Kelly Gorman Dunbar


Kelly Gorman Dunbar is a cofounder and the executive editor of and a contributing editor at and Animal Cafe.

She is the Founder and President of Open Paw, a non-profit organization devoted to addressing the unwanted animal problem in a whole new way, arming communities worldwide with valuable user and animal friendly training and behavior information with the goal of keeping cats and dogs out of shelters by keeping them in their original homes. Kelly lectures internationally on the principles of Open Paw and consults for animal shelters regarding layout, and staff-and-animal training protocols and procedures.

She is a Director of the Center for Applied Animal Behavior, a multi-faceted business that focuses on teaching people how to train their dogs to be the best canine citizens possible via fun and efficient training techniques involving games and environmental enrichment as rewards for desired behavior. She is a Director for the K9 Games Corporation, a venture dedicated to bringing fun and games to the process of dog training in order to make it easy, entertaining, and accessible for all people, including children.

Kelly recruits and trains the instructors for Dr. Ian Dunbar's SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training company based in Berkeley, CA. She is the creator of the SIRIUS Sniffers scent-dection curriculum and is also in the process of bringing the French sport of cavage to the United States. Kelly has titled her French Bulldog Hugo-Louis via National Association of Canine Scent Work and enjoys competing in both NACSW nose work and AKC rally trials with her dogs.

Blog posts by Kelly Gorman Dunbar

Embedded thumbnail for Flirt Pole Fun!

Flirt Pole Fun!

One of my top tips for students to improve their dog’s training performance is to play interactive games. Play will enhance your relationship with your dog and the stronger your relationship, the better your training will go. 


By interactive games, I mean games that include you, not other dogs. Fetch is a fun game that can reinforce your pup’s desire to return to you, which can help you with your recall. Chase games are great, if exhausting, but only work to your advantage if you are the one chasing your dog, never the other way around. Tug is an awesome way to both build...

training goals require maps

Training Goals

In my last post I wrote about the training process and how it is so important to break every task you’d like a dog to learn into tiny segments in order to orchestrate many frequent, measurable, successful moments to build upon and link together to create an easily navigable staircase to your destination. 

With that in mind, today I’m thinking about goals. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know both where you are today and where you’re headed. One must have a clear starting and end point in mind to properly draw up a functional map. 

This morning as I pondered where I would like to go on...

Tags:  dog training
Belgian Tervuren Mars With Orange

Starting Over In Dog Training

It has been so long since I’ve written anything here at The Dog Star Daily Blog that it feels like I’m starting over. Recently, I’ve started training my young dog, Laz and my new pup, Mars for a dog sport that I haven’t attempted in over ten years. So it kind of feels as though I’m starting over in dog training, too. Here’s to new beginnings! 

As with anything new, it’s a very good idea to break a task down, start with small goals, and gradually increase complexity and duration. At the moment I am being reminded of this daily by my coaches as I plan training sessions for the very long,...

Embedded thumbnail for Give Your Dog The Gift of Sniff with Nosework!

Give Your Dog The Gift of Sniff with Nosework!

It’s no secret what a dog’s nose knows. While we humans have only around 5 million scent receptors, dogs’ olfactory receptors number in the hundreds of millions! Dogs use their noses as a primary source of navigation and information gathering. They use scent-marking a source of communication. Dogs take in scent the way most people take in visual and auditory information.


Yet in our human-centric world, dogs are constantly thwarted or punished for gathering info/exploring/expressing themselves via sniffing and marking.


The human equivalent would be to live with blinders on, our

A boy and his dog.

Fatal Dog Attacks And BSL

There has been a fatal dog attack on a young girl in the UK this week. My heart goes out to the friends and family of Jade Anderson. My heart breaks for their loss. There are no words of comfort I can offer to make things better in this time of tragedy. However, there is much to say regarding the incident. This incident was not unavoidable. Let’s hope that as the media swarms on the sensationalistic aspect of this sort of sad news and as the horror of such an attack leads people to become reactionary and call for blanket bans and breed specific legislation, that common sense and education...

Puppy biting or mouthing.

Puppy Class And Biting, Mouthing Puppies

What is the number one reason for puppy class? To continue to work on puppies’ acquired bite inhibition. Put differently, to teach people how to give appropriate feedback to their mouthy young pup with needle-sharp teeth.


It’s generally the very first question we get at our SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training School, “How do I stop my puppy from biting?”  Even though puppies are pretty tiny and have weak jaws, there pointy little teeth really pack a punch. It is no wonder people don’t want their pups to bite them, but our job at puppy school is to convince people not to punish out

Dove is an Open Paw shelter dog available for adoption from the Alachua County Animal Shelter

Open Paw: Turning Animals Shelters Into Dog and Cat Universities

Hello everyone! It’s been ages since I blogged here at Dog Star Daily and that is a shame. I’ve been very busy with the redesign of the site, revamping puppy training protocols for SIRIUS®, traveling teaching fun scent work games for pet dogs, and with the encouraging boom of Open Paw® shelter training workshops. Regardless, my apologies for staying away for so long!


Have you heard of Open Paw? It’s one of my very favorite projects and I don’t think I’ve ever written about it here on DSD. People like to call it a shelter dog and cat training and behavior program, but I like to call it

Embedded thumbnail for Rufo's Legacy For Shelter Dogs

Rufo's Legacy For Shelter Dogs

Today I saw a lovely video that brought tears of joy to my eyes. It was about the story of Rufo, a shelter dog that spent six years waiting for a new home. The video is sweet and full of hope, however, even though Rufo has a happy ending, his story is both quite sad and unusual.

While I understand why the shelter and all of Rufo’s friends and supporters really wanted to celebrate his triumph, I also fear that Rufo’s story may send the wrong message. I fear more shelters will try to keep dogs languishing or suffering for too long because “they might be the next Rufo”. I fear that people

Normal dog behavior is messy and delightful, just like farm-fresh eggs.

Normal Dog Behavior Is Messy and Delightful, Just Like Farm-Fresh Eggs!

This weekend I was lucky enough to score some farm-fresh, organic eggs from pasture-raised chickens. They are delightful! For me, opening the egg carton to behold the soft palate of pastel-colored eggs of different shapes and sizes was akin to opening a treasure chest. Not to mention the thought of the rich, golden goodness that is waiting inside. Farm eggs look at taste nothing like store-bought factory eggs or even “free-range” eggs produced in giant industrial barns under deplorable conditions. They are more nutritious than industrially produced eggs too.


The woman who gave me the eggs mentioned that a visiting family member would not eat these fabulous gems. The colors and variety in size and shape freaked her out. The eggs were... dirty! They had just come out from underneath the chickens after all. This visitor went on to explain that she would only eat white eggs with an ink stamp of approval from whatever “farm”.


Zou Zou Quietly Occupied By A Knucklebone

Dog Behavior Is Always Changing, Just Like Facebook

How does the hullabaloo over the new changes at Facebook relate to dog behavior, you ask? Well, it’s simple. People don’t like change. They like things to stay the same, tried and true. The inherent problem with this is that things are constantly changing, everything from Facebook, to one’s age, and to even your dog’s behavior at home and while out-and-about. Sometimes that change is for the better, and sometimes, not so much.

A dog’s behavior, is always in motion, it’s fluid, it’s responsive to the environment and the daily feedback it receives. And not just from you!

Just like a drop of water can begin the erosion of earth that eventually produces the Grand Canyon, your dog’s behavior is shaped in tiny increments by every moment in time, every interaction.



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