Brian Kilcommons

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Brian Kilcommons
Born1953 (age 65–66)
OccupationDog trainer, author

Brian Kilcommons (born 1953) is an American author and dog trainer. He is a protégé of Barbara Woodhouse,[1][2] and the only North American to have studied under Woodhouse in Great Britain.[citation needed] Kilcommons is the author of pet training manuals.[3] He is considered[by whom?] one of the most esteemed dog trainers in the US.[4]

Early life[edit]

Brian Kilcommons was born in 1953 in Levittown, New York.[citation needed] He enrolled in a pre-veterinary program at Iowa State University, but did not finish, due to a lack of finances. He opened a training and obedience school in 1977.[3] He lives on a 124-acre (0.50 km2) farm in Gardiner, New York.[needs update] He is married to Sarah Wilson,[needs update] who is also a trainer and the co-author of seven of his books.


Dog training[edit]

Kilcommons has trained the dogs of many celebrities and he has been described as the dog trainer to the stars by a Miami Herald reporter.[citation needed] He has trained over 35,000 dogs.[3] Along with Sarah Wilson, he established the Family Dog Training and Behavior Center, which has been described[by whom?] as a "parallel universe for yuppies with four-legged children".[5] Occupying an area of 1,200 sq. ft. the center includes facilities for puppy daycare, a puppy treadmill, puppy play groups and a puppy fashion boutique under the name of Bark Avenue.[5]


Kilcommons advises dog owners that saying "No" to a dog is useless. The reason for this advice is his belief that dogs simply do not understand the meaning of the word because it is too abstract for them. They are more likely to think that No is their name. Kilcommons explains that dogs are more likely to understand, and thus obey, commands connected with a specific action, such as "Off", "Sit", or "Stay". Such commands demand specific action from the dog and thus are more easily understood. When the puppy complies with the command, Kilcommons advises positive reinforcement in the form of praise and rewards.[3]

Kilcommons believes that the dog should understand who the boss in the family is. He thinks that people nowadays invest a lot of energy and effort in their pets and many times neglect to discipline them properly. Undisciplined dogs can then exhibit domineering and disorderly behavior such as sitting on the couch and running outside the house without being properly prompted. He provides advice to families by observing their interaction with their canine companions and then analyzing the weak points. Proper training with basic commands such as the "Sit" command and behavioral cues such as ignoring the dog when he transgresses and sits on the couch have been credited with turning the behavior of an unruly dog around.[3]

Honors and awards[edit]

Brian Kilcommons has been awarded the Dr Steve Kritsick Memorial Award from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society for his impact on animals in the media.[6] He has also been nominated twice for the Genesis Award.[6][non-primary source needed]

Television appearances[edit]

Kilcommons has appeared on 20/20, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, QVC, HGTV, The Oprah Winfrey Show, A&E, The Today Show, ABC News, CNN (global), Prime Time Live, The Wall Street Journal Report, PBS's Gentle Doctor: Veterinary Medicine, and he hosted Fox News Channel's "Pet News".[citation needed] He has also served as the CBS Morning News Investigative Reporter and Animal Expert on WABC Eyewitness News, Channel 7.[6][non-primary source needed] He toured several [[PETstock]] pet supplies stores in Australia during 2012, conducting workshops with customer's dogs.[citation needed]

Published works[edit]


Kilcommons has written articles for the following publications: Redbook, Town & Country, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, People, Miami Herald, Toronto Star, Boston Globe, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Vancouver Sun, Time, Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, Newsday, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Glamour, Dogs in Canada, Mc Calls, Palm Beach Daily News, Dog World, Dog Fancy, Seventeen, InStyle Magazine, Women's Wear Daily. He has also been a contributor to Parade Magazine.[6][non-primary source needed]


  • Your Dog: An Owner's Manual (1981)
  • Good Owners, Great Dogs (1992)
  • Childproofing Your Dog (1994)
  • Good Owners, Great Cats (1995)
  • Mutts: America's Dogs (1996)
  • Tails From the Bark Side (1997)
  • Paws to Consider: The Complete Guide to Selecting A Breed (1999)
  • Metrodog: The Essential Guide To Raising Your Dog In The City (2001)
  • My Smart Puppy (2006)


  1. ^ William White (July 1995). Buyer's Guide: 1999-2000. Bowker. p. 110.
  2. ^ Chris Walkowicz; Bonnie Wilcox (16 January 1994). Successful Dog Breeding: The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery. Wiley. p. 114. He was the only American who was a protege of the great Barbara Woodhouse
  3. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Anita (2006-04-30). "He's a Dog's Best Friend". Time. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  4. ^ Pollan, Corky (October 26, 1992). "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rex", New York Magazine, page 74.
  5. ^ a b Katz, Ruth (10 December 1990). "Bringing Up Doggie". New York Magazine. p. 28. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "About Brian Kilcommons". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-11-18.[non-primary source needed]

External links[edit]