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

Observation From Africa

I'm in South Africa right now, where the landscape is stunning and the animals are captivating. I don't know about you, but when I think of Africa I think of exotic beasts, lions, zebra, buffalo, crocodile, antelope and the like. I don't really think of dogs, but of course they are here. Domestic dogs and their people are what brought use to South Africa after all – Ian & I just completed a lecture series in Cape Town and Johannesburg.


A Major Issue

It seems that soon there will be a new dog in the White House that will also have to learn to deal with the press and other stressors of large scale public service that go along with being the First Dog of America.

If the Obamas do indeed get a puppy, there will be plenty of time for early socialization which can help a dog grow to be confident and social in most situations and with a wide array of people. I do hope they are able to find the time to fit a reputable puppy class into their busy schedules. Because early socialization and training is a key component to a harmonious relationship with a dog.

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Lions, and Skunks, and Cows! Oh My!

Not long ago I encountered an unusual, yet very good, reason to teach your dog to come when called happily and as fast as lightening, no matter the distraction. As dog lovers, we already know that a rock-solid, really reliable recall is not only extremely convenient, but could also save your dog’s life. However, when I got a frantic call from my next door neighbor one day the importance of training for safety really sunk in for me on a whole new level.

It was 10:30 in the morning and my neighbor called to let me know that there was a mountain lion in her back yard and that her gardener had come across it and accidentally scared it into heading in my direction – possibly into my back yard – where my dogs were hanging out and lounging in the sun.


A Girl & Her Dog

When I was a kid my dog Charlie Brown (a.k.a. Boo) was my very best friend. I picked him out when I was just five years old and he had the grace to stay with me through my final year of high school.  Through all the ups and downs of growing from young child to adult he was both my rock of support and my soft, furry, pillow of comfort. He allowed me to dress him up when I was young, accompanied me to show-and-tell, escorted me home from the school bus stop every day (hey, those were simpler times), and later licked away the tears from my first heartbreak. It’s not an unusual story, I know, the story of a kid and her dog, but the memories mean a lot to me.

Recently I encountered a different kind of story about a girl and her dog, one that breaks the mold and takes partnership to a whole new level.

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Desperate Times Call For PUPPIES!

Back in June when the financial crisis was just budding I wrote about how to make the best of a stressful situation by hanging out with your dog. All of us dog lovers already know how dogs reduce our stress and enhance our lives, it is no secret. As the late Charles M Schulz said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Now, as the financial crisis goes global, it seems the idea of doggy-delight-as-respite is really catching on.

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Mining Dog Star Daily's Resources — Fear

Here at Dog Star Daily we are fortunate to have the contributions of many great minds. So I decided to take advantage of it on behalf of our readers. You may have noticed a lot of talk about fearfulness in our blogs recently. That is because this week I asked our resident bloggers for their insights and opinions on the topic of fearfulness in dogs. Some of them answered in blogs of their own, as in these pieces by Nicole Wilde, Gillian Ridgeway, and Drayton Michaels.

Others responded to me directly and here are the questions I posed:

Reinforcing Fear?
Is it wrong to offer a food reward or to pet to a dog that is displaying fear?
Is this just reassuring the dog or reinforcing the unwanted behavior?

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A Call For Canine Commendation (Inspiration Included)

I'm in lush and lovely Dublin at the moment and this morning while having my porridge and tea I came across The Sunday Poem in the Sunday Independent newspaper. Much to my delight this week's poem is about dogs; divine coincidence!

It is a fun poem, I’ve included it below, and it jolted my memory about a poem I wrote at the passing of Ivan, my first dog as an adult. I am not generally known for my poetry skills, but the love and loss of one of my very dearest companions inspired me to take up my pen. As I grieved the loss of him in body, I also feared the loss of the intangibles. The sweet happiness he brought to me, his playful demeanor, all of the nicknames I had for him, and his silly and unique wooo-wooo-wooo that I’d never hear again. So I felt compelled to write it all down.


Dodman & Dunbar Discuss Drugs & Dogs

Two of Dog Star Daily’s bloggers, Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Dr. Ian Dunbar, were featured in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine cover story, Animal Pharm, about the role of pharmacology in treating behavior problems in dogs. It is a little known fact that Dodman and Dunbar are old pals who bonded more than 30 years ago over their mutual interest in resolving animal behavior problems. Interestingly, the two men went about their work from different perspectives and have met up again in the middle where intervention via medication and training intersects.

Hugo rarin' to go!

A Different Kind of Fireworks

On the 4th of July we celebrated a friend’s birthday by going over to her house to make her dinner and hang out and watch fireworks over the San Francisco Bay from her veranda. Our friend only lives two doors down from us and after the meal I went to our house to pick up Hugo, our youngest dog, so he could hang out with us at our friend’s house during the fireworks. I didn’t anticipate a problem, he is a little over a year old and was born before last 4th of July, but he was so young last year and this would be his first year hearing fireworks while in his adolescent-mildly-reactive phase. I wanted to keep an eye on him just in case he got spooked.

Hugo did just fine with the noise and commotion; in fact it didn’t faze him at all. After the display we went home to settle down with a movie for the remainder of the evening.


Confessions of a Doggy-Mama

For the first time ever, I’ve got a small dog. This means that sometimes he sits on my lap while I work at my desk. He is good at it, as a breed from the AKC’s non-sporting group it’s one of the many things he’s been bred to do, just hang out.

The other day while I was sitting at my desk looking at my calendar (with Hugo on my lap) I realized that it was Hugo’s one-year anniversary for the day he came to live with us. So I decided to take a commemorative picture using the Photo Booth program on my Mac.



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