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About The Inquisitive Canine

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 certified professional canine behavior consultant, business coach to dog trainers, 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 …


Joan Hunter Mayer Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Joan Hunter Mayer is a certified professional canine behavior consultant, inventor, entrepreneur, and human-canine relationship coach. She founded her Santa Barbara-based dog training business, The Inquisitive Canine in 2005, and today she provides private sessions (in person and virtually) and group classes featuring proven strategies and techniques for humane, pawsitive, practical solutions for a wide range of daily challenges dogs and their humans face.

In addition to being a Fear Free certified pet professional, Joan holds multiple certifications including CBCC-KA and CPDT-KA from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and The Academy for Dog Trainers Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC), as well as Certified Canine Nose Work Instructor from NACSW, certified separation anxiety trainer (CSAT), and Family Paws Parent Educator (FPPE).

Her unique educational background also blends in fashion (Joan graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and spent 14 years in costuming for film and TV), nursing (studied at Ventura College and Stanford Medical School), and business (earned an MBA from Antioch University). The combination of art and science, infused with caring and creativity, is what Joan brings to her work as an advocate for her clients, both two- and four-legged.

All Joan does is for the love of dog; she and her team are dedicated to barking with the pups, cheering for the humans, and having fun!

For more on Joan’s certifications and credentials click here., 

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


Inquisitive Canine Ringo Starr Hunter MayerOn 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 The Inquisitive Canine. Whether it be collaborating on the Doggy Blog posts, 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! He’s quite skilled at K9 Nose Work® and is always working on advanced manners – because it’s just doggone fun. He also enjoys playing fetch, tug, getting his teeth brushed, and being groomed.

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 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.


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