Joel Silverman has trained animals for Hollywood films, TV, amusement parks, and he now devotes his forty years of professional experience to helping thousands of pet owners train their dogs.
Joel has worked behind the scenes on lots of shows and films, but he’s best known for Good Dog U—his top-rated Animal Planet series that ran from 1999 to 2009. Joel has also authored three books to share his expertise: What Color Is Your Dog?®, Take 2 – Training Solutions for Rescued Dogs, and Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain®.
Joel’s personal mission is to teach owners simple ways to achieve responsible pet ownership. These techniques focus on taking small steps that can be adjusted to each animal’s unique personality. “There are different ways to teach an animal a behavior, and we can’t expect every animal to learn in exactly the same way,” Joel says. Since most of the dogs returned back to animal shelters and humane societies are there because of behavioral issues, Joel believes training can play an integral role in decreasing the suffering of animals. He brings his talent and passion to helping pet owners bond with, train, and nurture their dogs.Read more
Animals fascinated Joel at a young age. Los Angeles natives, his family visited Sea World every summer. With each visit, Joel became more interested in the marine mammals and their trainers. His curiosity led him to experiment by training Shadow, the family dog, using the same techniques he saw the Sea World trainers use. Shadow had always been a skittish animal, but she gradually become more confident and relaxed while learning dozens of new behaviors. Reflecting back, Joel attributes that early success with Shadow to a fundamental principle of his training philosophy, one that those Sea World trainers shared in common: a bond of trust with the animal.Read more
Joel’s passion for animals helped him land a job picking up trash at Sea World in 1975 at the age of 16. He worked his way up from the bottom until finally earning his big break in 1981 when he began training marine mammals for the park. “I must have bugged that training director constantly for about three years. The persistence paid off.” Joel cut his teeth training dolphins, and within a year he was regularly riding and training the killer whales at Sea World. He became skilled at creating relationships with the animals he loved, motivating them to perform. It’s here where Joel reinforced one of the pillars of his training method, the bond and the relationship. In the early 80s, Joel did animal shows with birds and dogs at Universal Studios. Later in that decade, Joel made his debut in TV and film. Hired by training legend Ray…Read more
In the mid to late 90’s Joel honed his craft, working on multiple movies and TV shows, building on insights he’d gained working in Hollywood and with marine animals. The result was Joel’s unique approach to dog training that he refers to as the Hybrid Method. The hybrid method focuses on building a great bond with your dog and varying techniques based on your dog’s personality. From 1999 – 2009 Joel hosted the top-rated Animal Planet show Good Dog U. The show focused on proper training and care for dogs spotlighting Joel’s methods. Millions of viewers tuned in for Joel’s expertise during the show’s ten-year run, and his contribution was recognized with a “Trainer of the Year” award from the Westminster Dog Show in 2008. Joel authored What Color Is Your Dog? in 2009. Inspired by his TV viewers’ feedback and questions, Joel wrote the book to clarify his techniques…Read more
Joel attracted plenty of attention after launching his Good Dog U and What Color Is Your Dog?® television shows. Soon after, film and TV producers began requesting his expertise on the sets of movies, television shows and commercials. He curated the behaviors and coached stunts for several animals who went on to star and co-star onscreen. The success of Joel’s training led to a great partnership opportunity with IAMS dog food products where his animals were able to reach nationwide stardom. Responsible for the coordination and training of most the national IAMS commercials and print ads from (1997-2014) A Good Year (2006) Where the Red Fern Grows (2003) Red Letters (2000) Annie (1999) Detroit Rock City (1999) Mystery Men (1999) Idle Hands (1999) The Puppies Present Incredible Animal Tales (1998) Rex: A Cop’s Best Friend (1994–2008) Empty Nest (1988–1995) The Cellar (1989) The Monkey Mission (1981) Here’s Boomer (1980–1982) Little…Read more
Joel has spent his entire career earning the trust and respect of many valuable partners, many of which have impacted the lives of the animals he loves so much. By forming these strong partnerships, Joel has brought healthy exposure to the talents of animals and the worldwide brands that help keep them healthy. NISSAN MOTOR CORPORATION In 1998 Joel worked as a corporate spokesperson for Nissan and helped them to promote their “Enjoy the Ride” campaign. This involved a twelve-city media tour promoting the Nissan’s Super Bowl commercial and the coordination of animals in the commercials. PETCO From 1998–2003 Joel worked very closely with the PETCO chain, developing products and worked as a corporate spokesperson for various media tours. IAMS From 2001–2003 Joel worked as a corporate spokesperson for IAMS. He developed the Lifelong Friends Program to match unadopted pets with loving new owners. Joel traveled the country assisting Humane Societies…Read more
Joel has spent much of his career nurturing his own creative and unique style to animal training, and along the way he has been able to incorporate tools designed to aid pet owners. Joel has registered trademarks and patents for his unique training style and customized training tools. You can find out more information about and purchase these training tips and tools in the Shop. Bond With Your Heart; Train With Your Brain® What Color is Your Dog® The Alternative Training Collar – US PATENT #D645,213SRead more