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About Joan and Poncho

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 (adopted June 2003, transitioned July 2015), 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 was a 10-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 this day has 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 tushy 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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