’m a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA).  I am also an author and a consultant for pet care facilities on the subjects of dog daycare, training and off-leash dog play.  In my 20 years in the pet care industry, I’ve become an advocate of safe interactions between dogs and people and between dogs and other dogs.

This is my personal blog.  It is focused on safe off leash dog play and dog training.  My philosophy is that if you are going to be around dogs, especially if you are in the pet care industry caring for dogs, they should leave you and your facility behaviorally better (and certainly not worse!) than when they came to you.  I think this is possible, but you have to be intentional about it.

I write about dog parks, dog daycares, off leash dog play, dog training, the pet care industry and business practices, and, on occasion, stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into any of those categories.

I try to post about once a week…sometimes more if I am so inclined!  If you don’t want to miss out, you can subscribe to my blog on the home page.  If you want to read more about me continue on for my full biography.

My Biography

I have been involved in the pet care industry for the past 20 years as a dog trainer and dog daycare expert.  I founded All About Dogs, the largest dog training company in Virginia grew it from a sole proprietorship to a Corporation that boasts over ten instructors teaching private lessons as well as numerous group classes and behavior modification lessons for shy, fearful and aggressive dogs.  For 8 years I was also a co-owner of  Dream Dog Productions, a business which provided dog related products and resources to pet care professionals.

I successfully owned and operated my own dog daycare for many years.  My book All About Dog Daycare: A Blueprint For Success  is the number one reference on owning a daycare, and Off Leash Dog Play, c0-authored with Susan Briggs is the key reference on supervising dogs in playgroups. I am a speaker on numerous dog daycare and playgroup topics around the country.  I have a passion for educating pet facility owners and staff on safe handling techniques and canine body language with a staff training program developed with Susan Briggs called  Knowing Dogs. Together Susan Briggs and I (better known as “The Dog Gurus”) have recently launched the best resource for off-leash play at www.safeoffleashdogplay.com.

I am an active member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and am honored to be the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for this association that reaches more than 5,200 members in 48 countries worldwide. I have a B.A. degree from Roanoke College and regularly attend dog training seminars. I have earned professional certification through the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the first national certification for dog trainers.

I am a retired Colonel, United States Marine Corps Reserve. I have two adult children (Leanna and Nathan) and am married to my wonderful husband, Greg.  We live in Stafford, Virginia.

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Family photo!

In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing with dogs (of course), and traveling in my class A motorhome.  I am a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Stafford, Virginia where I have volunteered for the past several years.

My Contact Information

You can contact me at Robin@RobinKBennett.com, leave a comment below, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

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Relaxing in Estes Park, Co

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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25 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I REALLY appreciate your down to earth approach here, esp your writing on kids and dogs. So many people dont understand dog body language. Thanks!

  2. I, too, took my Dobe to doggy daycare. It was winter here when I got him and not enough opportunities to socialize with people or dogs. Well, long story short, he got kicked out of daycare. I was devastated, as I knew that he wasn’t the problem. I had been covertly observing the dc and many times I observed a pack of dogs outside without human supervision. That, especially with large dogs, is a major NO NO! It doesn’t matter how “good” the dogs are, there can always be one little thing that sparks a problem. The reason they gave me for kicking my dog out was that he was “posturing” with one other dog. OK, so go correct it! Not long after removing him from dc, he started having aggression issues, as did a neighbor’s dog who also went to the same dc. I know one of the owners doesn’t like Dobes ( profiling at it’s worst!) because he made it known to me, unfortunately, after they kicked my boy out. To say the least, I won’t recommend this dc and def wouldn’t use it ever again, even as an overnight kennel!

  3. Thanks, Robin. The SPCA of Erie County (NY) sent me your sheet regarding loose dogs and what to do. You repeated what a NYS dog trainer for police dogs said 14 years ago when I took my dog to obedience class. On 9/1/14, My dog was attacked by a female choc lab/pit that was loose and raced down the street at my dog teeth flashing. My dog was walking with me on leash. As soon as the attacking dog made contact with mine, I dropped the leash and my dog grabbed the neck of the attacker. Of course, there was a lot of chutzpah “my poor dog is bleeding, etc., etc.” Bystander told the two “rescuers” to stop pounding on my dog since it made things worse. I yelled for them to keep their hands and arms away from my dog, opened his jaws (he was exhausted at that point) and rescuer is complaining of a finger bite. While I am relieved that that was all the damage done, I have no sympathy for anyone having a loose time bomb to cause great distress to me and my dog.
    Again, thank you!

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  5. Great article Robin. I’m personally kinda new to the dog business. Started a dog walking business and took the dogtec dog walking academy class in Austin last year. Now I have two regular clients and I’m doing some pet sitting. This week I’m driving up to Dearborn, Michigan for the Karen Pryor clickerexpo.com which hopefully will put me on the educational road to being a dog trainer myself someday. APDT is coming to Dallas in Oct. 2015 and I hope / expect to attend that as well. I’ll be looking for more great stuff in your upcoming blogs 🙂 Bye for now, David

  6. Hi, I am doing research for the dog park in my town of which me and my 2 french bulldogs are members. At this time we have a small dog side (25 lbs and under) and a large dog side which allows any size dog in. We at the dog park would like to change the 25 lbs rule to at least 35 lbs and for timid, disabled and elderly dogs. What we need are opinions, both personal and professional, from experts in the field in writing to present to Township Board to get them to authorize such a change. Would you mind giving me your thoughts on this matter? I would really appreciate any help you are willing to give.

    Thank you,
    Nancy Berkson

    • Hi Nancy, I would actually keep the small dog side to 25lbs so that you don’t have energetic larger dogs in with the small dogs. However, I do think you make a good point about the timid, disabled and elderly dogs. If you want to have an area for those dogs I would recommend that be a third area. I would actually recommend that those dogs have a more specialized program which isn’t usually something that is done at a dog park. Hope that helps.

  7. Hi Robin,

    We have contacted you in the past. Again we have a question about a client. It is a Bouvier des Flandres, 18 months old, MN. He is charging dogs and has since been banned from the daycare. It has been about 4 weeks and the owners are calling to see if he can return. We have said no, but wanted to contact an expert to get your opinion. He has not yet bitten but we feel it is just a matter of time. The owners have viewed our tapes so they have witnessed his behavior.
    I understand you can’t make a definitive decision without seeing the dog in person. However, is there any advice you might have that we can relay to his owner.

    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely,
    Kelli Kane
    Manager, My Dog’s Daycare
    702/777-0077

    • Hi Kelli, I always say “trust your gut” with dogs in your facility. If you think it is a matter of time I would not put the dog in daycare, but would refer him to other services if you have any services that might be good for him. Generally speaking dogs grow “into their behavior” not “out of” it. This is especially true if it involves overly confident behavior toward other dogs (like charging dogs which you mentioned). He might just be bluffing, but that is still unfair to the other dogs. Hope that helps!

  8. Loved your comments. I have had dogs all my life, mostly one at a time. Several years ago, while volunteering at a local shelter, there was a dog I just could not resist (a Keeshond) I already had a dog and decided to adopt the Kees. From then on, not only did I find my new favorite breed, but had two dogs. When one of mine passed, the other seemed to be okay, he liked finally being the one getting all the attention. After kenneling him for 2 weeks when I travelled out of state to a wedding (his first time being kenneled), he seemed depressed when he came home. (He was 12 yrs old). I understood that he liked being boarded – they had a large facility, including many in day care. I thought I would put him in daycare one day a week to see if it changed things.

    He immediately was a different dog, after just his first session. He played so hard, he fell asleep in the car coming home. He was excited every Wed when I would drop him off. The staff was absolutely marvelous and I could tell how much they loved him. After a regular vet check up, my vet asked if I had changed his food or anything, because she said he was acting 5 years younger! When I mentioned he was in doggy day care, she understood his change. He never showed signs of not liking being alone, but apparently he really did miss his companion. He was a 65lb Kees mix, and because of his age, they put him with the small dogs (in case the large dogs played too rough) I was told he was “elected” leader of the pack with the small dogs. they would take naps when he wanted to take naps, etc. (He was always the submissive dog at home with his companion). I was elated at how he changed. Unfortunately after 4 years he passed – while at day care.
    I am so happy that his last years gave him joy. I will always put a dog in day care now.

  9. Hello, I am training my new puppy on a rural Island where there are no dog trainers. What book or resources do you recommend.

    • Hi Julia, I love that you are training your new puppy! My favorite “new dog” book is by Ian Dunbar “Before and After getting your puppy” (you obviously want the “after” part). LOL That will help to get you started. I also love “The Toolbox for Creating a Great Family Dog” by Terry Ryan and Family Friendly Dog training by Patricia McConnell. You can see lots of other book ideas at http://www.dogwise.com (kind of the Amazon of dog books). Hope that helps.

  10. Robin-
    Do you have any recommendations which would help our out- of- control 18 month old Golden Doodle who jumps & barks on my husband whenever we try to talk. She loves him (He takes her out) and I believe is jealous of him or me. She’s basic obedience trained, a therapy dog in training, very affectionate and gentle with other people & dogs.
    Do you think we need a Behaviorist to come to the house?
    Thanks so much for any thoughts.

    • Hi Sheila, I would start by making sure she is getting enough exercise during the day. Maybe try increasing the exercise to see if that helps. You might also try giving her an alternative behavior to do when you and your husband are together such as chewing on a stuff kong or other puzzle toy. The book “Click to Calm” may also be helpful. if none of those ideas work, then I do think having a trainer or behaviorist come out to evaluate the dog would be helpful.

  11. Hi Robbin I am from paws by the lake in Avon Lake ohio. You had visited our daycare about 4-5 years ago. We are wondering if you so any training at your daycare facility? I follow you and your teachings. I am going to be in Hershey in November. Hope to see ya, also hope to hear from you 🙂 thanks Diane

    • Hi Diane,
      Thanks for your email. So good to hear from you. I have sold my daycare and now live in Colorado Springs. I travel around the country speaking about dog daycares and have a membership site for dog daycares at http://www.TheDogGurus.com. Both Susan and I do offer some onsite training and also have coaches that can do training onsite. You can contact us at info@thedoggurus.com to get information on those types of sessions. Thanks!

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