Why invest in a premium trainer?
Because we invest in our education. We put money into academies, conferences, workshops and memberships. Access to positive reinforcement communities led by industry leaders, researchers and scientists means learning the latest finds on canine behaviour while being in constant communication with our peers. All of this gives us the confidence to offer clients effective, modern and fear and force-free training plans. You wouldn’t pay for a counsellor who “really understands people” but doesn’t have certifications. Or send your child to a tutor who “likes working with kids” but has no formal education. You would likely have more trust in a professional who has up to date education, credentials and values continued learning in their field of expertise. See SPCA’s article How to Choose a Dog Trainer.
Do you guarantee you can fix my dog?
No, because this would be unethical. Just like a doctor cannot guarantee any success from a medical procedure, we cannot guarantee results that any dog will be “fixed”. Instead, we will address and treat the issue(s). We will support your end goal but, at the same time, keep things realistic by being transparent. Each dog is an individual and every case is contingent on the dog’s resources, history, environment, genetics and so much more. Which is why we avoid giving blanket statements and seek unique solutions catered to treating each client. Unfortunately, there are no magic tricks; there are no short cuts in dog training. As humans who need time to heal, unlearn and relearn – dogs also need your patience and, above all else, your commitment. We will recommend other trusted professionals in the field if what is required is out of our scope of practice.
Are you a dog whisperer?
Heck no! *Waves red flag*. Dog training is not based on having a natural knack in working with animals. Dog training is based on science – understanding how body language, threshold, environmental surroundings and/or genetics can play a role. Data collection, tracking progress and teaming with other professionals (such as vet or vet behaviourist) are sometimes necessary. This is why working with a certified trainer who has ongoing education and training are so crucial to addressing root issues, improving the dog’s well being and seeing positive long-lasting change.
Excellent signs when selecting a pet professional:
including vets, dog walkers, dog sitters, dog boarders, dog trainers, groomers, daycares
- BC SPCA Animal Kind accreditation – requires extensive auditing and meeting SPCA standards
- Fear-free certified – course program requiring examination
- CPDT-KA certification – requires examination and ongoing accumulation of approved continued education units
- IAABC certification – requires examination and ongoing accumulation of approved continued education units
- graduated and certified from evidence-based dog training academies requiring 1+ year commitments such as: KPA, CASI, Academy for Dog Trainers, Catch or ISCP
Red flags when selecting a pet professional:
- guarantees behaviour change
- overnight board and trains
- no recent credible education listed in the last 2 years
- no mention of “positive reinforcement”, “fear and force free”
- suggests time-outs, “it doesn’t hurt”, aversive tools, alpha rolls, punishment based methods
- “alpha”, “dominance”, “pack leader”, “pack”, “fix”, “correct”, “command”
- explains animal behavior in anthropomorphic terms or labels dog, ex “stubborn”
- “balanced trainer”
- “animal/dog behaviorist”, “behavioralist”, “animal/dog psychologist” – these are not recognized or credible professions in North America
Recognized and credible professions in the industry:
- “Vet Behaviorist (VB)” – veterinarians who specialize in behaviour medication after 3 years of case supervision, published in peer reviewed journals, authored 3 formal case reports and passed a 2-day board exam
- “Certified Animal/Dog Behaviour Consultant (CABC/CDBC)” – certified dog trainers who have taken extra education and certification exams to modify complex behaviors
- “Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT)” – certified dog trainers who have taken extra education and certification exams specializing in separation anxiety