Meet Our Speakers

Introducing our #ABSS19 Speakers! You won’t want to miss this line-up.

Keynote Speaker:

Jean Donaldson

Director, Academy of Dog Trainers

Jean is the founder and principle instructor of The Academy for Dog Trainers. The Academy has trained and certified over 800 trainers in evidence-based dog behavior, training, teaching and behavior counseling since 1999. She is a four-time winner of The Dog Writers’ Association of America’s Maxwell Award, and her books include The Culture Clash, Oh Behave! Dogs From Pavlov to Premack to Pinker, and Train Like a Pro. In 2017, Jean was recruited to create Dog Training 101 for The Great Courses.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Jean founded the Montreal Flyball Association, and Renaissance Dog Training, the first positive reinforcement-based school and counseling service in the province. Her own dogs and dogs she has trained have earned numerous titles and wins in a variety of dog sports, including OTCh, TDX, HIT and FDCh. While a student, she worked as an adoption counselor at the Montreal SPCA and later served on its Board of Directors. Before founding The Academy, Jean did exclusively referral aggression cases for six years. She lives in Oakland, California, with her dog, Brian, adopted in 2015.

With Sessions By:

Renee Erdman

Renée Erdman, CTC, ACDBC, DipCBST, VSPDT owner/trainer, BravoDog

Renée prides herself in coaching humans and their dogs to achieve success in overcoming training challenges and behaviour issues. Her effective training programs, group classes and one-on-one coaching sessions provide accessible training to suit your schedule. Renée is recommended by veterinarians and spends a great deal of time volunteering her time for shelters and rescue groups.

Debbie A. Martin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, LVT, VTS (Behavior)

Co-owner, Veterinary Behavior Consultations, LLC (Spicewood, TX)

Debbie is a Licensed Veterinary Technician, Veterinary Technician Specialist (Behavior), Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, Karen Pryor Academy Faculty Emeritus, and Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed. With an interest in child development, Debbie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology from Ohio State University. Debbie then went on to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology. She has been a full-time registered/licensed veterinary technician since 1996 and has been the Animal Behavior Technician for Veterinary Behavior Consultations since 2005. She is a member of The Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Debbie is a Fear Free Certified Professional Level 3.

Debbie is a also a frequent lecturer at veterinary conferences and speaks internationally in the dog training world, including ClickerExpo. Debbie is a published author and her writing has been featured in the Veterinary Technician, Today’s Veterinary Technician, and American Veterinarian journals. She is co-editor and a contributing author to the text Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses and Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice –Behavior. Debbie Martin and Dr. Martin co-authored Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog book and the acclaimed Karen Pryor Academy Puppy Start Right for Instructors Course.

Kim Monteith

Manager, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, BC SPCA

Over the past 18 years, Kim has implemented a wide array of shelter welfare programs at the BC SPCA including Capacity for Care, Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, and Dr. Sophia Yin’s Low Stress Handling. In her roles at the BC SPCA, Kim has helped to improve animal welfare, decrease length of stay, and increase live release rates across the province. Kim leads BC SPCA’s weekly Charlie’s Pet Food bank, assisting the homeless in caring for their pets, and is also credited with starting and managing a free monthly volunteer run Veterinary Clinic for the past 12 years. Kim a professional dog trainer and behaviour consultant is a graduate of leading dog expert Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers.

Chris Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC

Owner, Animal Behavior Clinic (Portland, OR)

Dr. Pachel received his veterinary degree from the University of MN in 2002 and worked as a general practitioner for two years in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area prior to the start of his behavior residency program. He operated a house-call behavior practice in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area until 2010 and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2010. He spent 3.5 years of his residency period under the mentorship of Jacqui Neilson, DVM, DACVB at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR before purchasing the practice from her in 2011.

As the owner and primary clinician for the Animal Behavior Clinic, he brings an approach to behavioral therapy which combines learning theory, medical training, and experience along with compassion and effective communication to create a balanced treatment plan that is tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Dr. Pachel’s methodology emphasizes the importance of the human animal bond and the role that companion animals play in the lives of their families.

Outside of direct patient care, Dr. Pachel lectures regularly throughout the US and Canada, and has taught undergraduate and professional courses in veterinary behavior at the University of MN and at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He has published research on feline water consumption preferences, wrote a book chapter on Intercat Aggression for the May 2014 issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, and is co-author of a book chapter on Pet Selection for Animal Assisted Therapy.

Sarah Pennington

Sarah Pennington is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers and has been on faculty since 2014. Her primary role at the Academy is coaching students in their training technique. She also helps with research projects and mentors students when needed.

Sarah is the owner of Yaletown Dog Training in downtown Vancouver. She works mainly with aggressive or fearful dogs and regularly helps dogs with on-leash reactivity.

Prior to dog training Sarah worked for many years as a Registered Nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital Emergency Department. She continues to work at the BC Pre-hospital Resuscitation Research Group working with a focus on cardiac arrest and stroke research.

Sarah is a BC SPCA volunteer, an avid Crossfit member and is currently taking courses to become a Vegan Pastry Chef. She lives in Vancouver with her partner Levor, and their adopted dogs Macy and Bear.

Lisbeth Plant

Founder and Owner of Cowichan Canine Behaviour & Training Ltd

Lisbeth Plant is the founder and owner of Cowichan Canine Behaviour & Training Ltd, based in Duncan on Vancouver Island, BC. She was the CEO of an insurance/reinsurance company in the City of London, England, until she was forced to retire in 1988 following a severe horse-riding accident. She moved from London, England to Cobble Hill, where she lives with her husband Bill and their Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Lisbeth is a strong advocate for increased professionalism and continuing education for professional dog trainers, and is a founding member and currently Vice President of the Vancouver Island Animal Training Association (VIATA).

Lisbeth is an Associate Certified Member in the Dog Division of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, holds a Certificate in Applied Animal Behaviour from the University of Washington, a Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy and a Certified Behaviour Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI). She specializes in the behaviour modification of fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs, which she works with on a daily basis.

Claudia Richter, DVM

Resident, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists – Owner of Pacific Veterinary Behaviour Consulting

Dr. Richter has been practicing veterinary medicine in BC’s Lower Mainland for over 10 years. She spent 6 years owning and operating her own veterinary hospital where she focused on creating a modern, community focused, small animal practice. Over her tenure her practice achieved American Animal Hospital Association accreditation, the “gold standard” for veterinary practice medical procedures and management in North America, as well as the introduction of low-stress and fear free practice methodologies. After recognizing the need for a veterinary behavior specialist in the Lower Mainland area, Dr. Richter to start down the path towards specialization and she is very happy to be working towards this under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Martin, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

Zazie Todd, PhD

Creator/Blogger at Companion Animal Psychology, Hons. Graduate of Academy for Dog Trainers

Zazie Todd is the creator of Companion Animal Psychology, a blog about how to have happy cats and happy dogs (according to science). Companion Animal Psychology was a finalist in Canada’s Favourite Science Online 2017, and Todd’s post, The Ultimate Dog Training Tip, won the Captain Haggerty Award from the Dog Writer’s Association of America. As well as a Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures, she has written for Pacific Standard and Reader’s Digest. She has published research on dog training methods, and takes dogs and cats as clients through her business, Blue Mountain Animal Behaviour. She has a PhD in Psychology, is an honours graduate of The Academy for Dog Trainers and has a Certificate in Feline Behaviour (with Distinction) from International Cat Care.

Karen Van Haften, DVM

Senior Manager, Behaviour and Welfare, BC SPCA

Dr. Karen van Haaften received her DVM from Ontario Veterinary College in 2009 and spent 5 years practicing small animal medicine in Ontario, Canada. She discovered a passion for animal behaviour, and decided to return to school to complete a 3-year clinical behaviour residency at UC Davis (completed in 2017). She is excited to join the BC SPCA team and hopes to help expand & enhance behaviour and welfare programs offered to shelter animals and the public. She has particular interests in animal welfare, humane training, and research.