Behavior Matters Academy
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I want your dog to be happy and safe, and I want you to be happy with your dog.



Puppy Training

Puppies can be hard. Really hard. Endless energy. Sharp teeth. Peeing everywhere. And they don’t speak our language! They don’t sit or stay or come or go to bed when we want them to. You might be wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.

I understand completely. But they are my favorite.

It’s critical that puppies get off to a good start. Otherwise, you could soon be seeking help for more serious issues. Let’s make sure your puppy has a great chance at learning and fitting in with your family. 

Basic Manners

Maybe you just brought home your new dog and she doesn’t know anything. Or maybe she’s pretty good, but there are a few things you’d like to teach her. Whether it’s walking nicely on a leash, coming when called, greeting people politely, or doing some cute tricks, let’s talk - I can help.

Fear and Aggression

Does your sweet pup turn into the Tasmanian Devil when a stranger appears or another dog gets too close? Does he cower when a bicycle goes by? Or does he try to chase it and acts like he might bite the bicyclist?  Maybe your dog is afraid of fireworks, thunder, the vacuum, or riding in the car? It’s not enough just to suppress his barking and lunging - we’ve got to change his emotional response to the thing that scares him. I know how. 

Dog Sitting

This is a service I can only offer some of the time, with only some dogs, and never for more than a week. Your friendly dog will live with us and be treated just like my own (rather pampered).
Cuddles and play are included - training is additional.

Something Else?

House training problems? Does your dog fight with other dogs over food or toys - or even growl at you when you approach his food bowl? Or maybe your concern isn’t listed here. That’s okay, Contact me and let’s talk. Maybe I can help. 

Winnie, waiting patiently with Joker and Juno after a lesson on tooth brushing.

Winnie, waiting patiently with Joker and Juno after a lesson on tooth brushing.

Tim was so great to Winnie and me! He helped us more than I can put into words. He’s a true friend of dogs and I can’t imagine a better trainer!
— Slater S




30 Minute Phone Consultation

Let's chat about the reason you're looking for training in more detail and decide on our next steps.


Private Consults

One-on-one 60 minute sessions at your house. I'll work directly with your dog and give you a chance to do what I'm doing. Follow up instructions for practicing/continuing the training and emails about our session included.
$130 per session
$375 for 3 pre-paid sessions ($125/session)
$600 for 5 pre-paid sessions ($120/session)



Board and Train

You want your dog professionally trained but you just don't have the time? Because your dog will be living with a trainer, they’ll get nearly constant training. We’ll specifically work on things at least three times each day. We'll keep in touch, I'll send photos, and you can come visit anytime. When I return your dog safely to you, you'll learn how to keep up the training. This could be perfect for your vacation time. One 60-minute private transfer session is included for week-long board and train engagements. Boarding fees are included.



This is something I can offer only sometimes and for select training clients. When your dog stays here, they'll be treated like a member of our family. Lots of play and cuddles and exercise (as is appropriate for their age and overall health). No small crates for hours on end or constant noise like at a kennel. Cuddles included: training is extra.




Something ELSE?

Did you have something else in mind?

Contact me and let's talk. Either I can help, or I can refer you to someone who can.



The fine print

  • Animals come with a lot of variables. I'll be honest with you and transparent, but I cannot make guarantees (neither can an honest doctor).

  • After the initial free consult, payment is due before services are provided.

  • No refunds on pre-paid sessions - unused sessions expire six months after purchase.

  • Cancellations with less than 48 hours will be charged in full.

  • Give the gift of training at


Teddy and Tim meet for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Diana L.)

Teddy and Tim meet for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Diana L.)

I can’t speaking highly enough of Tim’s training of dogs (and humans)! It’s because of Tim we have a dog as he has been coaching us before we brought home our puppy. Tim truly cares and is very pleasant to work with. Our puppy gets so happy whenever he sees Tim and my kids and I learn a great deal watching Tim train with positive reinforcement. If you’re looking for a firm but fun loving and effective trainer of not only dogs but humans as well - you have found one!
— Diana L and Teddy
Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.
— Caroline Knapp

About Me

I'm Tim Steele, CTC and I live in the San Francisco Bay area in Santa Clara, California. Like so many, I grew up with pets. But I dreamed of becoming an attorney when I was a kid and not a dog trainer (I was an odd kid, huh?).

I had lots of pets as a kid and I think everyone in my large family had a dog. Then I got hooked on parrots and trained many over a thirty-year span. Though I had no formal training, I read everything I could get my hands on to learn how animals learn and how we can train them.

But things changed when Juno came to live with us.

At a puppy socialization class with Juno, I met a great trainer who suggested I read "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. That book showed me that there was real science behind the things I'd figured out on my own with the many parrots I’d trained over the years. Later, I found that Jean had a school in which she teaches dog trainers using science-based, effective, efficient, humane methods. The school is called The Academy for Dog Trainers. You can't find a more comprehensive course on dog training (everything from evolution of the modern dog, obedience basics, fear and aggression, genetics, applied behavioral analysis, and more).

I completed the two year course with honors. The CTC following my name means "Certificate of Training and Counseling."

Of course, even after two years of extensive study, there's always more research and advances in animal behavior to keep up with. I continue to attend seminars, classes, and webinars by experts such as Daniel Mills, Susan Friedman, Bob Bailey, Susan Garrett, Simon Prins, and Michael Shikashio. I’ve recently been accepted into a specialized course on Separation Anxiety and I’m looking forward to learning in January of 2020 how to help dogs and families faced with that serious problem. And then there are the books! Lots and lots of books. Feel free to ask for reading suggestions!

Let me be clear: No dog needs a shock collar, prong collar, choke chain, pain, fear, or intimidation to learn. Unfortunately, many trainers use those methods because they don’t know how to solve problems without them.

How to find a trainer

Dog training is a completely unregulated industry. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, and there are no requirements for licensing, education, or experience. People sometimes use experience (“I’ve always had a a dog”) as their only qualification. Well, I’ve always had teeth but that doesn’t qualify me to be a dentist. And the availability of good and terribly bad information on TV and the internet makes it very difficult for pet owners to know who’s qualified and who’s not.
When speaking with a potential dog trainers, it is important to ask about their specific training approach. A dog trainer should be able to explain their training methods in detailed, easy-to-understand language. It can be helpful to ask the following questions:

  1. What exactly will happen when my dog gets something right during training? (I’d tell you that the dog will be reinforced with food, praise, play, and/or petting to help ensure the behavior repeats.)

  2. What exactly will happen when my dog gets something wrong? (I’d tell you that the dog will not experience anything painful, scary, or intimidating. Instead, I’ll give them another opportunity to get it right. I’ll also consider whether or not I’m asking too much for the dog given their current training level. If so, I’ll adjust accordingly to help the dog succeed. If an undesired and repeated behavior is self-rewarding, I may take away the thing the dog wants (like attention) to point out that the behavior doesn’t work.)

If you’re not satisfied with the answers, keep looking for a trainer makes you feel comfortable.

Dog trainers should also be able to describe the downsides to their chosen training approach. Those who use force may not know or may not be willing to share the potential for increased aggression. So, in the spirit of full transparency, here are the possible downsides to the use of the force-free training methods I use:

  • Your dog might get a tummy ache (might have loose stools or even vomit during/after a training session) but that will pass.

  • Your dog could, in theory, gain a little weight, though I've not seen this happen. If it does happen, we’ll get your dog back in shape soon.

  • Dogs may pester you when you pull out a Dremel to do house repairs or crafts because they’ve learned to love having their nails trimmed with the Dremel.

  • And, if improperly implemented, our way of training could result in dogs who perform only when they see a treat - though I'll make sure that doesn't happen and I'll show you how to avoid that pitfall too.

For more information, check out this article from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.
— W. R. Purche

Let’s talk

If you'd like my help, please get in touch. I'll respond as soon as possible.
Nope, I don’t have a phone number here. I didn’t forget. This is really the fastest way to get my attention. We can talk on the phone after you provide a little information.

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