“I love to see the joy and confidence in my client’s eyes when they see change in their dog’s behavior.” -Aaron
Aaron McDonald is a canine behaviorist, author, dog trainer, consultant, and partner at McDonald Canine Academy in Birmingham, AL. with a special interest in human/canine behavioral dynamics. With 16 years of experience he has accumulated well over ten thousand hours of instruction and education in the rehabilitation of canine behavioral dysfunction, canine behavior consultancy, and canine training. Aaron has participated in live radio, news broadcasts, and has been sought for his expertise by petMD, the world’s largest pet health media provider.
His array of experience includes:
- Lead consultant for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s national canine security services, Iraq 2006.
- Canine handler and instructor for the family of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Kurdistan, Iraq 2006
Investigator for UAB’s Department of Psychology, therapy dog intervention study for traumatic brain injury patients, 2014
- Co-creator and lead manager of Transitional Partners, an innovative Dog-Assisted Work Therapy (DAWT) program for persons suffering with mental illness at East Side Mental Health Center. This program was co-developed with Kevin McDonald, canine behaviorist and Dr. Joseph Schumacher, PhD, clinical psychology.
- Rehabilitation of dysfunctional canine behavior and modification of human/canine relationship dynamics and intercommunication – over 13,000 hrs of instruction
- Preparatory training of dog / handler teams for certification as Therapy Dog Teams; to visit hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes
- Presented canine aggression safety seminar for parenting students at Birmingham City Schools, 2007
- Presented to University of Alabama at Birmingham, Division of Preventive Medicines Grand Rounds, Dog-assisted work therapy for Veterans; Proposal for research and practice, November 8th, 2010
- Served as faculty member for Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Boards, 37th Annual Conference, “Dog-assisted Work Therapy”, May 2011
- Presenter at Schocco Springs 2011 Annual Mental Health Conference
- Presenter of “Companion Dogs – A New Approach” at 2011 NAMI Annual State Conference in Montgomery, AL
- Presenter “Canine Transitional Partners” at East Side Mental Health Center, Birmingham, AL Feb 2012
- Presenter “The Way of the Dog”, an educational seminar for Huntsville area dog trainers, May 2012
- Hand in Paw Recognized Dog Trainer, 2015
Aaron is an accomplished artist, winning grand prize in the state of Alabama’s largest art competition. He volunteers as a program coordinator with the WWII Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, plays bass guitar in a band, and is an aviation enthusiast.