Dog trainers & behaviorists

SOPHIA YIN

The late Dr Sophia Yin knew what it was like to have a problem pet and nowhere to turn for professional help: she witnessed countless fractured relationships between misunderstood pets and their frustrated human companions. As a result, her mission in life was to improve our understanding of animals and their behavior so that we can better care for, appreciate and enjoy our time with them.

Ever since she was a child, Sophia wanted to be a veterinarian, and in 1993 her dream came true. But once out in private practice, she quickly realized that more pets were euthanized due to behavior problems than medical ones. She went back to school to study animal behavior, and earned her Masters Degree in Animal Science in 2001 from UC Davis, where she studied vocal communication in dogs and worked on behavior modification in horses, giraffes, ostriches, and chickens.

During this time she was also the award-winning pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Upon receiving her degree, which focused on animal behaviour, she served for five years as a lecturer in the UC Davis Animal Science Department. Through these and an eclectic collection of other animal behavior experiences, she came to realize the true secret to successful behavior modification.

Sophia learned that every pet needs a human who can lead. Not like a boss, but like a partner in a dance—someone who gives clear signals, rewards desirable behavior as it occurs, removes rewards for inappropriate behavior immediately, and sticks to the plan consistently until the new, good behavior is a habit. She found that because pets don’t understand spoken language, they rely on body language and desired or undesired consequences in order to learn. This means that humans must be aware of their movements and actions because every move they make while interacting with their pet influences the animal’s behavior and perception of them.

Sophia’s dedication to helping people communicate with pets in a positive, scientifically sound way has led her to create a variety of exceptional books and products for pet owners and pet-care professionals who also aspire to bond with their pets on a whole new level. She established CattleDog Publishing in 2007 and expanded her business to offer DVDs, books and to consult on products like The Foobler & The Treat and Train.

Dr Sophia Yin passed away in 2014, leaving a lifetime legacy of devotion to animals and improving their relationship with their pet owners.

Watch Sophia's videos on Clickety Clips
More about her work, her blog and other materials can still be seen on her website.