Hello! For more than 25 years now, I have been working to put an end to harsh, punishment-based training by helping dog owners and trainers understand and use positive, humane, state-of-the-art techniques. Throughout, I have taken no personal income for my work in this field and this outreach program now helps dogs and their owners on four continents. I regard this work as my way of tithing whatever talents God has generously granted me.
A Matter of Principles
Much of the success owners have experienced in using my approach is based upon the ethological principle that dogs, as a species, tend to cluster into groupings and have clearly defined interactions for determining rank order or "who's in charge." So an important part of my work consists of helping humans understand how dogs communicate with one another and adapting our own interactions with our dogs to ways that dogs understand best. Regardless of a dog's disposition, I have found over the years that when there's harmony in the "pack," there's sweet music in the home. I do volunteer work for canine rescue groups and provide feature articles without charge to national breed publications. I also host and maintain two, free discussion groups on line for owners and trainers who want to seek my guidance without charge.
I serve as an expert witness on canine behavior in courts of law and in legal proceedings, particularly in aggression cases. Currently, I have been qualified as an expert witness in canine-behavior cases in five states and the District of Columbia and have maintained my neutrality and objectivity in serving both plaintiffs and defendants in near equal measure.
My books, training manuals, pamphlets, audio-recording systems, and related products are based upon years of studying animal and human behavior, pursuing research, training my own dogs, and helping others succeed with their dogs. My seminars and presentations cover the full-range of dog behavior and training. I have been the About Dogs column Editor for Quail Unlimited, a conservation magazine, since 1989 and am also the former dogs editor/columnist for Guns & Gear. In addition, I served as a regular contributing writer to Off-Lead magazine for a number of years and my feature articles are published in several national magazines and on various websites.
Serving without Judging
Some people question why I carry "crossover" materials in my catalog. The reasons are consistent with my dedication to saving dogs from abuse. My publications that cover the use of electronic collars and chokechains simply recognize that people use these devices. Therefore, the least I can do is to provide well-researched information that will: 1) Help them understand the principles behind their use so they don't make their dogs even worse, 2) try to guide them away from punishment uses and into escape-avoidance uses, and 3) show them the value of behavior-based teaching and how to use positive reinforcement in dog training. Not judging others in these areas enables me to fill an immediate need for those who do use these training tools and establish a point of contact that allows me to continue to help people learn new, far-more-effective methods of training, and feel good about how they train their dogs. In all of my work in this field, my goal is always to do all I can to help people train dogs humanely and successfully.
Stephen Rafe owns and hosts two online discussion groups on canine behavior and training exclusively for friends, professionals, customers, and others who would like to benefit from his methods without charge.
To join his all-breeds group go to:
To join his group exclusively for training sporting breeds for the field, go to:
Whatever skills I possess, God has given me as a sacred trust for the good of all so that man’s best friend may continue to benefit for generations to come.