The Inquisitive Canine, founded in 2005 by certified dog trainer Joan Hunter Mayer, is devoted to offering humane, pawsitive, practical solutions that work for the challenges dogs and their humans face in everyday life. We are dedicated to barking with the dogs, cheering for the humans, and having fun!

Joan sees dog training as both an art and a science, and brings to all private dog training and classes proven strategies and techniques to strengthen the human-canine bond.

Based in Santa Barbara, California, the Inquisitive Canine not only works in the local areas but also transcends geographical boundaries by offering virtual dog training via live online video conferencing as well. As a professional canine behavior consultant and sought after public speaker, Joan presents both community and corporate programs in an ongoing effort to not just help people train their dogs, but to create an entire culture shift where dog owners are empowered to enhance the bonds they have with their dogs, and make the world a friendly place for all inquisitive canines.


For the love of dogs …

Ever since the Inquisitive Canine was founded in 2005, Joan Hunter Mayer’s life has gone to the dogs — and she couldn’t be happier! A certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Joan not only loves seeing her canine students succeed, but also enjoys empowering dog parents with a valuable education to enhance their relationships with their dogs for life.

She offers dog training, behavior consulting and community education programs locally in Santa Barbara, as well as online coaching globally.

See Joan’s Credentials


Ringo Starr Hunter Mayer: Current CCO (Chief Canine Officer)

On the search for a more fulfilling life, Ringo Starr Hunter Mayer made his way from the streets of Los Angeles to his new home and office in sunny Santa Barbara, California. (With help from the kind and caring folks of the L.A. County shelter and animal advocacy group Ken-Mar Rescue and Petfinder).

Being a smart, tenacious, and lively inquisitive canine, Ringo adapted quickly to his new role as both family member and CCO — that’s Chief Canine Officer.

He enjoys spending his days working with Joan, helping her run both The Inquisitive Canine and TransPaw Gear. Whether it be collaborating on the Doggy Blog posts, testing harnesses, composing updates and tweets, or working on new behaviors or tricks, he’s always the first one in the office and last to leave.

In his personal life, Ringo enjoys going for walks and jogs with mom, having park outings and coffee bistro dates with dad, attending dog training classes, running errands, and eating meals with the whole family.

Ringo loves to learn and attends classes whenever he can. He’s currently working on advanced manners and Therapy Dog skills, as he enjoys responsibilities these special canines provide.

Playing fetch, tug, and training games is always a good time to be had for this inquisitive canine. Being athletic, he looks forward to getting involved with doggy sports and specialty classes, especially Nose Work — because he considers sniffing a great way to cross-train.


Poncho Gonzales Hunter Mayer…the original Inquisitive Canine

Poncho was a ten-pound mutt who knew a lot about human and canine behavior. The first couple years of his life consisted of living in a situation that to remained top secret — even from his parents. Upon completing that mission, he ended up living in the home of a private dog rescue organization called Animal Kind Rescue. He adopted his mom and dad on Father’s Day, June 15, 2003, and continued to prove they were the perfect match until he left the Earth in July 2015. Throughout his life here, he was told he got his good looks, love of tennis balls and cute tushie from his dad, and his temperament and love of physical activity from his mom, who seems to have a terrier personality behind the wheel of a car.

As the original inquisitive canine, things Poncho enjoyed while on Earth included helping run the family business, blogging about dog training tips, writing his Pooch’s Perspective column for Edhat and co-writing Dear Inquisitive Canine with his mom. He also spent his days helping his mom practice her dog training skills, assisting in dog training classes, running security, answering emails, alerting when the mail or packages were delivered, food tasting, product testing for various dog training and enrichment toys, reminding his mom when to take a break and get some sunshine, as well as lap warming duties.

Education was a big part of Poncho’s life with his mom. They attended paws-on training workshops together (and sometimes dad would join in). He believed continuing education to be important for his own well-being, as much as it is for certified dog trainers. A few of the conferences he attended included Clicker Expo, Scent Work with i2iK9 Steve White, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ Annual Meeting, various workshops at the Academy his mom attended, Get SMART with Kathy Sdao, and, of course, the events he and his mom hosted together.

Hoping to inspire other inquisitive canines to take a bite out of life, Poncho wrote a letter from the Great Beyond to his family. His legacy lives on, and his light continues to shine on every aspect of Inquisitive Canine, Inc.