Matt Beisner believes there is no such thing as a bad dog. This theory has made him a coveted dog behavior expert in Los Angeles and beyond. In fact, National Geographic came calling and his new series Dog: Impossible launches next Monday, just a week after National Dog Day on August 26.

Beisner wasn’t always a fan of dogs. In fact, he was afraid of them for much of his life until he cracked the code on how to effectively communicate with them.

Dog: Impossible is a six-part series that will have viewers laughing and crying in equal amounts. Matt Beisner, and his dedicated team of dog lovers don’t use tricks. treats or fear to rehabilitate dogs at his LA-based facility The Zen Dog. He just communicates with them and their owners in simple ways that are easy for both to understand. And some of these dogs seem untrainable and seriously dangerous. Even the most adamant dog-lover may say, “Yeah, no!” when confronted with these creatures. Beisner doesn’t feel that way and risks maiming or worse every day to prove his point and give every dog a good life.

Matt Beisner connected with Michelle Tompkins for The Hollywood Digest about his background, his dog philosophies, how he feels about some of the owners, what he wants for every dog, the significance of National Dog Day, tips for communicating with your dog, what makes his Nat Geo WILD show special, what he likes to do when he isn’t working and more.

See this feel-good and educational interview here:

Michelle Tompkins:  Where are you from?

Matt Beisner:   I am from California by way of Guam, Ohio and New York.

Michelle Tompkins:  Where do you live now?

Matt Beisner:   I live in Los Angeles, California.

Michelle Tompkins:  Have you always had affection for dogs?

Matt Beisner:   Yes, until I was bitten as a kid on Halloween. And then I was afraid of dogs for the next 30 years.

Michelle Tompkins:  How did you become a dog specialist?

Matt Beisner:   In the early days of cleaning up my life, my then-girlfriend had a 13-pound rescue pup named Kingston that was aggressive. It was time for me to face my fear of dogs and my fear of everything else. In taking care of him I began to take care of myself. This was the beginning of what would become THE ZEN DOG ethos: if we make it about the dogs first, we all transform. I supported my work by studying the leading behaviorists and scientists in the field.

Michelle Tompkins:  What is your basic training philosophy?

Matt Beisner:   If you want to change your dog’s behavior, change your relationship with your dog. And it won’t require tricks, treats, force or fear.

Michelle Tompkins:  Tell me about your dog training facility. The Zen Dog?

Matt Beisner:   The facility gives dogs a chance to be dogs, to feel secure, happy and comfortable, regardless of what their prior history is.

Photo by Scott Witter
Matt Beisner Pic credit: Scott Witter

Michelle Tompkins:   What contributes to a dog behaving badly?

Matt Beisner:   Brain development, subliminal fear triggers, lack of socialization (90% of aggression is fear-based) and human interaction (excessive and inappropriate affection) are the primary factors in unwanted behavior. And still, there are no bad dogs.

Michelle Tompkins:  Under what, if any circumstances do you find a dog unsaveable?

Matt Beisner:   I haven’t met an unsaveable dog yet. I have found a handful of circumstances where it was simply untenable for the dog to stay in the environment it was in. 

Michelle Tompkins:  Have you ever lost your temper at a human who mistreated the animals in their care?

Matt Beisner:   No, but sometimes that is the hardest part of the job. I have come to understand that If I judge someone, I can’t really help them. So I have to stay open and be of service.

Michelle Tompkins:  What makes you most angry about dog care?

Matt Beisner:   That we don’t respect dogs for who they really are.

Michelle Tompkins:  How do you feel about dogs wearing clothes?

Matt Beisner:   I feel mixed at best.

Michelle Tompkins:  Tell me about your show?

Matt Beisner:   Each episode of Dog: Impossible focuses on the arc of transformation that happens in our day-to-day practices; in people’s homes, here at our facility and out in the world. Each week you will see humans and dogs change their relationship and do the impossible.

Michelle Tompkins:  What makes it special?

Matt Beisner:   Our approach is unique. The world-renowned Dr. Ian Dunbar called it the cutting edge of dog training.

Michelle Tompkins:  What do you like best about partnering with Nat Geo WILD?

Matt Beisner:   I appreciate that everything with Nat Geo WILD is animals first.

Michelle Tompkins:  What is National Dog Day?

Matt Beisner:   It is a day to celebrate everything we love and know about dogs and everything we have yet to learn.

Michelle Tompkins:  Do you have any pets?

Matt Beisner:   Yes, my wife Brooklin and I have rescue dogs.

Michelle Tompkins:  How do you feel about cats?

Matt Beisner:   Love cats. Don’t understand them.

Michelle Tompkins:  Do you still work as an actor?

Matt Beisner:   I walked away from acting years ago to follow this calling.

Michelle Tompkins:  What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?

Matt Beisner:   Spending time with my wife and our three-year-old son, and travel.

Michelle Tompkins:  How do you want people to reach out to you?  or on social media:

Instagram: @thezendogla

Facebook: @ thezendogla

Twitter: @thezendogla

Michelle Tompkins:  What’s next for you?

Matt Beisner:   I don’t know, but it sure seems fun.

Michelle Tompkins:  Is there anything you want to add?

Matt Beisner:   Thanks for your time, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about how we can change the world for dogs.

Dog: Impossible premieres on Sep 2 at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD.