By Susan Smith of Raising Canine, LLC

Susan Smith of Raising Canine, LLC has recently moved to the San Tan Valley from Texas to be closer to her family. Susan has been training dogs for over twenty years and provides dog training services to owners who want their dog to learn basic manners, or who are having behavioral problems with their dog. She offers in-home, one-on-one consultations for puppy training, basic manners, behavior problems (from barking to aggression!), and preparation for special occasions. Susan comes to your home and tailors the training plan to your specific needs.

Susan uses science-based methods for the training and behavior modification of animals. She believes that the best way for owners to create a bond with their dog is for everyone to understand what’s expected of them. Therefore, her goals are to help owners understand how to get good behavior from their dog, make training as fun as possible for the animal and the owner; to resolve behavior problems without doing any harm; and – most importantly – to create a happy, harmonious environment for everyone. 

In addition to her dog training services, Susan also provides continuing education for professional dog trainers. She pioneered remote, on-line education in the dog training industry and has over three hundred on-demand webinars for dog trainers, as well as more in-depth programs, such as her course for those wanting to become a professional dog trainer.

Because dogs live very different lives than they did just a few years ago, behavior problems that didn’t used to exist or be a problem, are now very disruptive for the entire family. Exercise and mental enrichment are two areas where dogs need help – they used to get these needs satisfied on their own, but now must rely on their human families to provide.

Because of these fundamental lifestyle changes in dogs, behavior problems can be very complex. It’s no longer simply about teach a dog to sit or walk nicely on a leash. We now often deal with aggression and anxiety resulting from the dogs’ lifestyle.

Because of these new types of behavioral problems, Susan is committed to turning the profession of animal consulting into a respected and educated field. To accomplish this goal, she is actively involved in various professional organizations including the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She believes in and is committed to a national certification for trainers as well as formal education and continuing online education for all animal consultants. Susan works with both owners and consultants to educate and help in every way she can.

Susan spent 3 years running a sanctuary for un-adoptable, primarily aggressive, dogs. The sanctuary was limited to 15 dogs and the dogs lived in the house with Susan. This was a most enlightening experience, and provided her with an understanding of what clients experience when living with an aggressive dog. 

Susan’s Start

Susan was born and raised in Alaska. In her late twenties, she decided it was time to experience the rest of the U.S., so she moved to Texas and opened a Mail Boxes Etc., USA franchise (now the UPS Store) in Austin, Texas. The MBE store gave Susan a good, practical education in running a business.

In the early ‘90s, Susan decided it was time to do something else, so she began exploring her options. She had three criteria: ability to make a comfortable income, flexibility of scheduling and a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment within her work. She was able to eliminate most of the list she came up with through the “enjoyment” factor; however, dog training met all her criteria.

She began apprenticing, reading and training. By 1996 she had sold her MBE business and was building her animal consulting business.

In 2002 she moved to upstate New York to start a sanctuary for un-adoptable dogs for the Animal Haven shelter in Queens. Animal Haven had purchased a 30 acre farm and the goal was for the dogs to live in the house with a lifestyle as close to “normal” as possible with aggressive dogs.

After almost four years, during which she got the sanctuary up and running, Susan decided to return to Austin and started thinking about what she wanted to do when she returned. She began consulting with a business coach, defined her criteria and began thinking about what she wanted to accomplish. She came to the conclusion that she wanted to maintain her original three criteria, and added the criteria of helping her chosen field become a viable and respected profession.

This led Susan to provide, online, science-based training, consulting and business education to dog trainers, in addition to dog training services.

Susan is the co-author of Positive Gun Dogs: Clicker Training for Sporting Breeds, the first book published in the United States advocating positive methods for training bird dogs. She is the author of many articles including Starting Your Own Dog Training Business and When to Ask for Help, which were published in the Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ The Dog Trainer’s Resource: The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection. She is a contributing author for the book “Top Tips from Top Trainers.” She has authored many other articles and book reviews, and is also the author of a column on learning and behavior for the APDT Chronicle of the Dog.


  • CPDT-KA from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers;
  • CDBC from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants; and
  • CTC from the San Francisco SPCA.

Affiliations & Awards

  • Former member of the Board of Directors of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers;
  • Former member Review Panel Committee for the IAABC;
  • Former member Advisory Board for the CCPDT;
  • APDT Member of the year;
  • Former Discussion List Manager for the APDT list (8 years);
  • Former Membership Coordinator for the IAABC;
  • Past Chair of the APDT Member Relations and Communications Committee;
  • Past committee member for the APDT Member Relations and Communications Committee; and
  • Past member of the APDT Sponsorship Committee.

To contact Susan for training services, you can go to her website (which is still being designed – but is up and running!), e-mail her at, or call her at 512-916-4007. You can also check out her website if you’re interested in more advanced education.