Sarah Richardson’s Canine Connection is a comprehensive canine center where everything, from our training and daycare/boarding programs to the products we provide in our store, is rooted in an understanding of dog behavior and the human-canine bond.

The Canine Connection was founded in 2002 when Dr. Sarah Richardson (PhD, CPDT-KA, CDBC, CSAT) introduced positive training to the Chico, California area. She and her skilled staff are fully dedicated to helping you and your dog enjoy a deeper, happier bond.


Mission and Values

Our mission is simple: to help build fun, energetic, and lasting relationships between people and dogs! We draw on leading edge knowledge of dog behavior to help you and your dog learn, play, and celebrate the human-canine bond. Yes, we love dogs! But, just as much, we love helping dog parents discover ways to understand, communicate with, and appreciate their dogs. We aim to enrich your life with your dog by providing a safe, comfortable, and caring environment where you and your dog can learn, develop friendships, and have fun!

We value:

  1. DOGS, because they are intelligent, sentient, and sensitive creatures with whom we are blessed to share our lives.
  2. OUR CLIENTS, who seek our services to better connect with their cherished canine friends, who we come to know as friends.
  3. RELATIONSHIPS between dogs and people. We believe those relationships are enhanced through knowledge, understanding, and education.
  4. SERVING OTHERS – our customers, clients, students, partners, and fellow staff – and the relationships of trust and friendship we form with those who cross our paths.
  5. OUR COMMUNITY as an attractive, friendly, healthy place to live and work and we strive for dogs to be welcomed in our parks and public places.
  6. The HEALING POWER of DOGS and other animals, their power to lift moods, improve health, and create social connections.
  7. HELPING DOGS who are homeless, in shelters, or with rescue groups and are waiting to become cherished members of loving homes.
  8. SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES that help to reduce our carbon footprints and paw prints.
  9. SAFETY and sparkle in our environment.
  10. LAUGHTER, creativity, and fun!

Training Approach

In recent years there has been a dramatic shift in how we look at dogs. Scientific principles of learning and behavior have been successfully integrated into the world of dog training. The result is that we now understand that dogs learn better when they are taught using positive reinforcement instead of punishment.

The training methods we use rely on positive reinforcement. In a nutshell, this means that we focus on rewarding dogs for getting things right instead of correcting them for getting things wrong. And, we help our dogs get things right by preventing unwanted habits from developing by managing their environments for success. Have you ever seen the comic strip that shows one dog talking to another, saying “My name is ‘No-no-bad-dog”? How sad and stressful for both dog and owner to constantly point out our dog’s wrongdoings. With positive training, our dogs learn to practice the behaviors we desire because their life is full of “Yes!”. So really, positive reinforcement training is more than just methods, it is also a way of looking at and interacting with dogs that recognizes their intelligence and sees them as partners in learning and living together.

Because we do not rely on corrections as a way to train, we do not advocate methods or equipment that can cause pain or discomfort to your dog. Thus, we do not advocate the use of chain (choke or pinch/prong) or electronic (shock) collars. Instead, we use equipment that helps foster good behaviors we can then reward.

We Believe Training Should Be Fun!
We strongly believe that training dogs should be fun – for you and your dog – and we strive to make it enjoyable!

When training is fun for dogs they:

  • enjoy it more
  • gain confidence and trust in their trainer
  • develop a better bond and partnership with their people
  • better appreciate and respect their people
  • learn a larger repertoire of behaviors
  • and respond more reliably.

When training is fun for people they:

  • enjoy it more
  • practice it more
  • develop a better bond and partnership with their dogs
  • better understand, appreciate and respect their dogs
  • teach a larger repertoire of behaviors
  • train in more locations and take their dogs more places
  • and interact with their dogs more frequently and enjoyably.

The end result . . . happy dogs and people who can enjoy a permanent, positive connection!

Contributions and Fundraising

The Canine Connection was founded because of a love of dogs. In an effort to extend our reach to dogs not directly affiliated with us, we contribute, in a variety of ways, to non-profit groups involved with the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of dogs. Here are some of our recent fundraising efforts and gifts:


  • Our annual fundraiser, Walk Woof Wag, raised $12,000 for Chico Animal Shelter's medical fund in 2016! Thank you to all who participated! Read more about this annual event HERE.


  • A top fundraiser (third place) for 2015 Bidwell Bark.  TEAM CANINE CONNECTION 2015 raised $4,470 for Butte Humane Society.
  • Organizer and top sponsor for Walk Woof Wag 2015, our annual fundraiser for Chico Animal Shelter's medical fun that raised close to $4,000. Click HERE for more information about this event.
Long Nose, Big Heart: Quaid was adopted through Greyhounds Friends for Life


  • A top fundraiser (second place) for 2014 Bidwell Bark.  TEAM CANINE CONNECTION 2014 raised $9,000 for Butte Humane Society.
  • Organizer and top sponsor for Walk Woof Wag 2014, the inaugural year of this annual fundraiser for Chico Animal Shelter that raised close to $2,000. Click HERE for more information about this event.
  • 2014 Fundraiser for Chico Animal Shelter - $1225 raised for purchase of medical equipment and for medical fund


First place fundraiser for 2013 Bidwell Bark. TEAM CANINE CONNECTION 2013 raised $14,675 for Butte Humane Society.

To learn about this photo click here.