Dog training

Dog training with passion – The Portugal News

Training a dog properly can be a challenge, so professional help can be essential.

Cláudia Estanislau explains her methods of training dogs without resorting to violence.

Claudia said The news from Portugal that she has always loved animals, but that dogs held a special place in her heart due to the closeness of her life to theirs. When she emigrated to England, the trainer could not take her dogs, as it was a challenge to find a home where they would accept animals. In this context, she embarks on volunteering and discovers that anyone can train dogs and not just the police, as was the case in Portugal.

School opening

After several different jobs, Cláudia decided to take her first dog training course in Canada. Still, she didn’t identify with “the way they trained the dogs.” According to the trainer, the methods were aggressive, and she admits that she “was very bad at punishing dogs” and that she felt uncomfortable in this kind of situation. After completing the course and after extensive research, she concluded that there were other, less aggressive ways to train dogs and decided to take a course with James O’Heare.

However, in England, Cláudia Estanislau opened her dog training school “It’s All About Dogs”. The school “has no physical space”, because, according to the trainer with 15 years of experience, dogs “do not generalize spaces” like human beings. This means dogs will only exhibit behaviors that guardians report in their space. Bringing dogs to school would prevent them from having certain attitudes because the stimuli that would trigger the behavior would not exist. In this sense, “the school was created in the light of what was studied” and “home-based training” is the path it follows.

Applied methods

In people’s homes, Cláudia Estanislau trains dogs using positive reinforcement, to train the dog without violence and prevent the creation of trauma and other types of emotions that can affect the animal’s entire life. During the interview, the coach made an analogy with raising children. Over time, we realized that hitting children at school did not guarantee better results, that otherwise, without violence, the child could learn. The human brain does not work like an animal’s, however, there are studies and evidence that training a dog without violence is possible and much more beneficial for the animal. It is in this sense that Cláudia follows her training, as well as all the other coaches involved in the school.

The employment struggles

Although it was his dream job, the trainer revealed to The news from Portugal that his profession is not recognized by the government. All of the school’s coaches work as ‘service providers’ and receive their salaries through green receipts. However, the course she took abroad cannot be validated in Portugal, because the profession, according to Portuguese law, does not exist. As such, anyone can pursue a career as a dog trainer, even without training and receiving a salary for doing so.

Use social media

During the pandemic, Cláudia Estanislau decided to also devote herself to TikTok. The trainer realized that the application could be an excellent platform to contact future customers, while giving advice to its subscribers. She currently has over 35,000 followers on TikTok and posts dog training advice videos, responds to comments, and goes online where she answers questions from her followers. The social network allows Cláudia to be “with young people” while helping others.

Social media is always a place where comments can be negative and in Claudia’s case, things are no different. The coach admitted that she was already used to this type of talk even before the Internet was a tool accessible to almost the entire population. The trainer returned to Portugal with a completely different method of animal training. She was one of the first trainers to argue that violence was not the best educational tool, but first and foremost she is a woman. Claudia was one of the first coaches “to train without punishment”. At the time, there were public forums and she revealed that she had “been discredited in every way”. Due to her training method, the coach has received death threats and had her identity impersonated to denigrate her image. On social networks, Cláudia chooses to block people and prevent them from commenting on her posts to avoid any form of “emotional exhaustion”. However, hateful comments can confuse those who want to learn. The use of “spurious arguments” that are easy to understand, because “they don’t require a lot of thought, because they are easier to believe”, can challenge the information given by the trainer and lead to misinformation.

A call

At the end of the interview, Cláudia Estanislau appeals to people’s curiosity, because curiosity brings the will to learn. In the case of animals, the trainer says that “if someone says you can do better,” advice should be heeded, because “mistakes are learning opportunities.”

It’s All About Dogs offers services in several regions of the country, namely Póvoa do Varzim, Matosinhos, Porto, Santa Maria da Feira, Lisbon and Madeira Island. To contact the school, people can use the email address [email protected]