About Don Hanson

Don & Muppy – 2020

Don Hanson has loved dogs for as long as he can remember. After a 17-year career in the medical device industry, Don and his wife Paula joined the ranks of pet care professionals when they purchased the Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, Maine, in 1995. Since then, Don, his wife Paula, and their team of employees have been offering pet-friendly boarding, daycare, grooming, training classes, behavioral consultations, and the sale of wholesome pet food and quality supplies to pet lovers in the greater Bangor community. However, in addition to providing and selling services and products, Don and Paula felt it was essential that an equally important part of our mission was to be a resource for reliable, scientifically-based, and holistic information on pet care, behavior, and training

During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Don transformed Green Acres Kennel Shop’s dog training program into a hybrid featuring online and in-person training. He soon recognized that providing these services online, enabled him to share his knowledge, experience, and passion beyond Bangor, Maine. As a result, he established a new business in late 2020 – ForceFreePets.com. The mission of ForceFreePets.com is to serve as an educational resource that provides current and valuable information for those seeking help for their dogs’ and cats’ care and training.

Green Acres Kennel Shop and ForceFreePets.com comply with the Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) Guiding Principles and Code of Ethical Conduct and the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) 2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines. We are committed to the No Pain, No Force, No Fear philosophy of companion animal care and training.

Don is credentialed by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) as an Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC). He is also credentialed as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and as a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP) by the Bach Foundation.

Green Acres has been consistently voted the best kennel, best pet store, best dog trainer, and best pet groomer in the region for several years and in 2020 was recognized as one of the Top 10 Best Kennels and Top 10 Best Dog Trainers in Best Businesses of America’s 21st annual Best of New England ratings.

Don has been very active in the pet community, serving on the Bangor Humane Society Board of Directors from 1996-2011, including five years as its President. He was recruited to serve on the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee in 1998. This group developed the first certification exam for professional dog trainers in 2001. Don was elected to serve on the APDT Board of Trustees for nine years (2002-2007, & 2011-2013) and served three years as the Board Chair (2007, 2011, & 2012). In October of 2014, the APDT recognized Don as the Dr. Ian Dunbar Member of the Year.

In early 2014, Don discovered and joined the Pet Profesional Guild. A longtime advocate for pet-friendly pet care, Don was excited to have found an organization for pet care professionals who shared ethics and values. He believes so strongly in the mission of PPG that he enrolls all members of his team at Green Acres as PPG members as soon as they have completed their training.

Don was invited to join the PPG Advocacy committee in September of 2016. He was appointed Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee in February of 2018. In October of 2019, he was made chair of the Shock-Free Coalition and asked to serve on the PPG Steering Committee. In July of 2021, Don was appointed to the PPG Board of Directors.

In the Spring of 2019, Don wrote an article entitled What’s Shocking about Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Training published in the July 2019 issue of  BARKS from the Guild, the official bi-monthly publication of the Pet Professional Guild. You can read that article at http://bit.ly/ShockBARK-JUL2019 .

Don is especially interested in complementary and alternative medicine and became the first Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP) in the Americas in 2003.

In 2004 Don was asked to produce and host a weekly radio show on pets, The Woof Meow Show. The show focuses on educating people about dogs, cats, their behavior, health care, nutritional needs, and their relationship with their people. Hosted by Don Hanson and Kate Dutra of the Green Acres Kennel Shop, the show is broadcast at 9 AM on Saturday on Z62 Retro Radio at AM620-WZON and WKIT HD3. Podcasts are typically released immediately after the show. They can be downloaded at our podcast page < click here > or the Apple iTunes store. Listeners also have the option of tuning in on their computer via AM620’s online stream at http://www.wzonam.com/ or on their smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app.

Don writes articles for his blog ( www.words-woofs-meows.com ) and has a monthly column in the Downeast Dog News. His articles have also appeared in the APDT Chronicle of the Dog, BARKS from the Guild, Maine Dog Magazine, Off Lead & Animal Behavior, and The Maine Edge. You can find a list of his publications at < click here >

Committed to continuing education, Don attends various conferences, seminars, and webinars every year < click to see a list >.  In addition, he has presented seminars and webinars on pet behavior, dog training, pet nutrition, and Bach Flower Remedies in Canada, the Caribbean, Japan, and throughout the US < click to see a list >.

More About Don

Don’s CV & CEUshttp://bit.ly/Dons-CEUS

Don’s Speaking Engagementshttp://bit.ly/Dons-Presentations

Don’s Publicationshttp://bit.ly/Dons-Publications

Don Hanson Interview by Roman Gottfried (JUL2019)https://youtu.be/XePCAcA3KPA

Don Hanson Interview by Courtney Emken and Bart Emken of Dogboy’s Dog Ranch (OCT2020)https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3779342092078190

< Updated 03AUG21 >


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