Bio: Chad Culp

Chad Culp is the owner of Thriving Canine, a full-time dog training business in Gilroy Ca. (San Francisco Bay Area) Chad is a certified dog trainer, canine behavior specialist, writer, author, speaker and world-wide dog advice persona via Facebook, YouTube and


His formal credentials are that he graduated from Animal Behavior College. He is also a graduate of Global College of Natural Medicine, where he studied canine nutrition. However, Culp likes to say that, “Certified does not mean qualified.” He claims, “Those credentials may sound fancy but they don’t really mean much. If you really want to get good with dogs, you have to put in some miles and you gotta get your uniform dirty. Most of what I do on a daily basis does not come from any certifications, it comes from real world experiences, tricks I learned by training with and observing other trainers and a ton of trial and error. Of course, I also read a lot of books and watch a lot of videos but, more than anything else, I think I’m just good at learning from my mistakes!”


As of 2022, Chad has worked with over 5,000 dogs and he still gets his uniform dirty every day! Even though he works a lot of hours, Culp claims to feel like he’s already retired because he loves his job so much! He says, “I’ve had a lot of crappy jobs in my life but this isn’t work, this is fun! I mean, come on, I get to work with dogs all day. What more could you want? I’m livin’ the dream!”  


Chad’s philosophy uses a balanced approach to dog training by incorporating a variety of techniques that include positive reinforcement as well as traditional methods. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions page for more details on Chad and his business.




Thriving Canine was officially started by Chad Culp in 2007. That’s when the company name was nationally trademarked and when the first website went up. It was part-time at first but grew quickly and since 2009 it has been a full-time business that sees an average of 450 new clients per year. 

It may also be worth noting that Chad has had dogs his whole life. He likes to say that “his first babysitter was a German Shepherd” because legend has it that, as a toddler, the family dog would keep an eye on him and would not let him wander out of the yard. By 1974, at age 9, he had two dogs, a German Shepherd named Thumper and a Husky named Rocky. (see photo) Those were the first family dogs that were actually “Chad’s dogs”. Chad walked, fed, bathed, picked up after and trained those dogs himself and claims to have done “a pretty good job” considering he was a little kid with two large, intact, male dogs and no formal training. He continued to have dogs throughout his adult life but was pursuing a music career and did not get interested in studying canine behavior or training dogs professionally until late 2005 – early 2006, as he was approaching his 40th birthday. It may have been a little late in life for a complete career change but it seems to have worked out. After over 15 years in business, Chad still loves his job! 


Thriving Canine ranked among the top five best pet trainers in the Bay Area in 2011, 2012 and 2013. And, in 2013, Thriving Canine received the Best of Morgan Hill Award. In 2015 and 2016 Chad was voted Gilroy’s Best Dog Trainer by the readers of Out & About Magazine. In 2021, 2022 and 2023 Thriving Canine was voted Best Dog Training by the readers of The Morgan Hill Times.


Going Worldwide: Writing, Social Media & Entertainment


Culp has used the internet to move valuable dog training and behavior information to a global audience via Articles, Virtual Consults, Thriving Canine YouTube Channel, Thriving Canine Facebook Page, Online Puppy/Basic Obedience Course, Separation Anxiety Book and an iTunes Podcast, co-hosted by his wife, Dawn Culp. Thriving Canine Podcasts have interviewed a variety of celebrities in the dog entertainment and education world such as Temple Grandin, Jon Provost – who played “Timmy” in the original “Lassie” TV series, and Mrs. Charles Schulz. 


Culp has offered his expertise to local and national media via interviews and articles with organizations such as Bay Woof magazine, Out & About magazine, BARF World and GilroyPatch.

In 2008, Culp collaborated with his wife, Dawn Matthews Culp, on her book, “What’s Up Willie, The Birthday Puppy.” The book introduces children to safe interaction with dogs, as well as the realities and responsibilities of caring for a new puppy. They even did a local “book tour” to kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. Dawn would read from the book and then Chad would have the kids form a line to properly introduce themselves to one of their dogs. 

In spring 2011, Culp released a YouTube video, Dog Catches Banana Spit  on YouTube that landed him and his dog, Nakita, on the David Letterman stage to audition for “stupid pet tricks”. (see photo) In March, 2011, the video won second place on the nationally syndicated American television program, “America’s Funniest Videos”- (Season 21, episode 17).


Update 2022: In recent years, Chad has become much more focused on his local business and, therefore, has been putting much less energy into his internet presence. He has not been podcasting at all but still writes quite a bit and adds new YouTube and Facebook content now and then. Rumor has it that he is working on a Puppy Book. He states, “I’m not trying to become an influencer or anything like that. I just enjoy writing because it helps me get my own thoughts together. As for the videos and social media, I primarily put out content with my clients mind or just for fun. If strangers out there in cyberspace benefit from it, then that’s fantastic but it’s not what drives me. Working with people and their dogs in real life, that is my sundae, the internet stuff is just a cherry on top.” 



© Thriving Canine 2022 

Related Content:

How I Became a Professional Dog Trainer

Frequently Asked Questions

Balanced Dog Training: The Best of Both Worlds

The Four A’s of Dog Training: Choosing the Best Dog Training Method

Dog Psychology pt 1: What Is Dog Psychology?

The Three P’s of Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation in Dog Training: Beyond Carrots & Sticks


Please contact us for any of your dog training needs. We offer in-person training in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as virtual consults anywhere in the world.

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