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Cindy Benson KPA CTP

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner - Certification # 33940

*** I Use Training Methods Dogs Do Not Fear or Work to Avoid ***

Personal Story

I live with my husband of 30 years on our secluded 360-acre ranch in Gold Hill, Oregon. I have lived a ranch life since I was a child, and most of my life has been spent managing large populations of livestock, and a few less common creatures including ostriches, emus, and parrots. I raised Miniature Donkeys for almost 30 years; at one time my herd consisted of 120 donkeys. Maremma livestock guardian dogs came into my life initially to protect my donkey herd but have since captivated all my attention.

LGD Training Experience


As a new LGD owner in 2014, it quickly became clear that I had a lot to learn about this very different sort of working dog. I encountered the frustration of finding trustworthy, science-based LGD training resources, so I began my formal behavioral science education as I continued to learn from my growing population of working Maremmas. 

I was a breeder of registered, hip-tested Maremmas for several years producing over 100 pups. Because training is my passion, and because I wanted to ensure that my pups would be successful, I placed most of my pups at 6 -12 months of age, complete with PennHIP testing. Creating my breeding program, raising pups, managing my population of 20-40 working LGDs, and then training LGDs professionally, has allowed me to learn from easily 300 LGDs - so far!


In 2021, I became a certified professional dog trainer through the completion of the rigorous Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professionals Course. I have stepped down as a breeder of Maremmas and now devote myself full-time to training livestock guardian dogs of all breeds, teaching through the use of Zoom sessions or in person, blog posts, and my online LGD training courses. I published the training manual on Amazon in 2021; stay tuned for the second LGD training book! 

I am an avid student of animal behavioral science. Honing my education has made me hungry for more so I am usually participating in formal coursework of some sort! Below, I have listed some of the courses I have completed thus far. These resources are available to everyone so please join me! The dogs in your life will thank you – mine sure have.

Karen Pryor Academy Online Courses


Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations Course

Puppy Start Right Course for Instructors

Better Veterinary Visits

Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional
2019-2020 (Online & in-person course)

Canine Freestyle with Michele Pouliot


Karen Pryor Academy In-Person Courses at The National Clicker Training Institute


Training for Professionals: Across Species
2018, 2023

Guest at The Ranch Workshop:
Hannah Branigan & Ken Ramirez Present Shaping with Precision


Next Level Training

Guest at The Ranch Workshop:
Susan G. Friedman, PH.D. & Ken Ramirez presents The Magic Is In the Data!


Clicker Expo

2019, 2020, 2023

Relationship Centered Training – Suzanne Clothier


See The Dog: Asking the Elemental Question

Mindful Puppy Socialization

Enriched Puppy Protocol

CARAT (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool)

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

Writing Mentorship for Trainers and Behavior Consultants with Eileen Anderson
2021, 2022, 2024

Canine Social Behavior

Forensics of Aggression

What Is a Dog? – The Ethology of Our Best Friend

How Genetics Relate to Behavior: Uncovering the History of Dogs

NEI TEC Professional Animal Training and Management Workshop


How Behavior Works - Living and Learning with Animals


NEI TEC Immersion Workshop

There are many professional trainers that I have learned from.

I thank them all for their investment in me!

Most noteworthy are:

Steve Martin –

Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D –

Ken Ramirez -

Terry Ryan -

Bobbie Lyons -

Kaye Geyler -

Michele Pouliot -

Hannah Branigan -

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