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Malinois | World Champions

About Ivan Balabanov

2 Time World Champion/Malinois Breeder/FCI Working Judge

Ivan Balabanov | Dog Training of Tampa Bay, inc.The average dog owner is not aware but, yes, the best of Dog Trainers do compare each other’s skills, through variety of dog sports! Winning a first place at a local dog show does not say much about the trainer. Winning a national championship is whole different story, but to become the best in the world, one must win a world championship!
It was in Bulgaria, where Ivan was born, that he first developed his love for dogs and training. Bringing home stray dogs, much to the disapproval of his parents, he developed a burning desire and inspiration to prove not only to himself but to the world what magnificent creatures they are.
He found early success in Europe before coming to the US to further his dream. Here, Ivan first worked as a Guide Dog Instructor in California, training more than three hundred dogs and students, and later as an Animal Behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA (a “no kill” facility), successfully rehabilitating the most difficult cases. At the same time, he answered the overwhelming demand for his services by offering workshops to countless global organizations, while also participating in dog training competitions around the world to perfect his craft. Ivan quickly became a household name as a result of his enviable talent in working with dogs, and accumulated countless accolades, accreditations, championships, and a global following.
His most prestigious reward is his own understanding of how he got there. Years of winning performance competitions have demonstrated to him time and time again that the slim margin between excellence and exceptionalism has little to do with the dogs or their ability to understand.
For Ivan, competition was never about winning, it was about observing and assessing why his dog-training approach outperforms all others, every time. With each contest, he took home the invaluable understanding that it’s invariably the trainers who limit the dog’s learning potential, by implementing techniques that perpetuate flawed human perceptions about dogs’ intelligence, or lack of it.
Ivan’s philosophy defies those flawed beliefs and avoids the pitfalls that come with deciding on behalf of the dog the extent of understanding possible. By contrast, his celebrated approach shows dogs a well-deserved respect, and creates a space where dogs can rise to the opportunity and prove to their trainers that they understand a lot more than we think.
Throughout his career, Ivan has focused his time and energy on teaching his philosophy to as many new trainers as possible. He’s invested himself in not only nourishing his own raw talent with the animals, but in developing the leadership skills needed to share that talent with other trainers. After years of freelancing and delivering outstanding results through his globally-acclaimed workshops, he’s created Clear Communication -Training Without Conflict, a platform that will bring his philosophy and its proven success to the widest possible market of future exceptional trainers. He possesses the rare combination of skills required to achieve superior results not only from dogs, but from the people who train and love them.
Ivan is the first to say that for him, training dogs is the easy part. He’s been doing that since he was a young boy, barely strong enough to hold a leash. Teaching people how to do it is where the challenge lies, and he’s spent years mastering exactly that. He is confident and committed to delivering programs that will bring out the best in trainers, so they can bring out the best in their dogs. He envisions a world filled with happy, talented, respected dogs, as a result of being trained not only the best way, but the right way.

Unparalleled Accomplishments & Credentials


(Individual titles for the past 18 years)
  • World Champion – International Dog Federation (FCI) All Breeds IPO3.
  • World Champion – Belgian Shepherd World Federation (FMBB) IPO3.
  • National Champion Seven-time American Working Dog Federation (AWDF) IPO3.
  • National Champion Five-time American Working Malinois Association (AWMA) IPO3.
  • National Champion United Schutzhund Clubs of America German Shepperd IPO3.


Ivan has given over 1000 seminars and workshops to organizations in more than twenty-five countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, including: United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, England, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, South Africa …
  • US Special Forces
  • United States Police Canine Association (USPCA)
  • ATF Special Canine Units Task Force
  • Search and Rescue Organizations (SAR) worldwide
  • Swiss Army

Awards, Certifications, & Accreditations

  • Belgian Malinois breeder since 1989 under the famous Ot Vitosha Kennel.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from Malinois Working Association.
  • Founder and President of the American Working Malinois Association (AWMA).
  • Founder & Curriculum Designer of the original SF/SPCA Dog Trainers Academy.
  • FCI (International Dog Federation) working sports judge.


  • Owner of Train Per View, Inc. Online Dog Training Videos
  • Co-Author, Advanced Schutzhund
  • Co-Creator/Expert, Obedience Without Conflict DVD’s.