When I can’t be training dogs, I like to listen to other people talk about training dogs.
I’m a pretty huge podcast addict – between walking Barley, jogging, and road trips, I am an ultra-regular listener to more podcasts.
Whether you’re a hardcore dog training nerd like me or just casually interested in learning more about your puppy’s potential, there’s a podcast out there for you. I explored the dog training podcasts on iTunes to find the best ones for you!
What Makes a Great Dog Training Podcast?
I’m pretty picky about my podcasts – I like to consider myself a connoisseur. Today there are so many podcasts out there that it can be really overwhelming.
Don’t worry, I’ve done the listening homework for you! There’s no reason to waste your time with sub-par podcasts, so I hope this best-of-the-best list can save you some time.
When deciding which podcasts I wanted to recommend for this article, I realized I needed a bit of a system to weed out the truly great podcasts from the “entertaining” ones.
Specifically, this list consists of dog training podcasts that have:
1. Expert Hosts. I’m not looking for “Joe Average’s Thoughts on Your Dog.” I’m looking for bona fide animal behavior experts giving useful advice.
- I especially value podcasts hosted by people who are veterinarians or PhDs, involved with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and well-versed in Applied Behavior Analysis.
- Because I stay far away from e-collars and other corrective training methods, I don’t tend to like podcasts hosted by police K9 trainers or military trainers.
2. Science-Based Training. A few popular podcasts didn’t make the cut because they gave training advice that wasn’t based in ethical, gentle, science-based training.
3. High-Quality Audio. It doesn’t matter how good the content is if you can’t hear it. For example, while I found a nosework podcast that I absolutely loved, I just couldn’t get over the poor audio quality, so it didn’t make the cut.
4. Great Listening. Honestly, I can’t stand cheesy podcasts. Podcasts with too many sound effects and ads, too much self-promotion, and too many vague explanations drive me nuts. That means that Victoria Stillwell’s podcast, though full of good info, didn’t make the cut. I just couldn’t stand listening to it!
5. Actionable. I’m a pretty action-oriented, literal person – so I don’t tend to like really esoteric podcasts. A few popular podcasts feel a bit too much like sitting around the bar talking about dogs. While I love doing that, I’d rather do it with my real friends! The best dog training podcasts are the ones that actually affect my future training sessions.
Now that you know my criteria for finding the best dog training podcasts, let’s explore the six podcasts that made the cut.
The Six Best Dog Training Podcasts
After scouring the podcast library for years, these are the six that I regularly listen to. I’m subscribed to them all and have heard every single episode of many. So yeah, they’re that good!
For fairness sake, I didn’t try to rank these in order of my favorites (how could I choose?). I just went alphabetically.
- Host Name and Business: Ryan Cartlidge, Animal Training Academy, an online learning community based out of New Zealand
- Focus: This podcast is interview-based. Ryan interviews animal behavior experts, ranging from PhD animal behavior researchers to the director of the San Diego Zoo. The questions follow the interviewee’s “behavioral odyssey” from their introduction to animal training to where they’d like to see the field going in the future.
- My Favorite Episodes: Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive and Reactive Dog and Punishment Starts Where Knowledge Ends
- Best For: Hardcore Behavior Nerds
- Praise: Ryan is cheerful, incredibly knowledgeable, and thorough. His podcast is firmly rooted in the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis and science. Best of all, his guests have worked with animals of all types.
- Constructive Criticism: The biggest potential drawback to Animal Training Academy is that it’s not species-specific. If you’re a dog nut who really doesn’t care much about horse training or life as a zookeeper, you won’t love some of the episodes. Some listeners struggle with Ryan’s New Zealand accent. At times, his early episodes can feel a bit rigid because he always asked the same questions in the same order. As of summer 2018, his questioning has gotten a bit more personalized and variable.
- Where to Listen: iTunes or Stitcher
- Host Name and Business: Sarah Stremming of The Cognitive Canine, an agility trainer and behavior consultant in the Seattle area.
- Focus: This podcast focuses on Sarah’s cases and considerations in the world of dog training. Sarah is a professional agility trainer who focuses on helping dogs that “fall apart” in the agility ring. The episodes are far-ranging, from semi-formal interviews to case studies to discussions on dog training theory.
- My Favorite Episodes: The Effective Behavior Change Series (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three)
- Best For: Agility lovers
- Praise: Cog-Dog Radio has really pushed my thinking on some deeply-rooted beliefs. Sarah is incredibly progressive in her training methods, and I think her podcast is the only one on this list that has had a concrete effect on my own training strategies. Her thoughts on Nothing in Life is Free (Part One, Part Two), in fact, led me to change my training recommendations to the SMART x 50 training system. Similarly, her post titled “Happy Crating” led me to rewrite my recommendations on crate training.
- Constructive Criticism: Cog-Dog Radio’s audio sometimes leaves something to be desired – Sarah records some episodes while walking with her dogs. The podcast is extremely interesting, but doesn’t always end with concrete ideas for how to put these lessons into practice.
- Where to Listen: iTunes or Soundcloud
- Host Name and Business: Dr. Jen Summerfield of Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog and Brown Veterinary Services in West Virginia
- Focus: Dog Talk is aimed at giving ultra-high-quality behavior advice for pet owners. The podcast largely covers the basics, such as potty training and recall.
- My Favorite Episodes: Car Ride Anxiety and Reliable Recalls
- Best For: Owners who are just getting excited about training or dealing with a specific behavior concern.
- Praise: Dr. Jen is one of the most knowledgeable hosts out there. She’s a veterinarian and extremely savvy trainer. Her podcast is also the most concrete and immediately “useful” for most owners.
- Constructive Criticism: This podcast is more aimed at pet owners than professional dog trainers, so the content might feel a bit boring if you’re an experienced owner who is more interested in advanced training. However, Dr. Jen’s expertise in the medical side of behavior makes reviewing the basics 100% worth it!
- Where to Listen: iTunes or on Dr. Jen’s website
- Host Name and Business: Hannah Brannigan of Wonderpups Training in North Carolina
- Focus: This podcast is focused on getting deep into the nitty-gritty of professional training. Hannah’s background is as a competitive obedience trainer, but she doesn’t discriminate in her topics.
- My Favorite Episodes: Resilience with Dr. Patricia McConnell, Frustration Tolerance, and Puppy Thoughts
- Best For: Really excited, nerdy trainers at any level
- Praise: Hannah’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the episodes that dive into the specifics of training are some of the most in-depth I’ve heard. The podcast does a great job of covering a variety of subject and staying on-topic. Hands down, if I had the option to get a drink with any podcast host, I’d pick Hannah.
- Constructive Criticism: At times, I come away from an amazing Drinking from the Toilet episode that had me glued to the headphones – but I can’t figure out how to apply what I learned to my training. At times, the podcast feels a bit too in-the-weeds to be really applicable.
- Where to Listen: iTunes or Stitcher
- Host Name and Business: Melissa Breau of Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an online dog training school
- Focus: This podcast interviews Fenzi Dog Sports Academy instructors about dog training, dog sports, and their upcoming classes.
- My Favorite Episodes: Thresholds and Therapy versus Management, Desensitization and Counterconditioning
- Best For: People who are excited about getting into dog sports. This podcast is also great for anyone who’s got a specific question or goal with their dog, as you can often take a full class online at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy with your favorite podcast guest!
- Praise: Melissa has a great set of questions that threads the needle beautifully between selling a course and delivering true value through the podcast. Her guests are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, balancing storytime and education well.
- Constructive Criticism: Since the podcast never does multi-episode series, it can sometimes feel like a particularly knowledgeable guest is being cut off when I’m dying to hear more. Longer episodes or occasional double-headers would help really get into it with the extra-interesting guests.
- Where to Listen: iTunes or Stitcher
- Host Name and Business: Ian Dunbar of Dogstar Daily
- Focus: Dogstar Daily is broad-ranging, from listener questions to discussions on Ian’s own dogs. Dr. Dunbar is one of the pioneers of bringing positive reinforcement training to the fold.
- My Favorite Episodes: The Myth of Intent, Parvovirus versus Insufficient Socialization
- Best For: Dog owners with new puppies or dogs with behavior issues looking for real advice.
- Praise: Like Dr. Jen, Dr. Dunbar is a veterinarian who is incredibly knowledgeable about both the behavior and medical side. His podcast is frank, science-based, and funny. I particularly loved the listener question episodes!
- Constructive Criticism: Some listeners struggle with Dr. Dunbar’s soothing British accent. Don’t listen if you’re sleepy! My biggest complaint? The podcast was discontinued in 2016 – but you can still listen to six seasons of backlogs.
- Where to Listen: iTunes or on Ian Dunbar’s website
Do you have a favorite dog training podcast that we missed here? Tell us all about it! We’re always looking for more.