Dog training


Last week we listed the red flags in sales pitches for dog training services: words and phrases, claims and misinformation, all warning that the training offered could be punitive (punishment, pain, force, coercion) . This week, we’re offering ‘green flags’ instead – in ads, news, etc. – which indicate that the training will be positive.

I asked friends and dog pros for their thoughts on these green flags. I added, “Proud of your own ads and information about the dog training services you offer? Show us! Include a link to your website with your review, please! their answers. Of course, they are proud!

I have chosen to extract several short statements from these websites to illustrate individuals’ commitment to positive training – statements that I believe tell us clearly “who they are”.

I encourage you to use the links to these examples of “green flag” websites that tell us honestly and openly “what they do and how they do it”. I think you will be impressed. I certainly was!

First, what “green flag” dog professionals note in sales pitches for dog training services.

Caroline Duncan (Texas) Based on science.

Sodonnia Wolfrom (Arkansas) Continuing education is essential. What we know about dogs changes over time, so continuing to learn over the course of your professional career means you’re more likely to follow the science.

Monique Feyrecilde (Washington) Open door policy to observe before attending.

Bryn Souza (Connecticut) Encouragement to include multiple family members in the training practice and multiple dogs in the household, not just the one that “needs work”. Willingness to offer individual sessions or in-home sessions to actually observe family dynamics beyond a group training setting.

Jeanne Brenan (California) Any wording that promotes building a “partnership” with your dog is a green flag. Learning to live with a dog Is need to learn to read. I can’t remember who I first heard this from, but training isn’t something you do TO the dog, it’s something you do WITH your dog. Dr. Sophia Yin used to describe it as a dance (she was a great ballroom dancer, BTW), and I remember many times I felt that while working with my dogs. It was so much fun!

Does this mean you can hire a trainer to train your dog for you? I say yes, but with stipulations. You have to at least commit to watching how the person trains, and does they train with joy? Then you need to spend time with the trainer learning the skills your dog has learned and maintaining the joy.

I think the reason the word “obedience” bothers me—even makes me groan—is that it doesn’t imply partnership or building a relationship. This word, and its variations, sounds like something you do TO the dog, which removes the fact that you are also responsible for contributing to this relationship.

Photo by Sarah Richardson

Jessica StinsonHudson (Alabama) Allows dogs; photos of happy dogs who are customers (no stock photos); accredited with an organization that promotes non-aversive (or minimally aversive) methods; positive reinforcement; landmarks ; without fear; no pictures of aversive tools.

Excerpt from “My training philosophy” by Jessica, at Mobile dog training

My goal is to promote trusting, healthy and enjoyable relationships for owners and their dogs. My training philosophy is that learning should never be painful, intimidating or forced. Instead, your dog should respond willingly and cheerfully to your cues and have a clear understanding of what is expected. I promote non-aversive tools and methods and use evidence-based approaches to communicate with dogs. Training should be fun for you and your dog! The methods I use in training create a thinking dog that is motivated to make good choices.

Cindy Wilmot (Vermont) Cruelty Free; ethics; without forcing ; Without fear ; non-coercive; no bullying; reward based.

Excerpt from “About Us” by Cindy:

To Incredible canines, we believe that choice-based learning is beneficial to the dog/human relationship because it builds and fosters trust in ways that other methods cannot. When you give your dog a choice, you are telling him that he has the freedom to choose not to participate in something scary or unpleasant. It may seem counter-intuitive, but think about the many choices we make every day. What if your life was micromanaged to the point that you had little or no control over every aspect? Our dogs depend on us to guide and train them in a sometimes scary and confusing world. Our job is to provide a structure that helps our dogs understand the environment in order to feel safe and confident. It’s not a matter of control. It’s about helping them learn by providing clear information, teaching and marking behaviors, and motivating and reinforcing them in ways that promote active engagement. Force has no place in a healthy relationship.

Frances Dauster (Alabama) [I’d suggest] possibly a list of educational events [they’ve participated in]. Here is my list-not complete, but you get the idea.

Excerpt from “About us” by Frances on Sunpaws Pet Services

When choosing a dog training instructor to help you and your pet, please inquire about the methods used to teach your pet the skills you are looking for in your pet. Your pet should have fun. If training your furry friend isn’t fun for you and your dog, your relationship with your companion could easily suffer!

September B. Morning (Washington) “For families.” “Gentle and positive workout.”

From September onwards “dogs love schoolMission Statement”:

It’s our mission, and also our greatest pleasure, to help your dog become the dog you want them to be, using only gentle, dog-friendly, human-tested training techniques and tools. experience.

Steven Cogwell (Colorado) Affiliations with known non-strength organizations: PPG, Karen Pryor, VSA, Academy for Dog Trainers. I can easily find a clear explanation of their training philosophy on the website; they will clearly say positive, forceless, human. The positive is used as a selling point, from the outset, transparently and unequivocally. If I don’t know within 20 seconds of viewing their Facebook page or website that they’re a positive, non-strength trainer, I tend to move on.

From Steve”Training philosophy” at Almost Perfect Dogs:

The world of dog training is awash with conflicting information. There are many well-meaning and reputable people who care about dogs and they believe that collars, shock collars, choke chains and all sorts of punishment techniques have their place in modern dog training. . In response to this, here is the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists’ recent statement on humane dog training: “Based on current scientific evidenceAVSAB recommends that only reward-based training methods are used to everything dog training, including treatment of behavioral problems. [bold emphases are mine]

Before I share Alisha Ardiana’s comments, and her education and credentials as she lists them on her website, I’d like to draw your attention to a typical website “bio” for a company that offers individual training. , at home and in the classroom. This company has chosen to list most of its employees as carrying the title of “professional canine behavior”. Additionally, one particular employee (paid, what makes him “professional”?) also received other titles: “Puppy Specialist, Service Dog Specialist, Associate’s Degree – Law Enforcement, Enthusiast hiking and passionate about helping others”.

No explanation is included that explains where and how each title was won – need I say more? (I also want to point out that the number of “professional canine behaviorists” employed by this company has dropped somewhat since I last checked. I wonder why.)

When you read Alisha’s “About Me”, you probably won’t ask yourself “why”…no red flags here!

Alisha Ardiana (California) Positive reinforcement; without forcing ; support your dog; rewarded behavior will continue; security; emotions; and help your dog thrive. Connection, compassion, empathy, cooperative care, collaboration, teamwork.

From Alisha”About me” at empawyour

I have a degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame and had planned to become a veterinarian. Once I started working with animals, I preferred the caretaker role and became a licensed veterinary technician in California. I worked in this field for 20 years.

In 2015 I decided to pursue my passion for strengthening the human/animal bond through dog training.

I have trained puppies, teenagers, adults and seniors. My specialty is helping shy, fearful and reactive dogs feel safe with the support of their guardians.

Training / qualifications :

CPDT-KA ~ Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed

CTBC – Certificate in Behavior and Training Consulting from the Dog Training Internship Academy

FDM ~ Certified Family Mediator ~ LEGS Professional Course in Family Mediation in Applied Ethology

Completion of Karen Pryor Dog Professional Program

My training style is heavily influenced by internationally renowned dog trainers Amy Cook, Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez and Turid Rugaas.

I took Dr. Susan Friedman’s professional course, Living and Learning with Animals.

I am a student of Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.

Our dog and I have multiple titles with NASDA and AKC Trick Dog.

I have worked at San Francisco Puppy Prep, San Francisco SPCA and A Well Adjusted Pet.

How important is it to know what type of treatment you and your dog will receive from the company you choose for dog training services? Review the quote shared by Steven Cogswell of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists who recommends that “only reward-based training methods be used for all dog training, including the treatment of behavioral problems.”

Given this expert opinion, why would you want to make any other choice than that?

When you see too many red flags…walk away.