It’s time for some open, honest transparency. Here’s what people want to know:
What methods do you use to train dogs?
I use only industry leading, best practice, humane training techniques based on an understanding of behaviour science. The methods I use to train dogs are approved by the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association. They are also recommended by the Pet Professional Guild Australia, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour and the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants. Primarily this involves the use of positive reinforcement.
What exactly will happen to my dog if he “gets it wrong”
If your dog makes an incorrect response, we will determine why that is? We will change what we are doing to make it easier for them to understand. We will always set the dog up for success. We do not making it confusing and wait for them to fail.
If the animal gets it wrong then the teacher failed at teaching. Your dog is not stupid, wilful, dominate, obstinate – he just hasn’t understood us yet. (Or maybe the humans have been failing to understand the dog?)
Futhermore, I will never yell at, hit, kick, pinch, roll over, throw things at, physically touch, hurt, scare, intimidate your dog. I will not use a slip lead designed to choke, I will not use a check chain designed to choke, I will not use a prong collar designed to pinch/stab, I will not use an e-collar design to electric shock your dog. All of these have nasty side effects, including aggression.
What exactly will happen to my dog if she “gets it right?”
So your dog is doing what we want them to do? Awesome. We’re going to give the dog something that they like, or want, as a result of doing the behaviour we want them to. This is called positive reinforcement – it means that behaviour that is reinforced is more likely to happen again in the future. Most dogs like food (you were going to feed them anyway, may as well make them work for it) some like verbal praise, pats or toys. You wouldn’t do your job if you didn’t get paid for it – dogs want payment for a job well done too.
This type of training is really easy for everyone to do, even kids. And the best part – there are no nasty side effects.
Do you belong to any professional industry organisations?
Yes I am a professional level member of two recognised industry organisations in Australia. The Pet Professional Guild Australia and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia. Both have a code of ethics that members must adhere to.
Pet Professional Guild Members are required to obtain continuing education units to keep their professional level standing. This means we attend industry conferences to stay on top of the leading edge training methods supported by current science. We attend extra workshops to keep skills sharp. And undertake more courses, learn from webinars for continued professional development.
This is important. You don’t want to hire a trainer whose only ‘certification’ is that they’ve been doing it for 20 years. Maybe they’ve been doing it really badly for that long and have no idea! Further, like everything in life, our understanding and expectations change over the years through improvements in technology and research. Follow the science.
Do you have any certifications?
Dog training is unregulated in Australia (and pretty much globally) so anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or behaviourist. They could get their “licence from a wheaties box” There is no requirement to have a qualification or complete any theoretical or practical training. It is voluntary to do so.
Despite not being required, there is a nationally recognised qualification. I have the Certificate IV Companion Animal Services (Canine Behaviour and Training)
I have also completed other studies from overseas organisations that are recognised amongst those leading the industry. From Karen Pryor Academy and International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants.