Susan Ward, MFA,CTC
I was working at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and studying education when I adopted an Australian Cattle dog mix from a shelter in 1993. It quickly became clear that he had potentially serious aggression problems. So I went to see a dog trainer.
The trainer’s aversive training methods appeared to punish out some behaviors and appeared to cause others. I was “dominating” my dog, he passed the CGC test…but he was still aggressive. Now completely obsessed, I moved to San Francisco and interned with the Dog Training department at the SF SPCA.
I studied clicker training and basic learning theory, learning about effective dog training methods that did not involve “corrections”. I was stunned at how so many ‘difficult’ dogs could learn to relax and become less reactive without prong or shock collars. These methods improved my own dog’s behavior and our relationship.
I was lucky enough to go on to work with and study under very smart and thorough trainers. They showed me that educated dog trainers do not need to resort to punishment in order to treat behavior problems. I am really grateful for that lesson.
Now, years after adopting a difficult dog, I am dedicated to training dogs without using pain as a tool. I hope to be as patient in this endeavor as my first “bad dog” was with me.
Susan Ward lives in Brooklyn with her adopted chihuahua mixes Lotte and Valentina.
DingoGirl Dog Training
NYC, NY & The Catskills
Animal Trainer & Behavior Counselor
I conduct group clicker training classes, provide online and phone coaching and private training programs for dogs with behavior problems. I also enjoy working to help improve the dog/ human relationship and help people prevent problems with their dogs.
Animal Behavior Counselor
I evaluated dogs from Humane Law Enforcement cases, owner relinquished dogs and dogs from the City shelters. Designed and enacted behavior modification protocols for shelter animals. Counseled adopters, supervised volunteers and answer questions from the public via phone and email. I appeared on “Animal Precinct” (a television program about The Humane Law Enforcement animals) on Animal Planet.
2003 – 2004
Dingo Girl Dog Training
Dog Trainer and Instructor
Provided private behavior and training consultations for Urban Animal, a pet care company and instructed group classes and individual lessons for Manhattan Dog Training. I conducted individual lessons and group classes for private clients in Brooklyn, Queens & Manhattan.
2001 – 2003
Department of Animal Care and Control
City of San Francisco, CA
On Site Behaviorist
Assisted staff in evaluating the behavior of hundreds of stray dogs in the city shelter. I managed, trained and supervised dog walking and dog training volunteers. Responsibilities included evaluating dogs undergoing hearings to determine if they were vicious and dangerous and submitting written reports to hearing judge. Worked closely with Animal Control Offices and shelter staff to assess and treat shelter dogs. Evaluated & trained several hard to place dogs from the shelter in my home. Conducted group classes for the public and encouraged volunteers to attend with shelter dogs including the only group class available in the San Francisco area for aggressive dogs with Sharon Newman MS, former Director of Dog Training at the San Francisco SPCA and Board Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Counseled clients in individual training sessions.
1999 – 2000
Dingo Girl Dog Training
San Francisco CA
I co-taught group classes, including Difficult Dog and Canine Good Citizenship preparation, with Sharon Newman, MS at K9 to 5, a dog daycare facility and consulted individual clients, primarily with aggression issues in my own practice.
1998 – 1999
San Francisco SPCA
San Francisco CA
Animal Trainer & Instructor
I instructed group classes open to the public and designed the syllabi for the first clicker classes ever taught at the SPCA. I counseled the public over the phone ‘help’ line.
1997 – 1998
SF SPCA Department of Dog Training
San Francisco, CA
I observed and assisted in teaching hundreds of dog training classes for the public and trained shelter dogs awaiting adoption. I trained pit bulls who were up for adoption for the Canine Good Citizenship test. I worked with a T-Touch practitioner on pit bulls up for adoption.
Joined the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and began to attend dog training seminars and workshops.
Consulted public over phone help line; completed administrative and clerical tasks.
1996 – 1997
Observed group classes and private consultations.
CBS Early Show
How to Control Fido With A Clicker, Nov. 9, 2004
Segment featured my puppy clicker class, interview and demonstrations.
Animal Precinct, Animal Planet Channel
Seasons 3 & 4, 2003- 2004
This is a series about Humane Law Enforcement’s work with animals at the ASPCA. I appeared in segments about evaluating and training neglected and abused dogs rescued by the HLE officers.
I appeared as In House Behaviorist at the SF city shelter in this episode about Vicious and Dangerous dog hearings.
(a partial list of classes, seminars and workshops includes the following):
I attend webinars regularly, read studies and newly published books and discuss training and behavior excessively with my colleagues every day.
2005 Temperament or Training, When to Treat Aggression, Sue Sternberg, All About Dogs, NY NY
2004 Treating Aggression, Steve White, ASPCA NY NY
2001 Advanced Instructor’s Training Course, Rondout
Valley Kennel, Accord, NY
Instructors: Donna Duford, Pia Silvani, & Sue
The Pitbull Dilemma, Overpopulation in City
Shelters, New York City ASPCA, NY NY
2000 Association of Pet Dog Trainers Educational Conference, Houston TX
Presenters included Jean Donaldson, Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor and Turid Rugaas
1999 In House Dog Training Academy, Instructor: Jean Donaldson, SF SPCA,
San Francisco CA
Live Long and Prosper, Instructor: Sue Sternberg, Rondout Valley Kennels, Accord NY
Temperament Evaluations of Shelter Dogs; Handling Aggressive & Difficult Dogs, Sue Sternberg, SF SPCA
1998 Gary Wilkes’ 2-Day Clicker Training Workshop,
Sonoma County Obedience Club, Sonoma CA
Karen Pryor: Clicker Training Workshop, Marin
Humane Society, Novato CA
1997 Cutting Edge Dog Training; Jean Donaldson, Marin Humane Society, Novato CA
Temperament Evaluations of Shelter Dogs; Handling Aggressive & Difficult Dogs, Sue Sternberg, Marin Humane Society
Fears and Phobias, Compulsive Disorders, Food Bowl Guarding and Medical Causes of House soiling, Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, DMV, Marin Humane Society
APDT Educational Conference, Memphis TN
Presenters included Pam Reid, Trish King, John Rogerson and Karen Pryor
1994 – 1995 Coursework for Bachelors of Arts in Education, University of Illinois, Chicago
1991 Masters of Fine Arts in Painting, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL
1989 Bachelors of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia PA