UPDATED – 2023-06-13
Websites, Blogs, Facebook Pages & Instagram
(NOTE: both blogs are currently undergoing major updates, as is the Green Acres Kennel Shop webpage)
I have been invited to speak in person and online throughout the USA, Canada, Japan, and the Caribbean. Additionally, I have given many presentations in Maine for dog clubs, animal shelters and rescues, dog parks, and veterinary clinics. Topics have included; alternative and complementary therapies for pets, Bach Flower Remedies, canine behavior, clicker training, dog parks, marketing your business, pet nutrition, human learning styles, teaching trainers, therapy dogs, trends in the dog training profession, and more.
If you are interested in inviting me to speak, you can learn more about me in this document
I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember. After a 17-year career in the medical device industry, my wife Paula and I joined the ranks of pet care professionals when we purchased the Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, Maine, in 1995. Since then, we and our team have provided pet-friendly boarding, daycare, grooming, training classes, and behavioral consultations to thousands of people and their pets. In 2020, when COVID prevented many pets from getting the socialization and training they needed, I started a second company, ForceFreePets.com, to provide online education to pet parents and professionals. It has proved to be an excellent means of delivering education, and I am expanding our online offerings.
I was fortunate to become a pet care professional when humankind’s knowledge about pets saw significant advances in scientific research. What we have learned has dramatically altered our understanding of animal behavior, cognition, emotions, inter-species communications, how pets experience and express stress, and their basic welfare needs.
This new knowledge has refuted many long-standing myths about why pets do what they do, requiring us to rethink how we treat and care for them. They need much more than a warm, dry place to sleep, food, physical exercise, and “love.”. Therefore, we must commit to learning more about them to meet all their needs. That includes understanding each unique species has different physical, mental, and emotional needs while also understanding each pet is an individual with their own personality.
This new knowledge has given rise to new ethical standards in our industry that are essential to allow our pets to have a long and happy life. As pet care professionals, I believe we must all thoroughly understand these ethical standards and help communicate them to other professionals and our clients. That means the pet’s welfare is our top priority, and we must always treat them with kindness, never using force or causing pain or fear.
At this point in my life, I am closer to the end of my career as a pet care professional than I am to the beginning. Therefore, I choose to use the time I have left to help educate others in the pet care professions and people with pets about how they and their pets can forge a trust-based relationship for their entire life.
I have earned several credentials over the years. I was one of 20 individuals chosen to develop the first nationwide certification exam for dog training professionals launched in 2001.
- Pet Professional Accreditation Board, Professional Canine Behavior Consultant, #63759711 (PCBC-A), 2022-present
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, IAABC #207, 2005-2022
- The Dr. Edward Bach Foundation, Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner, PIN-UKP-2003-1215H, 2003-present
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CCPDT #1010007, 2001-2022
Leadership Roles Within the Profession
As a child, I was taught the importance of giving back to my community and those that share my profession. I have served the following organizations in a wide variety of roles.
- Pet Industry Advocacy International (PIAI), founding director, 2022-present
- Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Board of Directors, 2021-present
- Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Advocacy Division and Shock-Free Coalition, member, 2016-present
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Board of Trustees, three years as Board Chair 2002-2007, 2011-2013.
- Maine Animal Welfare Advisory Council, 2006-2011
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee developed the first certification exam for professional dog trainers, 1998-2001
- Bangor Humane Society Board of Directors, including five years as president, 1996 to 2011.
- PPG Advocacy Panel – How do the Guiding Principles differ from LIMA?, June 2023
- PPG Advocacy Panel –The Most Misunderstood Facts About Dogs – Part 1, April 2023
- PPG Advocacy Panel – Words Matter-How the words we choose influence human behavior, March 2023
- PPG Advocacy Panel – Anthropomorphism – Is it relevant?, February 2023
- PPG Advocacy Panel – What do you do when you’re the only force-free professional in town?, January 2023
- PPG Advocacy Panel – An Introduction to the PPG Advocacy Division and Our Mission, October 2022
- Chat Time on Positive Pet Advice-Some Myths and Facts About Pet Nutrition, Facebook, January 22, 2017
- Chat Time on Positive Pet Advice-“Training The Trainers – The Education of Trainers,” Facebook, September 25, 2016
- Building Your Business Through Community Engagement and Leadership, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, Hartford, CT – October 2014
- A Rationale and Plan for Incorporating APDT C.L.A.S.S. Into Your Training Curriculum, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, Spokane, WA – October 2013
- Animals as Therapeutic Agents – Seventh Annual University of Maine Clinical Geriatrics Colloquium: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Older Adults, Point Lookout-Northport, ME, May 7, 2012
- Holistic and Complementary Healthcare – A Pet Parent’s Perspective – APDT Webinar, March 24, 2011
- Bach Flowers for Pets – Centre for Applied Canine Behavior, Kanata, ON, Canada, April 4, 2009, and April 5, 2009
- Introduction to Bach Flower Remedies – Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers Annual Educational Conference, April 20, 2008
- Trends in Training – The Evolution of a Pet Care Professional – Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers Annual Educational Conference, April 19, 2008
- Trends in Training – The Evolution of a Pet Care Professional – American Boarding Kennel Association Pet Expo, March 13, 2008
- Promoting Your Services Through Effective Marketing, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, Kansas City, Mo – September 2006
- Teaching to Your Students Learning Style, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO – September 2006
- Using Bach Flower Essences to Treat Ourselves and Our Pets, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, San Jose, CA – September 17, 2005
- A Pet Guardian’s Perspective on Holistic and Complementary Healthcare, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, San Jose, CA – September 15, 2005
- The Bach Flower Essences and Their Use in Resolving Behavior Problems – Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference, Denver, CO – October 2, 2004
- An Introduction to the Use of Bach Flower Essences with Pets – Japan Canine Good Citizen Association, Tokyo Japan – July 25, 2004
- An Introduction to the Use of Bach Flower Essences with Pets –Aigo Center, Achi Japan – July 20, 2004
- An Introduction to the Use of Bach Flower Essences with Pets – Animal Fancier’s Club, Tochigi Japan – July 17th – 19th, 2004
- Introduction to Canine Behavior, Communication, Learning and Training with Operant Conditioning – Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, November 8th and 11th, 2002
- A Pet Guardians Perspective on Holistic and Complementary Veterinary Care – Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, November 8th and 11th, 2002
- Resolving Behavior Problems with Classical Conditioning – Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, November 9, 2002
Don loves writing for his two blogs; Green Acres Kennel Shop and ForceFreePets.com. He has also written a monthly column for Downeast Dog News since 2006. He has also written articles for; The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, APDT Dog Trainers Resource, The Bangor Daily News, BARKS from the Guild, Maine DOG Magazine, Off Lead & Animal Behavior, Pets and Their People, and The Maine Edge.