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About Joan and Poncho

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For the love of dogs …

About Joan Mayer, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Ever since the Inquisitive Canine was founded in 2005, Joan 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.

See Joan’s Education »She offers dog training, behavior consulting and community education programs locally in Santa Barbara, as well as online coaching globally.


A dog training approach mixing art with science

Joan has always been interested in canine behavior. Mother to Poncho, her 10-pound mutt and sidekick, she understands the challenges that both humans and dogs face in everyday life, and offers practical solutions for making any situation work. In fact, to her, dog training is both an art and a science, and she’s got a background in both fields: She not only studied nursing at Ventura College and Stanford Medical School, but also graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and spent 14 years in costuming for film and TV. As a result, Joan is both able to think outside the creative box of a training program — as is evident in her Out of the Box Dog Training Game — and intuit information from her clients and her four-legged students to help decipher the needs of their humane-canine relationships.

Joan draws on her education and experience daily, using smart instincts, warmth, empathy, perseverance and patience to teach dog parents how to teach their dogs.


About Poncho, the original inquisitive canine

Poncho is a 10-pound mutt who knows a lot about human and canine behavior. The first couple years of his life consisted of living in a situation that to this day has remained top-secret – even from his parents. He’s been sworn to secrecy, so it’s best not to ask. Upon completing that position, 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 15th – of 2003 – and has been proving that this was been a match made in heaven ever since. He’s been told that he gets his good looks, love of tennis balls, and cute tushy from his dad, and his love of physical activity and temperament from his mom – she seems to have a terrier personality behind the wheel of a car.

As the original inquisitive canine, Poncho keeps busy 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 spends 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 are delivered, food tasting, product testing for various dog training and enrichment toys, reminding his mom when it’s time to take a break and get some sunshine, and lap warming duties.

To help keep up with his own skills, Poncho attends paws-on training workshops with his mom (and sometimes dad too). He feels continuing education is as important for his own well-being, as much as it is for certified dog trainers. A few of the conferences he’s attended in the past include Clicker Expo, scent work with i2iK9 Steve White, the annual meeting of Association of Pet Dog Trainers, various workshops at the Academy his mom attended, Get SMART with Kathy Sdao, and of course the events he and his mom have hosted together.

During times of R&R, Poncho enjoys going on outings with his mom and dad, visiting friends, socializing with other dogs and people, attending agility class, nappies in the backyard, going for walkies, helping his mom train for marathons, play-dates with doggy friends and their parents, traveling, running errands, and playing hide ‘n’ seek with his folks.