Online dog training has exploded in recent years. Finding the right program for you and your dog is essential for having success. 

Every dog trainer will have a different style of training, their own thoughts, experiences, and techniques. 

Finding a dog trainer that you can relate to and have similar values will be important to the success of any dog training program. Every situation is unique, so it’s important for the dog trainer to be open to listening to you and your dog. 

I searched the internet for the best online dog training programs and found Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program by Ian Dunbar.

Top Dog Academy screenshot of homepage

This post does contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will receive a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer. He is most famous for his books and SIRIUS Puppy and Dog Training school. 

Dr. Dunbar is in his 70’s and from what I can tell, appears to be getting ready to retire and hand over his legacy to his son, Jamie. His ex-wife Kelly Gorman Dunbar is cofounder of SIRIUS and is still an active part in their YouTube videos.

Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program Review

What is the Dunbar Academy training program?

The Dunbar Academy Online Dog Training Program is a monthly dog training subscription. It gives you access to an entire library of Dunbar training videos and resources.

I signed up for the monthly subscription to test drive the Top Dog Academy. The training platform is impressive with 30 different courses inside the Academy.

You can pick and choose the courses that relate to your dog’s training needs. Each course is a little different.

The newer courses include an array of short videos and text lessons. You can take a short quiz after each lesson to help you retain the information. And under each video lesson, bullet points review what you just learned.

I have taken many online courses, from dog training to personal improvement to business classes. I am very impressed with how well organized the Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program is.

Jamie Dunbar leads most of the newer training videos. He is easy to understand and makes it clear on the steps to take. These videos are short (5-10 minutes), keeping your attention and allowing you to stop at any time needed.

What I did not like is there are no hands-on video demonstrations with dogs. It would be nice to see some real-life examples of him training a dog.

There are some videos of Ian Dunbar that are very old, from the 1980s. These videos show more hands-on work, some in-class situations, others with Ian and his dog. 

Dunbar’s Dog Training Method

Dunbar uses reward-based dog training. The use of praise and food in training is key to Dunbar’s dog training method. Ian Dunbar is a positive reinforcement dog trainer.

The Dunbar’s method of training believes that if your dog has any sort of behavior problem, you should NOT feed your dog from a food bowl. 

Training with your dog’s food raises the value of food for your dog, this is especially helpful for dogs that are not yet food motivated. Getting your dog food motivated is covered in one of the courses.

What’s included in the Top Dog Academy 

There are 30 courses included in Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training ProgramIt’s a mix of step-by-step dog training videos, seminars, webinars, interviews, and more. There’s something for everyone, but most dog owners will want to go take the first 5 courses. 

  1. Getting started with the top dog academy
  2. Behavior Problems Compendium
  3. Puppy training
  4. Dog training
  5. SIRIUS Dog Trainer Academy (4-day seminar)
  6. Webinars
  7. Retro Dunbar: Ian’s Old TV Series
  8. Interviews with Ian
  9. Mail Bag (To Dog Q&A)
  10. Dog training for children
  11. Canine social and sexual behavior
  12. Dog and cat behavior problems
  13. Dog owners and professionals, where to go from here?
  14. Practical behavior information for veterinary practitioners
  15. Audio lectures, podcasts, and seminars
  16. Approved for continued education
  17. Seminars
  18. More seminars
  19. Science-based dog training with feeling (3-day seminar)
  20. Reliability and games (2-day workshop)
  21. Growl class for reactive dogs (1-day workshop)
  22. Guide to getting a dog
  23. Treatment and prevention of dog aggression (1-day seminar)
  24. Veterinary behavior and training program
  25. Dog breeder behavior and training program
  26. Dog shelter behavior and training program
  27. Dog training and marketing program for pet stores
  28. Behavior problems crash course
  29. Promotional guide for affiliates
  30. Aggression and temperament problems

Everyone should start with the Getting started module, and then go through the Behavior Problems Compendium. The behavior course covers a wide range of problems that is very educational even if your dog doesn’t have one of these issues.  

I found the Behavior Problems Compendium very interesting and a great place to start to understand the basics and beyond. It covers everything from potty training to pulling on the leash, resource guarding, jumping and so much more.

Who Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program is NOT for

Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program should not be used to help a dangerously aggressive dog.

It’s important to note that Jamie Dunbar starts the introduction by stating that if your dog is dangerous, you should seek a professional dog trainer. 

Dunbar defines a dangerous dog as one that has seriously injured a human or animal. If the dog has ever punctured a victim’s skin with their bite (more than 1/2″) they are considered dangerous.

Is Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program worth buying?

YES! Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program is complete, very easy to go through, and very educational. Here is a list of the pros and cons of this dog training program:

Pros:

  • There is a free course collection to try before you purchase the paid subscription to Top Dog Academy
  • Good for puppies and adult dogs
  • Private Facebook community
  • 30 different courses within the Academy
  • Hundreds of hours of videos 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Reasonably priced at only $20/month or $150/year
  • Easily cancel anytime within your training portal

Cons:

  • Most videos are of Jamie or Ian talking, with a few hands-on videos. Even though they are both very good at talking through the steps, it would be nice to see more action videos. Don’t get me wrong, there are some hands-on videos, but most are decades old, still relevant, but old.
  • The videos in the Top Dog Academy subscription can only be streamed online, they cannot be downloaded. If you purchase the courses individually you’ll get lifetime access to streaming, and for most of the courses, you will also have the option of downloading the videos.
  • To watch every video in the program would be difficult to do in one month. So if you want to watch everything, be ready to bing watch Ian Dunbar or plan to pay for at least 2 months of the Top Dog Academy subscription

All of the Dunbar Dog Training Programs

Dr. Ian Dunbar is a legend in the dog training community. The Dunbar training companies are family-owned by Ian, ex-wife Kelly, and son Jamie.

Sirius Dog Training, The Original Puppy School (In-person dog training)

Dr. Ian Dunbar started SIRIUS® Puppy & Dog Training in 1982. Offering in-person dog training in over a dozen locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, they started offering SIRIUS Live Online classes.

Dog Star Daily (Blog)

Dog Star Daily is a website providing essential puppy and dog training articles. 

Dunbar Academy (Online dog training)

This is the online dog training program I am reviewing here. It was created by Ian, Kelly, and Jamie Dunbar.

James & Kenneth Publishers (Books)

James & Kenneth Publishers is a publishing company Dr. Dunbar founded to publish (mostly his own) books and videos about puppy and dog training.

Books Dr. Ian Dunbar has authored:

Conclusion

If you are searching for the best online dog training program, the Top Dog Academy Online Dog Training Program should be on the top of your list. Dr. Ian Dunbar brings a wealth of information from his years of experience as a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer.

The Dunbar Academy is well worth the $20/month so go ahead and join now and start training your dog today! 

The private Facebook group that is included when purchasing the Dunbar Academy Program is very valuable as well. It’s a great place to ask questions, get feedback and learn from other experiences. 

Let us know if you decide to try theDunbar Academy Program, leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

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About the Author

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

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