debono·dog (noun):
1: a dog whose behavior sets them apart from others in undesirable ways
2: a social misfit


Hi, I’m Steve DeBono and I’ve been a dog trainer/behavior guy for the last 20 years. I ran the DeBono Dog Behavior Center in Austin, TX, for several years. I’ve also worked with a number of organizations such as Austin Pets Alive! and Final Frontier Rescue Project. I have a Masters in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin (studying dog behavior!). 

I’ve always been drawn to the most behaviorally challenged dogs – those are the pups for me – “debonodogs”.  My specialty is working with fearful dogs that show “aggressive” behavior towards people or other dogs. 

I’ve recently moved to Oklahoma City and looking for ways I can help this city’s debonodogs! 

Whether you are a shelter, rescue, dog parent, or prospective dog parent I can help you. 






Do you have a population of “long-stay” dogs with behavior challenges that seem “stuck” in your system? I can help you:

  • create behavior plans for specific dogs that can be implemented by existing staff/volunteers/fosters
  • work with specific dogs on-site
  • implement playgroup programs that open socialization options for dogs that have been labeled “not dog friendly”
  • implement systems that accelerate safe placement of “long-stay” dogs with behavior challenges
  • train staff/volunteers simple training and handling techniques that keep dogs and humans safe
  • systematically assess and remove barriers to adoption
  • implement “matchmaking’ programs that make your adoptions more likely to last

Shelters that I have worked with have cut their long-stay dog population by as much as 24% in under 3 months. Contact me to discuss how I can help bring your shelter/rescue to the next step.


Do you have a dog that has trouble meeting strangers or other dogs, or is just generally afraid of the world? Or maybe you just need some general training help? I can help you:

  • teach your dog how to respond better to challenging situations
  • open your dog’s world to new socialization possibilities
  • build your dog’s confidence (and yours too!)
  • teach basic training skills
  • live a better, more satisfying life with your dog


Looking for the perfect match for your home? I can help you:

  • create a checklist of “needs”
  • search for dogs that are more likely to fit your lifestyle
  • accompany to shelters/rescues/fosters to meet dogs 
  • know the right questions to ask
  • prepare your home for your new dog



Want to learn some new things? I can help you:

  • learn my P.A.W. system to methodically diagnose dog behavior obstacles, know  what needs to be done to overcome them, and get owner compliance.
  • work with difficult behavior and cases of “aggressive” behavior
  • understand what you are seeing and what it means (if anything!)
  • with a bunch of other things, if you are open! Contact me and we can discuss how I might be able to help you become even better at what you do!