About John & Philosophy


There are only a handful of trainers in the country that combine extensive knowledge of the Wolf social structure with animal behavior education. I am an expert at wolf behavior and communication and as all domestic dogs have 99.8% wolf DNA, this is the “secret”. Domestic dogs see the world through the eyes of a wolf, and communicate with each other in the same language. I use no harsh or inhumane techniques.


I'm the only true dog behaviorist in the region.
Dog behavior is what I do full time.
Even my puppy session's involve behavior modification

My unique time tested method has given me a 98% success rate in just one session, no matter how severe the issues may be. I use a physclogical approach that takes advantage of the fact that all dogs have 98% wolf DNS that has been passed down to all our domestic dogs, so he understand what I'm asking him to do instictively. So its not about the command and rewards, it's dog language.


Why Choose Me...


I've been asked to mentor graduate students from the animal behavior college
I've been featured in many local publications. ie - Argus Leader, pet magazines, etc...
I've been a featured speaker at rotaries in Sioux Falls, Brookings and Watertown
I'm an annual speaker at Sioux Falls Community Education
I've been a keynote speaker for many dog fundraising programs and rescue organizations
I've place in teh Top 3 of Keloland's "Why My Business is Looking Up" contest
I have over 28 years of experience in animal behavior

The Dog's Listener's Philosophy


In the beginning, man’s relationship with wolves was built on cooperation and respect. Even though fossils have been discovered dating back 100,000 years ago of a woman with a small canine cradled in her arms, conventional paleontology contends that early man’s cooperative relationship began at about 10,000 years ago. I believe there were isolated incidents of relationships and over time man living with wolves became the norm.

It is still argued today, whether we domesticated the wolf or the wolf domesticated us. We were both pack animals. At first, the wolf began to follow us at a distance scavenging the remains of our kills. We began to do the same, depending upon who had the larger population and what game was available at the time. In any case, we still share the same instinctual traits with our ancestors, and the dog retains just about all the traits of the first wolves. Especially engrained are the senses of smell, hearing, and sight. The physical traits are all still there and operating on a very high level. The dog’s immense nasal cavity in all breeds retain 10,000 times more sensory receptors for scent than the human. The domestic dog’s prey drive, territoriality, desire to breed, and to be a member of a highly structured, strongly bonded social pack or “family” is handed down from wolf society. Today’s domestic dog retains 99.08% of the purebred wild wolf’s DNA.

Your dog sees you as a pack member whether it is just you or if there are other dogs or family members. It only takes two to make a pack. Ideally, your dog should see you as it’s leader of the pack. This leader is the provider of food, protector of its territory against attack, and the one who constantly establishes and reinforces the social hierarchy and family structure. Most admirably, the pack leader is the object of unconditional love, loyalty, admiration, affection and respect.

As human society developed, our alliance with our “best friend” has slowly eroded, and continues to develop problem behaviors in our pets at an ever-increasing pace. Our dogs have gone from serene, cooperative helpers and friends to mere decorations and objects of misplaced love and affection. We have stolen from them; their love and need for work, exercise, and desire to be useful. In our attempt to make them fit into our lifestyle and live by our means, we have ignored the fact that they are dogs with needs not unlike our own. To run, to establish a territory, to earn food, to earn affection, to have a job: to be happy in their own skin.

The original “unspoken” alliance has been broken. Familiarity has bred contempt. The cooperative relationship between two species that have such a large capacity for love and loyalty has been lost along the way. It has been replaced by a myriad of training aids, toys, treats, and technology. Topping the list, the relentless attempts to humanize our dogs by using the wrong language: Human words, manipulation, and sadly sometimes violence and intimidation.

The good news is the dog is ready to move on. Inexplicably, the dog has a capacity of forgiveness and an ability to live in the present; like no human could ever hope to achieve.

For the last twenty plus years, I have been learning, experimenting, and achieving great success by studying wolf and canine behavior. Working with my own and other peoples’ pets, I have rediscovered the unspoken alliance, which first linked the human and the wolf. Our original alliance can be restored.

Once you have worked my program, the rest is up to you. You can now start or restart your obedience training with ease. You will have a calm and happy dog that is ready and willing for instruction on your terms. Do not worry. They will still retain their spirit and own individual qualities that make them so cute and loveable.

I appreciate your interest!
John Tipton

My Story...

I believe I was born with a natural affinity and love for animals. However, there were some factors which also played a role in contributing to my natural abilities to connect so well with dogs and other animals. I spent a lot of time on my Grandfather’s farm where there were a myriad of animals. There is no doubt, however, about the biggest influence — Austin Smith. He was my Grandpa’s horse trainer who created the nationally famous “King of Diamonds and Queen of Hearts” (dressage horses), “Pinky the Mule”, (an albino ‘trick’ mule) and “Mr. Operator” (horse who danced to music while pulling a cart) to name a few. Austin helped to pioneer horse whispering in America. I was always watching him; intrigued by his use of body language a soft verbal tone when working with the animals. This all took place in tiny Scotland, SD.

Now me being a city boy, living in the metropolis Vermillion, SD, my true love and calling was dogs. Boy, I loved dogs; all dogs big and mean or little and shy. On a hunch, a wing, and a prayer, at age 17, I decided to raise and train Chesapeake Bay retrievers for hunting and companionship. My 6 month old pups brought $1500; 9 months old $2200.

I quickly gained a reputation for being a great hunting dog trainer. From there it grew into what it is today. I started just helping hunting buddies with their dogs. I soon realized that most of the philosophy, principles, and my instincts could be used to rehabilitate “problem dogs.” I began to collect nicknames such as ‘Dr. Dog’, ‘Dogman’, and ‘The Beastmaster’.

I attended USD as a pre-vet student, but realizing just prior to Vet school that I may not be cut out to perform any euthanasias or see the dogs that had to be “put down” due to owner’s lack of money to pay for lifesaving procedures. Just to witness the general suffering may end up in my own suffering, so I decided on a different path, not knowing it would lead me back to my true calling, someday.

I attended the then University of Sioux Falls and received a business degree.’ After starting several semi-successful businesses, long hours, and burnout, my own sense of well-being sent me back to the dogs.

It was just months after officially starting my full-time business as “THE DOG’S LISTENER” that I started to become recognized in the Sioux Falls area as someone who could solve difficult behavioral issues where other attempts had failed. I began getting calls from people in the “canine” community, i.e. veterinarians, groomers,dog walkers, breeders, etc. Several articles were written about me in the Argus Leader and Pet Magazine. Word spread fast, so the need to advertise dissipated to the point where now, approximately 90% of my business is obtained through ‘word of mouth’. KSFY news has featured a mini-series about ‘The Dog’s Listener’. I trained News Anchor – Nancy Naive’s problem pooches and the story follows the training process from start to finish.

I have trained dogs who travel the National Dog Show circuit, I have traveled as far as Kansas City to do training, and clients have traveled as many as 1200 miles to seek out my help. I have yet to fail to save a dog from the euthanasia table and many of those cases only took one session. In some instances, two or more professionals had told the owner that euthanasia was the only option prior to our session.

Though I had never given it up as a sideline, in 2005 I officially became “The Dog’s Listener” full-time. I saw all the stress and frustration leave my life and a whole new calm and laid-back persona enter it. I will never look back (unless there’s a dog whining behind me); I have found great rewards and personal contentment. I have surely found my place in the world, my life’s purpose………. I am “THE DOG’S LISTENER!”