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

The Gift of Dog

I get a little nostalgic at this time of year, thinking of the people and 4-legged critters I’ve been fortunate to share my life with thus far. Luckily, Karen Wild and Intellidogs provided me with the perfect outlet to reflect and share some of my best canine memories and lessons learned through my dogs. It’s been a wonderful opportunity because there is no better gift than The Gift of Dog. Please check out my submission to the Intellidogs' doggy-advent calendar and take a moment to share what you’ve learned from the dogs of your Christmases past and present.

Happy holidays!


Batteries Not Included

We live in the age of technology. A world of entertainment and convenience at our fingertips, on demand movies and entertainment, 24 hour shopping online, pills to help us sleep when we need it, fresh produce of any kind regardless of the season, cars and jets to take us where we want to go in mere hours. You get the picture, we’re pretty used to getting what we want when we want it, on our schedules.

However, some things in life do not come with a power switch or auto-programming options, and a dog is one of them.


Is NILIF Nasty?

Recently I read a piece that lumped NILIF into the “nasty” category of dog training tools. My initial response was, "that’s preposterous"! But then I got to thinking…

The article mentioned, among other things, that using NILIF is stressful “because the dog loses all predictability and routine in his life, and loses all control of access to all of the rewarding elements of his life”.

The article also unhappily implied that NILIF is a rank reduction program based on the (faulty) belief that dogs need humans to be a surrogate “pack leader” or alpha in order to respect us enough to “follow our orders”.  

You may ask, what is NILIF?


Italian Lesson

I’m in Italy this week and it’s absolutely lovely. The September weather is ideal, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze; there’s a perfect mix in the air of the fading bloom of summer into the crispness of the promise for a spectacular fall. The golden landscape is gorgeous and each town we visit has a rich past and plenty of historical sites to prove it. The people are friendly are and of course the food and wine are divine!  

However, as wonderful as it is, it’s also been stressful. You see, I don’t speak Italian, and, especially in the small villages we’re mainly visiting not that many people speak English.


Just Do It

Are you a dog-lover? If so, one of the very best things you can do for dogs is to teach them how to best navigate our human society. The standard is high, and getting higher every day, especially with the threat of anti-dog legislation breathing down our necks. For dogs to continue to succeed as our constant companion in today’s world, they need to be mannerly and social, comfortable around people, and savvy enough to stay out of “trouble”.

Training is one of the best things you can do for a dog. Providing exercise and appropriate outlets for natural doggy behaviors is another, and actually facilitates the training process as well. Socialization is the third component is this triad of canine triumph.


Ian & I AudioWoo!

I’m loving the new forms of communication that are cropping up on the web. Audio is really having a resurgence.

My new favorite resource is Audioboo. It allows you to post short audio clips, pics, and even shows your posting location coordinates. I tried my own out first, asking for feedback on a difficult question that was recently posed to me. And then promptly convinced Ian to give it a try with me as well. We talked about aggression at dog parks.

Do let me know what you think via Twitter or here in the comments section.

Adios de Mexico!


Best Accomplishments

 Lately on The DSD Dog Blog there has been lots of talk about what not to do when training dogs, who is wrong and why, etc. This kind of discourse can be useful, but often simply deteriorates into ugliness and intolerance. I’d like to step away from that for a moment to focus on the good stuff in dog training by asking our readers: 

What dog training/behavior accomplishment are you most proud of in you and your dog? What is your proudest moment and/or best achievement? How did you get there? 


Does Your Dog Have A Job?

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day and lots of people who don’t normally take their dog along with them to their workplace will do so today. Hopefully it will go well. A dog’s got to be well trained, socialized, and have a solid temperament in order to both enjoy the experience and serve as a model canine ambassador to help persuade more businesses to become dog-friendly year round. So please only take your dog to work with you if he or she is ready for it.

There are many benefits to dog ownership, such as mood elevation and stress reduction, most of which could also benefit people in the workplace.


Dog-Friendly Summer Tips With A Twist

Summer is here and animal lovers are being inundated with important safety tips such as how to keep your dog cool, symptoms of heat stroke, and reminders not to leave dogs in parked cars – especially with the window up! This information is terribly important and I implore you to read all of the tips you come across on the topic even if they seem redundant because it’s info that could save a life.


Angels and Expectations

I just finished reading Nicole Wilde’s blog post musing about how we humans are often surprised and disappointed when our dog doesn’t like another dog. There are probably a few reasons why we react the way we do.  One may be embarrassment.  Generally when a dog doesn’t “like” another dog it is communicated by growls or snaps, occasionally by pinning or biting too.

There can be harsh social consequences for owners of dogs that dare to vocalize or act like a dog in public (butt sniffing? …And Dog forbid if they hump!); it makes us owners a bit squirmy and overly-apologetic, not to mention overbearing, interfering, busybodies in our dogs social lives.



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