Susan Smith, Owner & Primary Instructor for Become a Professional Dog Trainer 

As a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Susan Smith, Director of Raising Canine, LLC looks at the places where dog behavior and human lifestyle, love of dogs and conducting business meet most often:

  • client compliance
  • current trends
  • theory and practical application
  • time management
  • planning and goals
  • business in general

Susan provides professional dog trainers with a comprehensive but incisive review of contemporary dog training, its foundations, current state, and future trends – and strategies for applying theoretical knowledge in the field.

Susan is the co-author of Positive Gun Dogs: Clicker Training for Sporting Breeds, the first book published in the United States advocating positive methods for training bird dogs. She is the author of many articles including Starting Your Own Dog Training Business and When to Ask for Help, which were published in the Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ The Dog Trainer’s Resource: The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection. She is also a contributing author to the book “Top Tips From Top Trainers.” She has authored many other articles and book reviews, and is also the author of a column on learning and behavior for the APDT Chronicle of the Dog.


  • CPDT-KA from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers;
  • CDBC from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants; and
  • CTC from the San Francisco SPCA.

Affiliations & Commendations

  • Member, CCPDT Advisory Board
  • 2009-2011 Member, Review Panel Committee for the IAABC
  • 2002-2010 List Manager for the APDTlist
  • Former Membership Coordinator for the IAABC
  • Former member of the Board of Directors of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
  • Past Chair of the APDT Member Relations and Communications Committee
  • Past member of the APDT Sponsorship Committee
  • 2004 APDT Member of the Year
  • 2009 DWAA (Dog Writers of America Award) Nominee for “A Learning Theory Primer” (APDT Chronicle of the Dog) in category “Magazine: subject related series”

A Growing Reputation

Raising Canine was the first business to provide a wide variety of remote courses and seminars to the professional dog training field. These courses provide high-quality, science-based information for training and consulting, as well as established principles for running a business.

Susan and Raising Canine have been able to attract quality speakers who, through remote media, are able to reach a wider audience for a very reasonable price. The remote courses are available live, recorded and on-line. Some courses are simply a lecture format, some are interactive, some require homework, and some are a combination of several media.

Raising Canine also has an on-line school for professional dog trainers. This school is designed for those who wish to become a professional dog trainer, yet cannot spare the time to attend an in-person school. The professional dog trainer course provides in-depth education in the principles of learning and behavior, as well as the practical areas of training and running a dog business.

Raising Canine Today

Raising Canine’s goal has always been to provide quality education, products and services to animal professionals. We have solidified that goal through the creation of a mission statement that keeps our goals in the forefront of our minds, at all times.

Today, Raising Canine is still the largest and best known remote education service within the animal community. We continue to provide cutting edge information to trainers and consultants, as well as dog owners.

Even today, with our vast understanding of behavior and learning, there is still much misunderstanding of this subject within the training world. Raising Canine feels that all animals should be treated humanely and with the most advanced techniques available, and it is our goal to disseminate that information to animal professionals.

Susan’s Journey and Raising Canine’s Start

Susan Smith was born and raised in Alaska. At age 29, she decided it was time to experience the rest of the U.S., so she moved to Texas and opened a Mail Boxes Etc., USA franchise in Austin, Texas. The MBE store gave Susan a good, practical education in running a business.

In the early ‘90s, Susan decided it was time to do something else, so she began exploring her options. She had three criteria: ability to make a comfortable income, flexibility of scheduling and a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment within her work. She was able to eliminate most of the list she came up with through the “enjoyment” factor; however, dog training met all her criteria, so she decided to become a professional dog trainer.

She began apprenticing, reading and training. By 1996 she had sold her business and was building her animal consulting business.

In 2002 she moved to upstate New York to start a sanctuary for unadoptable dogs for the Animal Haven shelter in Queens. Animal Haven had purchased a 30 acre farm and the goal was for the dogs to live in the house with a lifestyle as close to “normal” as possible with aggressive dogs.

Susan spent 3 years starting up and running the sanctuary for unadoptable, primarily aggressive, dogs. The sanctuary was limited to 15 dogs and the dogs lived in the house with Susan. This was a most enlightening experience, and provided an understanding of what clients experience when living with an aggressive dog.

After three years of getting the sanctuary up and running, Susan decided to return to Austin and started thinking about what she wanted to do when she returned. She began consulting with a business coach, defined her criteria and began thinking about what she wanted to accomplish. She came to the conclusion that she wanted to maintain her original three criteria (comfortable income, flexibility and enjoyment), and added the criteria of helping her chosen field become a viable and respected profession.

This led Susan to provide remote, science-based training, consulting and business education to trainers. Today, Raising Canine, LLC has more than 340 on-demand webinars available to professional dog trainers, as well as three extensive on-line courses: Become a Professional Dog Trainer, Understanding Learning Theory, and Good to Great – Take your business to new heights using your own hidden abilities.

Susan currently lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona, where she runs her Internet-based education and consulting business.