Shannon Riley
Positive Reinforcement Certified Professional Dog Trainer,

Registered Veterinary Technician,

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner,

Best Selling Author of The Evolution of Dog Training,

International Speaker

Who is Shannon Riley, BA, RVT, CPDT KA, KPA-CTP?

I am an internationally sought after speaker and bestselling author of The Evolution of Dog Training, and have been a pet lover all of my life and a dog trainer for over 30 years. I started teaching puppy classes in 1999 at Frontier Pet Clinic in Napa, CA and was trained by Ian Dunbar though his Sirius Dog Training Course. In 2010, I opened Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center in Ventura, CA. I have spent my life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds!

I am also a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers , Pet Professional Guild and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

I am a past President for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, a past Allied Industry Member of Arizona Veterinary Medical Association and sponsor of California Registered Veterinary Technician Association.


Why Did I Create Truly Force Free Animal Training?

I created Truly Force Free Animal Training in 2015 so that anyone, anywhere could have access to force free, positive reinforcement animal training.

Truly Force Free Animal Training mission is to spread knowledge and education for humane, force free treatment of all animals with… EMPATHY & COMPASSION!

The Evolution of Dog Training by Shannon Riley

In 2018, I published “The Evolution of Dog Training” available in audio, print and eBook.

In 2023, “The Evolution of Dog Training” was published in Spanish as an eBook!

Education and Experience

My education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State. I am a Registered Veterinary Technician, Certified Professional Dog Trainera Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and have worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as a handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. I have also participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West.

I have spent many years as the head dog trainer for PAWS for Healing, a pet assisted therapy organization and performed temperament testing and assisted in the training of therapy dogs who visited hospitals, veteran groups, special educational facilities and convalescent homes. I believe strongly in the benefits of developing the human animal bond and can assist in coaching for pets and their human companions to develop that connection.

In 2014, I completed multiple behavior courses with veterinarians and other animal behavior professionals such as Dr. Susan Friedman and in 2012 was a behavior technician intern for Dr. Rachel Malamed, DVM, Veterinary Behavior Specialist

In 2012 and 2016, I completed a 5-day intensive behavior course through North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) taught by Dr. Karen Overall, Dr. Martin Godbout and Dr. Kersti Seksel. I regularly attend Western Vet Conferences and the Clinical Animal Behavior Conference (CABC), The Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (SVBT), The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

Every year, I take approximately 30 hours of continuing education units

International Speaker

In 2017, I spoke at Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) 24th Annual Conference on topics such as, “What’s Your Dogs Currency?” and in 2018 at APDT 25th Annual Conference on topics such as, “Do You Have Compassion Fatigue?”.

I have spoken at Pet Professional Guilds Geek Week Australia in 2021.

In 2023, I spoke at RescueCon at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on “Understanding Canine Body Language” and at the Ventura College Job and Career Fair on “Starting A Career as An Animal Professional” and Children’s Health and Wellness Expo on “Animal Wellness”.

I also hosted Truly Force Free Animal Training first conference Breaking the Chain; A Force Free Dog Training Conference at Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center.


Check out my Podcasts and TV Interviews!

I created, The Backyard Pet Talk Podcast, for pet lovers! Whether you are a professional in the animal field or a pet parent this podcast is for you!

I also created, The Positive Puppy podcast, which is all about setting your puppy up for success using positive reinforcement! In this podcast, host, Shannon Riley and guest discuss common puppy questions from before picking up puppy to the importance of creating a routine and more! Join us each month as Shannon Riley answers puppy questions!

Check out my interview with Bloom TV with Gayle Guyardo and Daytime TV with Maggie Rodriguez

My Dog Training Philosophy

My dog training philosophy revolves around force free, positive reinforcement; however, my ultimate goal is for healthy happy relationships between pets and their people. Diet, exercise, environment and training all play a significant role in achieving this goal.

Read more…

Shannon Riley offers in-person private training sessions at her Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center. If you are not in the Ventura area and would like to set up a virtual private training session please contact Truly Force Free Animal Training.

Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center

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Ventura Pet Wellness & Dog Training Center

Reactive Dog Survey

Sometimes, fearful dogs can be labeled as “stubborn” or aggressive.
Take this survey to find out if your dog is “stubborn” or just fearful!

Shannon Riley's the Evolution of Dog Training
Shannon Riley's Trainer Quick Tips