Two Time World Champion/Malinois Breeder/FCI Working Judge

The impact that Ivan Balabanov has had in the dog training world is unrivaled by any other person on earth.  Ivan has over 30 years of experience in dog training, breeding, dog sport, protection, and civil work.  As the founder of Ot Vitosha Malinois, Ivan breeds world class dogs that are capable of everything from being a family pet, being champions of dog sport, assisting local police, as well as handling the most dangerous and clandestine missions in Special Forces teams around the world.

Ivan is the only American to have won not one, but two World Championships to go along with 14 National Championships in IGP dog sport competitions with dogs he personally bred, raised, and trained. Ivan is also the founder of Training Without Conflict – a world-renowned resource for dog owners, professional dog trainers and respected dog institutions around the world.  In addition to all of this, Ivan finds the time to help many shelters and rescues with the rehabilitation and training of troubled dogs.

Ivan’s global following looks to him for what is said to be the most innovative approach in dog training techniques. From the beginning, Ivan knew he had a gift for training dogs, but his greatest achievement is imparting his years of experience, knowledge and wisdom on countless trainers and dog owners, so that he can help as many dogs and people as possible.

The incredible information that Ivan provides to the dog training world has changed dog training forever and will continue to transform the lives of dogs and dog owners for years to come!

Ivan is the only American to have won not one, but two World Championships to go along with 14 National Championships in IGP dog sport competitions with dogs he personally bred, raised, and trained.

An Advocate & Philanthropist

Here are just a few of the institutions who turn to Ivan for guidance and support:

  • Dogs Playing For Life

  • USPCA (United States Police Canine Association) certification and workshops

  • UATF Special Canine Units Task Force

  • SAR (search and rescue groups) in US and abroad

  • Service Dog Agencies (guide dogs, hearing dogs, etc.)

  • IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals)

In addition, Ivan was instrumental in founding the American Working Malinois Association (AWMA), as well as being a licensed working judge for FCI International and also a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC).

A Sought-After Global Workshop Leader

Ivan has given over 900 seminars and workshops in the 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, and Venezuela.  That’s well over thousands of days of lecture and practical work in the last ten years alone, and as a result, he is considered one of the driving forces in revolutionizing dog training with his unique training style around the globe.

His amazing dogs have even appeared on local television as well as being featured on Animal Planet, Fear Factor, and most every dog sport magazine around the world.

A Respected Author

Ivan’s award-winning the book, “Advanced Schutzhund” and his best-selling DVD series “Obedience Without Conflict” was instrumental in helping dog owners around the world understand his powerfully effective methodology.

A Career of Innovation & Service

Ivan love for dogs began as a young boy growing up in his native country of Bulgaria, but he was ironically never allowed to own a dog.  Later, his family moved to Libya where a twist of fate allowed him to own his first personal dog that he could train.  Finally having a dog to train, a fire was lit inside young Ivan and he dreamt of one day training dogs in Belgium, which was considered the mecca of dog sport training at the time.  But there was one problem…his family was moving back to Bulgaria.  A couple years later with a few dollars to his name and a sack full of clothing, Ivan fled communist Bulgaria as a stow away on a train and was given political asylum in Belgium.  His dream was becoming a reality. It was here that he met some of his first mentors in the dog training world and even more importantly received his first Malinois, Nakita Des Deux Pottois, the foundation female of Ot Vitosha Malinois!

After a few years, Ivan was given a choice to become a Belgian citizen or leave the country, at which point Ivan chose to make his move to the United States, mostly because he thought it looked cool in the Hollywood movies.  There, Ivan worked as a Guide Dog instructor for 5 years at Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. He then accepted a very challenging position as Animal Behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA, which is the first “no kill” facility in the world.  He was responsible for the evaluation and rehabilitation of some of the most hopeless aggression cases towards people or other dogs, including dogs with extreme phobias and anxiety for about 5 years.

During the same time, Ivan created the SF/SPCA Dog Trainers Academy, which included writing the curriculum, as well as teaching the students the most modern and advanced methods to successfully train and rehabilitate some of the most difficult cases ever seen in dog shelters and rescues. It was here that he successfully trained more than 300 dogs and students.

Ivan made a name for himself in the dog training world as a trainer who could train the untrainable and rehabilitate dogs deemed hopeless.  At this time, Ivan was also making waves in the dog sport world placing 12th in the world at the FCI World Championships with Nakita Des Deux Pottois, which was the highest placing ever by an American at the time.  Since then Ivan has continued to learn, teach, and train and he is aided by an unquenchable thirst for helping dogs, owners, and trainers alike.

Ivan came from the most humble beginnings and armed with his gift of being able to clearly communicate with dogs, has become the world’s best and not only continues his quest to be better every day, but also finds the time to share his gift with anyone with an open mind.