AVSAB Issues Position Statement on Humane Dog Training – Shock, Prong & Choke Collars Should NEVER Be Used

< A version of this article was published in the OCT 2021 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 10OCT21 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/AVSABHumaneDogTraining >

In August, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) issued a position statement on humane dog training. I encourage all veterinarians, dog trainers and behavior consultants, other pet care professionals, animal shelters and rescues, breeders, and pet parents to familiarize themselves with the position statement and the cited studies. This is information they MUST be familiar with to practice ethically. The position statement refutes many myths about dogs, their behavior, and training, such as dominance, pack hierarchy, and the need to be “alpha.” AVSAB concludes its statement with the following:

Based on current scientific evidence, AVSAB recommends that only reward-based training methods are used for all dog training, including the treatment of behavior problems. Aversive training methods have a damaging effect on both animal welfare and the human-animal bond. There is no evidence that aversive methods are more effective than reward-based methods in any context. AVSAB therefore advises that aversive methods should not be used in animal training or for the treatment of behavior disorders.” [emphasis added]

AVSAB joins the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), which have similar position statements. FMI – https://bit.ly/Pos_HumaneTraining

One of the critical reasons for this position is that aversive methods and tools negatively affect animal welfare. They cause distress which is inhumane.

In observational studies, dogs trained with aversive methods or tools showed stress-related behaviors during training, including tense body, lower body posture, lip licking, tail lowering, lifting front leg, panting, yawning, and yelping.” 4–8

In contrast, “Dogs trained with reward-based methods showed increased attentiveness to their owner.” 5

As a pet parent, minimal or no stress and increased attentiveness are precisely what I want in my dog. As a professional dog trainer, I know it is what my clients desire as well. Having a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust is essential to successful training. Anyone who has been intentionally subjected to force, pain, or fear by someone knows those things will NEVER build trust.

Unfortunately, there are also long-term effects related to the use of aversives.

Survey studies have shown an association between the use of aversive training methods and long-term behavior problems including aggressive behavior towards people and other dogs, and anxiety-related behaviors such as avoidance and excitability.” 8–15 Additionally, “Several studies show the effect of aversive training persists beyond the time of training. After dogs learned a cue taught using aversive training methods, they continued to show stress-related behaviors when the cue was presented, suggesting the cue itself had become aversive.” 5,7,8

In other words, the use of aversives can create a lifetime of chronic stress for a dog. Most of us consider our dog our companion, and many refer to their dog as their best friend. But, who wants a life of chronic stress and fear for their best friend? No one, I hope.

Dogs with behavior issues such as reactivity, aggression, anxiety, and hyperactivity are challenging to live with and often have chronic stress in their lives, often creating distress for their person. Since these undesirable behaviors result from an emotional response, they cannot be “trained” away without first building trust. As noted above, aversives NEVER build trust. FMI – http://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

As a trainer, one of the first things I teach my clients is how to manage their dog and the environment to avert behaviors like aggression and anxiety. These behaviors are much easier to prevent than they are to fix after they develop. Incidentally, studies by Blackwell and Hiby10, 14 demonstrated that dogs trained using rewards are less likely to develop behavior problems than dogs trained with aversives.

Proponents of inhumane training techniques often argue that force is the only way to get results. However, that position is not supported by science. On the other hand, ample evidence in the peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that reward-based training works very well.

Reward-based training methods have been shown to be more effective than aversive methods” .1,2,17

Multiple survey studies have shown higher obedience in dogs trained with reward based methods.”9,14,18

A study by Hiby et al. (2004) “…found that obedience levels were highest for dogs trained exclusively with reward-based methods and lowest for dogs trained exclusively with aversive-based methods.” 14

The evidence from multiple studies is clear; if you want a well-trained dog, the best way to achieve that goal is with rewards, not punishment. I genuinely believe that no one with a dog wants to hurt their dog. If you or your trainer cannot get results without punishment, step back and recognize it’s time for you to learn a better way. Many trainers can help you get the results you want without resorting to aversives.

When looking for a trainer, AVSAB recommends:

An appropriate trainer should avoid any use of training tools that involve pain (choke chains, prong collars, or electronic shock collars), intimidation (squirt bottles, shaker noise cans, compressed air cans, shouting, staring, or forceful manipulation such as “alpha rolls” or “dominance downs”), physical correction techniques (leash jerking, physical force), or flooding (“exposure”). The learner must always feel safe and have the ability to “opt out” of training sessions. All efforts should be made to communicate effectively and respectfully with the learner.”

I sincerely hope that all veterinarians, pet care professionals, pet training and behavior associations, breeders, and animal shelter and rescues will develop their own positions statements and policies that support the AAHA, AVSAB, and PPG positions. It is long past time for people to continue abusing dogs in the name of training.

Recommended Resources

References

AVSAB Humane Dog Training Position Statementhttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/AVSAB-Humane-Dog-Training-Position-Statement-2021.pdf

2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelineshttps://www.aaha.org/globalassets/02-guidelines/behavior-management/2015_aaha_canine_and_feline_behavior_management_guidelines_final.pdf

PPG Guiding Principleshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Guiding-Principles

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

How to Select A Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToSelectADogTrainer

Important Position Statements Related to Animal Welfare & Care in the USA by Leading Organizations – https://bit.ly/Pos_HumaneTraining

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

What’s Shocking about Shock? – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Training – PPG BARKS from the Guild – July 2019http://bit.ly/ShockBARK-JUL2019

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockCollars

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1 – WWM-JAN2019http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 2 – WWM-FEB2019 –  http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-2

Choke Collar Pathology – an excellent blog post from dog trainer Daniel Antolec on the dangers of using a choke collar on a dog. – http://ppgworldservices.com/2017/06/13/choke-collar-pathology/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockPodcast

The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudgehttp://bit.ly/PodCastShockFree-NikiTudge-2017

What’s Shocking About Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Traininghttp://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatShock-27JUL19

Podcast – Charlee and the Electronic Shock Containment System w-Dan Antolechttps://bit.ly/Blog-Charlee_E-Fence

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), where he serves on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee and chairs the Advocacy Committee and The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©10OCT21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Podcast – Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 1

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< Shareable Short Link to this page >

In this first of a two-part series, Kate and Don interview dog trainer and author Linda Case about her book Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog. When Don read and reviewed Linda’s book last December < Click to read review > he stated “If you love dogs or work with those who love dogs, you need to read this book!” and he knew we needed to get Linda to talk about her book on The Woof Meow Show.

In this first episode we discuss some of the foundational material in the book such as the damage done by the myth of dominance, pack hierarchy and violence focused training, why your dogs breed matters, the importance of socialization and how it is often misunderstood, and the importance of understanding canine body language.

If you want to learn about your dog and how to live together happily, you will want to listen to this show and read Linda’s book.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://streamdb7web.securenetsystems.net/ce/index.cfm?stationCallSign=WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

#WoofMeowShow #LindaCase #ScienceDog #DogTraining

Contact Info

Linda P. Case, MS
AutumnGold Consulting and Dog Training Center
Mahomet, IL

(217) 586-4864

Autumngoldconsulting.com

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LindaCaseAutumnGold/posts/

https://thesciencedog.wordpress.com/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 2 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-18MAY19

Book Review – Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog by Linda P. Casehttp://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Dominance: Reality or Myth –  http://bit.ly/Dominance-RealityorMyth

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1 – WWM-JAN2019 http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 2 – WWM-FEB2019 –  http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-2

Dog Training – Reward Based Training versus Aversives –  http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

Does My Dogs Breed Matter? – Parts 1, 2 & 3 – WWM JUL2017 thru WWM SEP2017 – http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter

Introduction to Canine Communication – http://bit.ly/CanineComm

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – The Dominance and Alpha Myth (2010) – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Dominance-2010

Podcast – Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MS – http://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

©12MAY19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 3

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This episode of The Woof Meow Show from March 16th, 2019 is the third show in a three-part series. Kate and Don discuss; the initial training tasks you will want to focus on with your new puppy. That includes; hand-feeding for attention, food as a powerful reward and motivator, and how to use life rewards.  They will also address the importance of learning how to keep yourself and other people from inadvertently rewarding behavior that you do not like, such as jumping. Based on their experience teaching thousands of people how to train their dogs Kate and Don discuss why training takes time, commitment, and consistency and how to avoid common training mistakes.

You can find a list of links to corresponding articles on Don’s blog labeled as:

Especially for New Puppy Parentshttp://bit.ly/EspcNewPuppyParents

Part one in this series addressed things you will want to consider before you bring a puppy home; like choosing a veterinarian and a dog trainer and getting signed up for a training class that uses pain-free, force-free, and fear-free methods. Then Kate and Don move on to things you will need to do when you bring that cute ball of fluff home, and the first thing they emphasize is the need for patience. Kate and Don conclude the episode by addressing these critical puppy topics; socialization, alone training, and housetraining. This episode is available as a podcast at Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 1http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups1

Part two in this series addressed play biting, roughhousing, the importance and benefits of starting a Puppy Headstart class by the time the puppy is 10-weeks old, handling for grooming and routine care, managing kids and a puppy, growling, stealing, play, and chewing. his episode is available as a podcast at Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 2http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups2

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

 

Contact Info

Green Acres Kennel Shop
1653 Union Street, Bangor, ME 04401

207-945-6841

Website – https://www.greenacreskennel.com/
Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/

Blog https://www.words-woofs-meows.com

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Especially for New Puppy Parentshttp://bit.ly/EspcNewPuppyParents

Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior – http://bit.ly/GAKS-Attention

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Canine Behavior: Myths & Facts (2016)http://bit.ly/PetBhxWellness

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 1http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups1

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 2http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups2

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 3http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups3

Podcast – Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinichttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-03-12-Pet_Behavior-Vets_AAHA_Bhx_GuidelinesDave_Cloutier.mp3

 

©16MAR19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 2

< A version of this article was published in the February 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article on my blog – < http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-2 >

< A short link to all the articles in this series – http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown >

Last month I described how in 1991 I had been told to use a choke collar to train our dog Gus and how that damaged our relationship. I defined the term “aversive” and discussed the use of choke and prong collars, two of the most common aversives used to train dogs. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1 )

Today, the most extreme aversive used with dogs is the electric shock collar. A shock collar works by administering a shock to the dog’s neck to stop a behavior (positive punishment) or continuously shocks the dog until they do the desired behavior (negative reinforcement). Shock collars are promoted for remote training, containment, and to stop barking. Some trainers even routinely recommend shock be used to train a puppy to sit. All objectives that a knowledgeable and skilled trainer or behavior consultant can achieve without the use of aversives.

Why people choose to use a shock collar on a dog that is allegedly their best friend is a mystery to me. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock ) Based on experience with some of my clients I believe that they did not understand that the shock from a shock collar needs to hurt their dog to be effective. These individuals had been convinced to use a shock collar because they had been told it would allow their dog more freedom and then were appalled the first time their dog was shocked, and they heard her yelp in pain. They never used the shock collar again. Unfortunately, the marketing materials for shock products are not always clear about their aversive nature.

Why a canine professional would ever recommend any aversive, but especially a shock collar, is even more unsettling. It may be because they have elected not to keep learning.  Veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Lisa Radosta noted in the 2017 documentary film Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats: “If your trainer is still using pinch collars and choke collars they haven’t read a book or gone to a scientifically based seminar in 25 years.” That is why when choosing a dog training professional it is essential to make sure that they have been certified by an organization that mandates continuing education. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer ).

Experts in animal behavior know that the use of electric shock can be extremely harmful. That is why the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) have taken positions that shock collars should NEVER be used. It is why shock collars have been banned in many countries, and why many more are working towards that goal. You can find a list of scientific resources on the dangers of shock on my blog at http://bit.ly/SayNoToShock.

Electric shocks are painful, but it is equally important to understand that there are other tools that are used with dogs with the intention of causing physical or emotional pain/discomfort. These include, but are not limited to air horns, alpha rolls, beating, cattle prods, choke collars, citronella collars, dominance downs, lunge whips, pinch/prong collars, squirt bottles, starving or withholding food, throw chains, and more.

What many people do not realize is that anything that makes your dog anxious, afraid or uncomfortable is an aversive, even if you did not intend for it to be aversive. For example, within days of adopting our current dog, Muppy, she was sitting on my lap for some snuggle time when I sneezed. Muppy bolted off of my lap and ran out of the room. When I found her she was trembling, her tail was tucked, her head was down, her mouth was closed, and she was avoiding eye contact. She did not feel comfortable approaching me until I got down on the floor, looking the other way, allowing her to decide if she wanted to approach. She eventually did, and we resumed snuggling, but she continued to react in this manner every time I sneezed for several months. We finally got past this, but it took a concerted effort on my part.

I have had clients with dogs that have experienced a shock collar who will no longer enter an area where they received the shock. Others that have a panic attack anytime they hear something that is even remotely similar to the sound made by the shock collar. Some aggressively bark, growl, and lunge at any child because that is what they were focused on when they received the shock.  I know I could never put a dog through that, especially knowing that it is NEVER necessary.

I was fortunate; I learned how to train and care for a dog with management and positive reinforcement before shock collars became the latest fad. I hope that by reading this, you can avoid causing your dog unnecessary pain.

My next column in this series will address reward-based training and why it is the most humane and most effective way to train a dog.

If you agree that the use of shock collars is harmful to dogs, I encourage you to join the many people throughout the world that have signed the Shock-Free pledge. You may pledge and join the Maine chapter of the Shock-Free Coalition at http://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME-Chapter. You can follow our activities on Facebook at http://bit.ly/ShockFreeMEFB

If you are reading this and not from Maine, check out these links:

https://www.shockfree.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/shockfreecoalition/. The Shock-Free Coalition is an international project and we value your support no matter where you live.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1 – WWM-JAN2019 http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member? – WWM-OCT2017 –   http://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! – from the May 2017 issue of the Pet Professional Guild journal, BARKS from the Guildhttp://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/04/02/yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-green-acres-kennel-shops-pet-friendly-philosophy-part-1/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The PPG – Part 2http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/05/02/selecting-a-pet-care-provider-yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-the-ppg-part-2/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars

The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudge

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The Pet Professional Guild and Force-Free Pet Care with Niki Tudge

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinic

 

Other Publications & Blogs

BARKS from the Guild – May 2017 – Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_may_2017_online_edition_opt/58

BARKS blog – Choke Collar Pathologyhttp://ppgworldservices.com/2017/06/13/choke-collar-pathology/

 

Videos

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats (The entire film)    https://vimeo.com/230807934

Malignant Behavior: The Cesar Millan Effect (from Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats ) https://vimeo.com/243498663?fbclid=IwAR3RYOlIP7LeePV0B8ZaHhed5pPDYZbPu8KQbXNxfzOodWCRKspgcSQrwnc

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats – The Mind of Cesar Millanhttps://vimeo.com/236013182

Position Statements

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animalshttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals – https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Punishment_Position_Statement-download_-_10-6-14.pdf

Green Acres Kennel Shop

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

 Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Pet Professional Guild – Guiding Principleshttp://www.bit.ly/2mUCTqN

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Choke and Prong Collars – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Pet Correction Devices – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Equipment-Used-for-the-Management-Training-and-Care-of-Pets

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Shock in Animal Training – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

 Books

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018read a review at http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©02FEB19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1

< Updated 02FEB19 >

< A version of this article was published in the January 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article on my blog – < http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1 >

< A short link to all the articles in this series – http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown >

In September I wrote the 1st of a series of columns entitled “Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs” [ FMI http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance ] which I have since renamed Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog, because there are things I will be sharing that are not about training.

This month I am addressing the next stage in Gus’ training.

In 1991, dogs were routinely trained with collars explicitly designed to administer an aversive; positive punishment or negative reinforcement. At the time there were two primary types of training collars; choke collars or prong collars.

Choke collars are typically made of a metal chain or nylon. They are used to give a “leash pop” or “correction” when the trainer quickly jerks the leash. The intent is to cause the dog discomfort or pain around their neck.

A single correction with a choke collar may restrict breathing, cause damage to the spine, the thyroid gland, and even to the eyes. The use of choke collars has also been reported to cause brain damage.

Prong collars, also called pinch collars, consist of a metal chain that contains several prongs that rest against the dog’s neck. Just as with the choke collar, the trainer jerks on the leash causing the prongs to press against the dog’s neck causing pain or discomfort. Prong collars, like choke collars, can cause both physical and psychological injury to a dog.

The fundamental training philosophy behind the use of choke and prong collars is to set up a training scenario where the dog will react inappropriately (e.g., the dog does not sit when cued or the dog pulls on leash) whereupon the trainer administers a correction by jerking on the leash. This jerk causes an aversive or pain which is meant to deter the dog from misbehaving in the future.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “aversive” as “Tending to avoid or causing avoidance of a noxious or punishing stimulus – behavior modification by aversive stimulation.”

I find the above definition somewhat cumbersome and unclear, so I define an aversive as;

An aversive is anything that makes your dog anxious, afraid or uncomfortable. An aversive makes our dogs want to be away from whatever they believe caused the aversive. If they believe we caused the aversive, they will no longer want to be near us.”

Since most people get a dog to be their companion, I have to ask; why would anyone want to use a tool that would cause our best friend to want to avoid us? Today it makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, not knowing any better back in 1991, the next stage of Gus’ training involved the use of a choke collar.

We taught Gus to sit, to lie down, and to stay when he was given a verbal cue by using a correction with a choke collar. We worked on the heel but never mastered it without using the choke collar; something fairly common with dogs trained in this manner. Gus never had a reliable recall until we discovered reward-based training.

There are those who use choke and prong collars that will insist that when used correctly there is no pain involved with the use of these tools. They are either in denial, do not have a thorough understanding of operant conditioning and the science of learning, are being dishonest to themselves and anyone that they recommend use a choke or prong collar, or just don’t care because “Hey, it’s just a dumb animal.”. Choke and prong collars were specifically designed for two purposes; to administer positive punishment or negative reinforcement as part of a dog training regime.

With a skilled trainer, both choke and prong collars can accomplish the task of training a dog. However, neither collar was meant to be used on the dog for life. If someone is still using these devices a year after they “trained” their dog, the training was obviously not successful.

Even though these tools can work, based on what science has taught us about dogs and how they learn, those in the pet care profession that believe in continuing education, know there is no acceptable use for choke or prong collars today. Dr. Lisa Radosta, a veterinarian and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior, put it best in the 2017 documentary film Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats where she stated “If your trainer is still using pinch collars and choke collars they haven’t read a book or gone to a scientifically based seminar in 25 years.”

Positive punishment uses an aversive stimulus with the intention of stopping a behavior such as a dog pulling while on a leash. If the dogs pulls, the handler jerks on the leash, administering an aversive pressure around the dog’s neck until the dog stops pulling and the dog returns to the side of the handler causing the leash to go slack. The handler continues to do this everytime the dog gets out of the heel position, with the hope that the dog will never pull again so that they avoid the aversive. An example of positive punishment with people would be someone getting a ticket for speeding or parking inappropriately. How many of those people go on to repeat the offense? While positive punishment works some of the time, it often fails.

Negative reinforcement uses an aversive with the intention of causing a behavior to occur by administering something aversive until the dog performs the desired behavior. For example, if a trainer wanted a dog to sit, they would use the leash to tighten the choke or prong collar to be sufficiently aversive so that the dog will sit, whereupon they will stop tightening the collar and end the aversive stimulus. In its most benign form, the alarm in your car that beeps until you fasten your seatbelt is an example of negative reinforcement. In its most nefarious application, negative reinforcement was the method used by the dungeon master as he stretches a person on the rack until they confess. The latter is defined as torture; something viewed as being morally wrong and which is illegal in most civilized societies. I often ask myself why we still allow animals to be tortured in the name of training, especially when a skilled trainer can get the same results using rewards?

I am not arguing that punishment and negative reinforcement do not occasionally work as training methods. I am alerting you to the fact that there are significant adverse side effects to using these tools. Peer-reviewed studies indicate reward-based techniques, emphasizing positive reinforcement, work as well or better than punishment. That is why organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have policies that state:

This Task Force opposes training methods that use aversive techniques. Aversive training has been associated with detrimental effects on the human–animal bond, problem solving ability, and the physical and behavioral health of the patient. It causes problem behaviors in normal animals and hastens progression of behavioral disorders in distressed animals. Aversive techniques are especially injurious to fearful and aggressive patients and often suppress signals of impending aggression, rendering any aggressive dog more dangerous.

Aversive techniques include prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, lunge whips, starving or withholding food, entrapment, and beating. None of those tools and methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior.” – 2015 AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines [ Emphasis added ]

This is what I would have liked to have known about aversives before I started training.

  • Aversive training tools and methods are designed to hurt, and if these methods did not cause pain, they would not work.
  • The use of aversives can cause physical injury and thus both acute and chronic pain.
  • The emotional and psychological trauma caused by the use of aversives can be just as debilitating as physical injuries.
  • Causing pain and discomfort is not necessary to train a dog.
  • The better the relationship you have with your dog, the easier they are to train. Aversives are damaging to the relationship.
  • The use of aversives can cause reactive and aggressive behaviors in a dog.

Next month I will address other aversives still used far too often to train and manage dogs.

Next month I will address other aversives still used far too often to train and manage dogs. < Click to Read part 2 NOW >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

 

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! – from the May 2017 issue of the Pet Professional Guild journal, BARKS from the Guildhttp://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy – Part 1http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/04/02/yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-green-acres-kennel-shops-pet-friendly-philosophy-part-1/

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The PPG – Part 2http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/05/02/selecting-a-pet-care-provider-yes-a-trend-towards-kinder-and-gentler-professional-pet-care-the-ppg-part-2/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – Green Acres Kennel Shop’s “Pet-Friendly” Philosophy

Yes! A Trend Towards Kinder and Gentler Professional Pet Care – The Pet Professional Guild and Force-Free Pet Care with Niki Tudge

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinic

Other Publications & Blogs

BARKS from the Guild – May 2017 – Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_may_2017_online_edition_opt/58

BARKS blog – Choke Collar Pathologyhttp://ppgworldservices.com/2017/06/13/choke-collar-pathology/

 

Videos

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats (The entire film)    https://vimeo.com/230807934

Malignant Behavior: The Cesar Millan Effect (from Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats ) https://vimeo.com/243498663?fbclid=IwAR3RYOlIP7LeePV0B8ZaHhed5pPDYZbPu8KQbXNxfzOodWCRKspgcSQrwnc

Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats – The Mind of Cesar Millanhttps://vimeo.com/236013182

Position Statements

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animalshttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals – https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Punishment_Position_Statement-download_-_10-6-14.pdf

Green Acres Kennel Shop

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

 

Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

Pet Professional Guild – Guiding Principleshttp://www.bit.ly/2mUCTqN

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Choke and Prong Collars – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Pet Correction Devices – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Equipment-Used-for-the-Management-Training-and-Care-of-Pets

Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – The Use of Shock in Animal Training – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

 Books

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018read a review at http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©01JAN19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – Malignant Behavior: The Cesar Millan Effect

In this video clip from the director of the documentary film Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats you will earn about the damaging effects on dogs inflicted by America’s most famous self-described “animal behaviorist” Cesar Millan. This film should be on the “Must See” list for anyone that works with dogs and cats, either professionally or as a volunteer. That includes; Boarding Kennel Owners and Staff, Daycare Owners and Staff, Dog Trainers, Dog Walkers, Groomers, Pet Sitters, Shelter and Rescue Managers, Board of Directors, Workers and Volunteers, and Veterinarians and Staff.

Quite simply, if you love and care for dogs, you need to see this!   – https://vimeo.com/243498663

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Shared Blog Post – Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats: Messes We Make With Companions – A new film by Hugh Dorigo about the plight of millions of companion animals by Marc Bekoff in Psychology Today – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/09/25/shared-blog-post-dogs-cats-and-scapegoats-messes-we-make-with-companions-a-new-film-by-hugh-dorigo-about-the-plight-of-millions-of-companion-animals-by-marc-bekoff-in-psychology/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Podcast – The Woof Meow Show: The documentary film Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats with Producer and Director, Hugh Dorigohttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/09/23/podcast-the-woof-meow-show-the-documentary-film-dogs-cats-and-scapegoats-with-producer-and-director-hugh-dorigo/

Web Sites

Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats Movie on Vimeo –  https://vimeo.com/230807934

Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DogsCatsScapegoats/

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member?

If Yes, Then Please Join Me and Take the Pledge

< A version of this article was published in the October 2017 issue of Downeast Dog News>

Dogs were first referred to as “Man’s best friend” in 1789 by Frederick, King of Prussia. Today it is not uncommon for a person to say that they consider their dog to not only be their friend but to be a member of their family. That is how I view both my dog and cats. In spite of this apparent devotion to dogs, there are still too many people in this country that routinely use electronic shock collars to subject their dogs to shock on a regular basis, all in the name of training and containment.

When a dog receives an electric shock from a shock collar, the shock is meant to be sufficiently aversive to change the dog’s behavior. An aversive typically causes either physical or emotional pain or both. If the dog does not find the shock aversive, the shock will not stop the behavior. That is basic psychology. Rewarding a dog for a behavior causes that behavior to increase, and punishing a dog or adding an aversive, causes a behavior to decrease. Those that insist the shock does not hurt the dog and that it is merely a “stim” or “tickle” are either misleading people or do not understand the fundamentals of psychology and learning theory.

What makes the use of electric shock on animals even more distressing than the fact that we are intentionally hurting our pets, is that science has demonstrated that the use of punishment is unnecessary to train or manage a pet. In fact, we know with certainty, that the use of shock and other aversives can be extremely detrimental. The use of aversives can damage the bond we have with our pet, impair our pet’s ability to learn, and often cause fear and aggression. Considering that shock is unnecessary, its use amounts to nothing less than abuse. So I ask, why would anyone intentionally abuse their best friend or a family member?

Since its beginnings in 2012, The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has advocated against the use of aversives in the training and management of pets. In 2015, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), an accreditation body for veterinary practices and hospitals, issued their Behavior Management Guidelines. The guidelines clearly state: “Aversive techniques include prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, lunge whips, starving or withholding food, entrapment, and beating. None of those tools and methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior.” [Emphasis added]. The experts on our pets health, behavior, and training agree; shock should NEVER be used.

Whether the use of electric shock is intentional, due to casual disregard because “it is just a dog,” or due to ignorance, I and many others believe it is time for this inhumane treatment of our best friends and family members to stop. On September 25th the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) launched the Shock-Free Coalition ( http://www.shockfree.org ) “…an initiative that aims to build an international movement committed to eliminating shock devices once and for all in the care, training and management of pets.” This noble cause is long overdue and one that I support without hesitation. I hope that you will join me in this movement to educate and advocate for the abolishment of the use of shock devices for the management and training of our best friends and family members. Please take the first step, and join me by taking the pledge at http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Sign-The-Pledge.

What else can you do to support the Shock-Free Coalition?

  • Dog Parents – Ask any and every pet care provider that participates in the care of your dog (animal shelters, boarding kennels, breeders, daycares, dog walkers, groomers, humane societies, pet related periodicals, pet sitters, places you buy pet food and supplies, rescues. Veterinarians, ) if they are aware of the Shock-Free Coalition and if they have taken the pledge. Encourage them to do so. If they chose not to take the pledge, ask them why. Suggest that they do some research and reconsider. You might even provide them with a copy of this column. If they are still unwilling to take the pledge, remember, you can choose who gets your pet related business. Sometimes money speaks louder than words.
  • Pet Care Professionals – Take the pledge and make your support known to your employees, customers, and clients. Tell them about the pledge and ask them to take it as well. Show your support for the Shock-Free Coalition with signs in your facility, articles in your newsletter, information on your website, and with posts on social media. I know that pet parents care about this issue and they want to know that you care too!
  • Dog Parents and Pet Care Professionals in Maine – It is my goal to place an ad in the November issue of Down East Dog News listing everyone one in the state of Maine who has taken the pledge. We need to show that those that still recommend and sell shock collars are a minority. We need to show them that we want to stop the unnecessary abuse of our pets. To make that ad happen, I need your help and some donations. Learn how to add your name to the list for the November ad and to make a donation at http://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME

To learn more about the problems with shock collars, visit these resources:

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarhttp://bit.ly/ShockCollars

PPG Shock-Free Coalitionhttp://www.shockfree.org

Shock-Free Maine Information and Donation pagehttp://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME

PPG Guiding Principles – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPGs-Guiding-Principles

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Care – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2006/02/01/no-pain-no-force-no-fear-green-acres-kennel-shop-position-statement-on-pet-friendly-force-free-pet-care/

AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – https://www.aaha.org/professional/resources/behavior_management_guidelines.aspx

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. He is committed to pet care and pet training that is free of pain, force, and fear. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©1OCT17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – The Double Advantage of Reward-Based Training

In this post on The Academy for Dog Trainers blog, Dr. Zazie Todd discusses the benefits of reward-based dog training. Key points addressed are: aversive methods are not more effective, studies suggest reward-based methods might work better, aversive techniques have risks such as an increase in fear and aggression, fear takes a lot of work and time to resolve and does not always resolve, dogs taught with negative reinforcement are less likely to look at their owner, and reward-based training has fewer risks and is better for the dogs overall welfare.

Read the post at https://www.academyfordogtrainers.com/blog/the-double-advantage-of-reward-based-training

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Dog Training – Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/04/25/dog-training-reward-based-training-versus-aversives/

 

©5AUG17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

How to choose a dog trainer

< Updated 27JAN18 >

To listen to a 7JAN17 podcast from The Woof Meow Show on this topic <Click Here>

As someone who has been living with dogs for 40-plus years and teaching other people how to live happily with dogs for 20-plus years, I can assure you that finding a good dog trainer, even before you get your puppy or dog, is every bit as important as finding the best veterinarian for your pet.

Dog training is currently an unlicensed profession. As such, anyone, whether qualified or not, can call themselves a dog trainer, so it pays to be cautious when selecting someone that will be working with your family; you, other adults, your children, if you have them, and your dog!

Below you will find criteria, in order of importance, that I suggest you use when selecting a dog trainer.

  1. Select a dog trainer that is aware of and complies with both the 2015 American Animal Hospital Association Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines and The Pet Professional Guild Guiding Principles. If the trainer you are considering is not aware of these organizations and documents, look elsewhere. It is important to note that a pet care professional may not be a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) if they violate the Guiding Principles. That is why it is in your pet’s best interest to choose a member of the PPG.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) recognize the danger posed by choosing the wrong dog trainer. In the following excerpts from the 2015 American Animal Hospital Association Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines the AAHA explains the type of dog trainer one should avoid and the type one should choose.

This Task Force opposes training methods that use aversive techniques.1 Aversive training has been associated with detrimental effects on the human–animal bond, problem-solving ability, and the physical and behavioral health of the patient. It causes problem behaviors in normal animals and hastens progression of behavioral disorders in distressed animals. Aversive techniques are especially injurious to fearful and aggressive patients and often suppress signals of impending aggression, rendering any aggressive dog more dangerous. 1

Aversive techniques include prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls, dominance downs, electronic shock collars, lunge whips, starving or withholding food, entrapment, and beating. None of those tools and methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior1. Nonaversive techniques rely on the identification and reward of desirable behaviors and on the appropriate use of head collars, harnesses, toys, remote treat devices, wraps, and other force-free methods of restraint. This Task Force strongly endorses techniques that focus on rewarding correct behaviors and removing rewards for unwanted behaviors. –   [1 Emphasis Added]

The Guiding Principles of the Pet Professional Guild state: To be in anyway affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Members Understand Force-Free to mean: No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.1 The PPG Position Statement on the Use of Pet Correction Devices defines which training tools should and should not be used and explains why this is so important to your dogs quality of life. [1 Emphasis Added]

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) is a group of veterinarians and research scientists dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through an understanding of animal behavior. They have also published position papers that recommend against the use of dominance theory and punishment, and for the appropriate socialization of puppies. Their newest position statement outlines the importance of pet-friendly, fear-free, or positive veterinary care. I recommend that the trainer you select be aware of these positions as well. You can find links to these documents below, or by clicking on the highlighted word in this paragraph.

In summary, avoid dog trainers that tell you to be “dominant,” alpha,” or the “pack leader.” Avoid trainers that use or recommend; choke collars, prong collars, shock collars, alpha-rollovers, or any tool or technique that involves the use of force, intimidation, fear or pain.

 

  1. Select a dog trainer that has at least one of these credentials from one of the following organizations; Professional Canine Trainer (PCT-A) by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) (http://www.credentialingboard.com/), Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) (http://www.ccpdt.org/) or a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) (https://iaabc.org/)

A training facility may have some trainers on staff working towards their certification, but hey should be under the direction of at least one certified professional. In the case of the PPAB and CCPDT, a professional dog trainer must be in a lead teaching position for a minimum of 300 hours before they can apply to take a certification exam.

It is important to understand that there are many “certifications” available and that they are not all the same. The credentials mentioned above are all issued by independent organizations and require testing, compliance with ethical standards, and continuing education to maintain certification. A “certificate” from “Don’s School of Dog Training” or “The XYZ Dog College” is far from being equivalent to the for mentioned certifications.

Certification by one of the above organizations is NOT a guarantee that a dog trainers methods are free of the use of force, pain, or free. Always ask, and if you find that a dog trainer uses fear, force or pain, find a different dog trainer.

  1. Select a dog trainer that is a member of at least one of these organizations; the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) (http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) (https://iaabc.org/) or the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) (https://apdt.com/). As noted above, The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is currently the only pet care organization that has a strict code of ethics ( Guiding Principles), which denies membership to those that would use pain, force or free. That is why it is in your pet’s best interest to choose a member of the PPG.

Dog training is a rapidly evolving profession, and those who are committed to it are members of these organizations as a way of staying current in the field. The three organizations mentioned above offer a wide variety of continuing educational opportunities for those in the pet care profession.

  1. Look for dog trainers who treat people and dogs with respect, rather than an “I am the boss” attitude. Remember, you will be the one being taught by this person. A professional dog trainer not only needs to be able to train dogs, but they also need to be able to teach people of all ages. Classes should be such that both you and your dog look forward to attending.

 

  1. Ask the instructor about their methods for teaching people. Do they provide comprehensive written materials? Do they demonstrate how to teach a behavior? Do they coach you as you practice with your dog? Are they available for questions outside of class? Not all people learn the same way. Training classes, whether private or group, should accommodate an individual’s learning style.

 

  1. Look for classes with at least one instructor for every eight students. At Green Acres, a Basic Manners class of 5 students will typically have two instructors so that we can give every student the individual attention they require. A forty-five minute class with 15 students and one instructor, not uncommon in the profession, leaves very little time for individual instruction.

 

  1. Avoid trainers who object to using food as a training reward. Food is an acceptable positive reinforcement training tool. Just like us, our dogs do things because there is something in it for them, usually food. Research demonstrates that with most dogs, food is a better reinforcer than play and touch. Praise typically has the lowest value as a reinforcer. If a trainer insists that dogs should work for praise only, ask him if you can take their classes for free if you tell him they are a wonderful trainer. You can be assured that praise will not work in that scenario.

 

  1. Ask to observe a training class before enrolling. Are the dogs and people having a good time? Talk with a few participants and see if they are comfortable with the trainer’s methods. If a trainer does not let you observe a class, don’t enroll. However, understand, that the trainer will focus on the students in the class as you observe. Any questions or comments should be directed towards the trainer after the class is completed.

 

  1. Check references. Ask area veterinarians, animal shelters and rescues, boarding kennels, daycares, and groomers whom they recommend for training, and why they recommend them. Check several references so that you know you are getting objective recommendations.

 

  1. Avoid trainers who offer guarantees about results. Trainers that guarantee results are either ignoring or do not understand the complexity of animal behavior. No living thing is one hundred percent predictable, and training a dog involves many variables that a dog trainer cannot control. These include your level of commitment and your compliance with the trainer’s Most professional training organizations have a code of conduct or ethics statement that strongly suggests that trainers should not guarantee specific results.

 

  1. Ensure your dog trainer will take care to protect your dog’s health in a group setting. Ask if dogs and puppies in classes are required to be vaccinated before class and, if so, which vaccines are required. Make sure you and your veterinarian are comfortable with the vaccination requirements.

 

  1. The PPG suggests that you ask any prospective trainer 10 questions <Click here>. I have reproduced these questions below along with how we would answer them at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

 

  1. What dog training equipment do you use when training a dog or do you recommend I use? – We recommend the use of a 6-foot leash, a regular flat collar or a front-connect or rear-connect harness, a treat bag, some treats, and a clicker. We recommend against the use of choke, prong or shock collars or any equipment that is intended to punish, scare or hurt a dog.
  2. What happens in your training program when the dog responds in the way you want him to? – When a dog responds in a manner we desire, we reward the dog with food, a toy, attention; something the dog likes. We remind people that many times the dog is ignored when they are good and gets lots of attention when they are doing something we do not like. Make a point of looking for opportunities to reward your dog, even when you are not training.
  3. What happens in your training program when the dog responds in the way you do not want him to? – We teach you how to manage your dog and their environment to prevent undesirable behavior. We suggest that you ignore or redirect any behavior that occurs that you do not like, as long as it is not dangerous to any living thing or could result in the destruction of something valuable. To pay attention to this ‘bad’ behavior could actually be an unintentional reward to your dog, making it more likely to occur again. For example, if the dog jumps up on you and you push them off saying “No,” you have just given the dog attention in three ways, you touched them, looked at them and spoke to them. Jumping on a person is often an attention seeking behavior, and if you did what I just described, you have rewarded it threefold. After the ‘bad’ behavior is interrupted, you can look at ways that you can reward a mutually exclusive behavior or prevent the behavior from happening in the future.
  4. How will you punish the dog or advise me to punish the dog if he gets something wrong or exhibits a behavior I do not like? – We do not punish dogs for behavior because it is counter-productive. Instead, we focus on teaching you how to train and manage the dog to offer desirable behavior. Often people expect too much from a dog too soon, leading to frustration by both. That is why in addition to teaching you about training, we also teach you about normal and abnormal canine behavior, the importance of meeting your dog’s physical and emotional needs and how to manage them and their environment to prevent behavior you do not like.
  5. How do you ensure that my dog is not inadvertently being punished? – All of our staff, not just the trainers, receive extensive training on canine communication and body language and stress to ensure your dog is having a good time. It is our goal to have you and your dog love Green Acres! If we see that a dog is feeling anxious or stressed, we will let you know, and we will look for ways to help reduce their anxiety.
  6. How do you know that the type of reinforcement you have selected to train my dog is appropriate? – We have experience in using a wide variety of reinforcers to motivate your dog. We will start teaching you about reinforcers and how to choose the right one for a specific situation at your Basic Manners orientation.
  7. How will you know or how will I know if my dog is stressed during the training? – Our entire staff is trained to look for signs of stress so that we can prevent it. Additionally, we do extensive training on canine body language and communication with all employees. We will also cover some of this material in our training classes. If you read my blog, you can find information on this topic that you can use at home. To read How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful? < Click Here > Even if you never take a class at Green Acres Kennel Shop, I strongly encourage you to read this article.
  8. Which professional dog training associations are you a member of? – All members of the Green Acres team; customer service, groomers, pet care technicians, trainers, and managers are enrolled as members of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) as soon as they complete their employee training. Because of the PPG’s Guiding Principles and commitment to pet care that is free of pain, force, and fear, we believe it to be the most important of the organizations for pet care professionals. Green Acres’ owner Don Hanson is also a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).
  9. Will you guarantee your training results? – We do not guarantee training results because quite simply we are dealing with a living, breathing, sentient being and in reality we cannot control all of the variables, including you and what you do at home. We are here to give you all of the support we can, but you live and work with your dog far more hours per week than we do, so you will have the greatest influence on how well your dog does with training.
  10. How do you think a dog’s behavior should be addressed if the dog is growling or snapping at people or other dogs? – Safety for all the people and dogs in our classes is our first concern. If your dog has a history of growling and snapping at people, please let us know before you enroll in a group class, as that may cause your dog’s aggressive behavior to get worse. If your dog is growling or snapping at people outside of class, talk to your veterinarian and us as soon as possible. You may find this article at Don’s blog helpful – Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do? < Click to Read > For more information on growling, read Canine Behavior – What Should I Do When My Dog Growls? < Click here >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2006/02/01/no-pain-no-force-no-fear-green-acres-kennel-shop-position-statement-on-pet-friendly-force-free-pet-care/

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2010/07/01/no-pain-no-force-no-fear-green-acres-kennel-shop-position-on-the-use-of-dominance-and-punishment-for-the-training-and-behavior-modification-of-dogs/

How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ageshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2) http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/02/01/dogs-dog-training-a-holistic-approach-to-dog-training-parts-1-2/

Dog Training – What Is Clicker Training?http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2007/02/01/dog-training-what-is-clicker-training/

Dog Behavior – Dominance: Reality or Myth – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/06/20/dog-behavior-dominance-reality-or-myth/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 1 http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/02/02/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-1-knowledge-relationship-management-training/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 2 http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/02/28/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-2/

A Rescue Dogs Perspective to Dog Traininghttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/01/04/dog-training-a-rescue-dogs-perspective/

Canine Behavior – Understanding, Identifying, and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/11/01/canine-behavior-understanding-identifying-and-coping-with-canine-stress/

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2013/08/05/dogs-the-unintended-consequences-of-shock-collar/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

 

Selecting A Pet Care Provider – How to choose a dog trainer – Kate, and Don discuss what to look for when choosing a dog trainer and dog training class, as well as what to avoid. Dog training and recommended approaches to training a dog have changed dramatically as we have learned more about canines. As a result, we now know that some long-standing methods used to train a dog in the past, are in fact detrimental and can cause serious, long-term harm to your dog. Learn what to look for so that you and your dog have the best experience possible.

The Importance of Training Your Dog and 2018 Classes at Green Acres – Kate and Don address the questions; Why is training a dog so important, What will one typically learn in a dog training class, Why the methods used to train dogs are so important, What one should look for in a dog training instructor, and the dog training offerings scheduled for Green Acres Kennel Shop in 2018. If you have a new dog, or an older dog, you will want to tune into this show so that you can how to ensure you and your dog become and remain best friends for life.

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic – In this week’s show Kate, Don and Dr. Dave Cloutier of the Veazie Veterinary Clinic discuss the American Animal Hospital Associations (AAHA) new guidelines on behavior management for dogs and cats. This groundbreaking document represents the first time that a major veterinary organization has addressed pet behavior. According to the guidelines “More dogs and cats are affected by behavioral problems than any other condition, often resulting in euthanasia, relinquishment of the patient, or chronic suffering.” Tune in and learn why behavior is so important and why a behavioral assessment should be part of every pet’s annual wellness exam.

Dr. Cloutier, Kate, and Don discuss reasons for an increase in behavior problems, and how these problems can best be addressed. Dr. Cloutier explains changes he and his colleagues have made to work towards free-free visits for their clients. We address serious behavioral problems such as separation anxiety and aggression as well as nuisance behaviors like jumping, barking, and counter surfing. We address how veterinarians and dog trainers can work together and why it is essential to focus on rewarding desired behaviors and removing rewards for unwanted behaviors. Lastly, we review the guidelines recommendations on refraining from using any training methods that use aversive techniques such as electronic shock collars, choke collars, prong collars, alpha-rollovers, and other things that work by causing fear, intimidation, force, discomfort or pain.

 

Canine Behavior: Myths and Facts – This is a follow-up to our show of March 12 when Kate and Don discussed the AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic. In that show, we discussed how behavior issues have become a significant issue and how many of those behavior problems have been caused, at least in part, by people’s misconceptions about canine behavior. This week we examine what people think they know about dogs and where that information is coming from and how reliable it is as a source of facts. We then discuss several myths about canine behavior and counter them with what science has shown to be the facts.

Myths examined include:  dogs are wolves, dogs are pack animals, people must be dominant, or Alpha over their dog, punishment and aversive tools are necessary to train a dog, dogs should work for praise alone, growls are bad, all dogs like all other dogs, crate training a dog is cruel, all dogs need a job, getting a second dog solves behavior problems, dogs do things to get revenge, dogs know right from wrong, and dogs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Facts that we bring to light include: dogs respond very well to benevolent leadership, dogs benefit from training, food rewards work very well for training, wolf packs are about families cooperating, dogs only form loose association with other dogs,  growls are a beneficial way for a dog to communicate that they are feeling threatened, you are not a bad owner if you do not take your dog to daycare or the dog park, dogs are den animals and hence most love their crates, dogs need both mental and physical stimulation, behavior problems can be contagious, dogs know safe from dangerous, and dogs and kids are lots of work.

The Four Essentials to A Great DogDon and Kate discuss the four essentials to a great dog. In their experience most great dogs are the result of time and effort by both the person and the dog, which is exactly what that they teach students in Green Acres Kennel Shop’s Basic Manners classes. The four essentials are; Knowledge, Relationship, Management, and Training. Tune in and learn how you and your dog can become a great team and best friends for life.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1 – Dr. Hanks interviews Don and Kate about their experiences as professional dog trainers. He asks Kate and Don about how training has changed in the past 26 years since Mark began his practice, why training a dog is important, the importance of training for mental enrichment, how breed effects training and compatibility with a family, how human intervention has adversely effected health and behavior, researching dogs before one decides what dog and breed to get, making temperament a key decision when picking a dog, what we typically teach a client and their dog, Green Acres holistic approach to training (husbandry, nutrition, body language, ethology, and training), inadvertent reinforcement of undesirable behaviors, the continuing necessity to refute antiquated and inaccurate myths about canine behavior, the optimal age for starting training,  the structure of Green Acres training classes, Green Acres program to help parents find the best pet for them, how family lifestyles have changed and how that affects time for a dog, knowing when to wait before starting a group training class, and how they deal with special needs rescue dogs.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2 – Dr. Hanks asks Kate and Don about: Green Acres holistic approach to training (husbandry, nutrition, body language, ethology, and training) and how we work with families to understand their dog and the importance of having a good foundation of education so people can better understand their dogs, how some students may attend class without their dog either because their dog is sick, in heat or simply because the dog learns better at home, private training options at Green Acres, the critical period of puppy socialization and habituation, why socialization needs to be actively planned and implemented by owners – it doesn’t just happen, what do you do you when want your puppy to be a therapy dog, the difference between therapy dogs, service/assistance dogs, and emotional support dogs, the fake service dog epidemic, can you teach an old dog new tricks, how do you deal with constant barking, and how do you deal with clients that need the dogs behavior changed tomorrow.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 3 – Dr. Hanks asks Kate and Don about: dominance, pack hierarchy and alphas and the current science which indicates wolves are a cooperative social species, the benefits of kind leadership as opposed to coercive based leadership, the myth of dogs doing things just to please us, temperament and personality in dogs, the importance of knowing parents because of the genetic role in temperament, “stubborn” dogs versus under-motivated dogs, epigenetics and the possibility of mental health disorders in dogs like autism and PTSD, and temperament as a continuum and nature versus nurture.

The Dominance and Alpha Myth – Don and Kate discuss the concept of dominance, alpha dogs, pack hierarchy, and how this whole construct is a myth with both dogs and wolves that are not supported by science. They discuss how this has led to a punishment and compulsion based system of dog training which is not only unnecessary but is often counterproductive. They discuss the importance of leadership, boundaries, management and the use of reward-based training as a smart alternative to the dominance approach. You can learn more by reading these articles: http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/06/20/dog-behavior-dominance-reality-or-myth/  and http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2010/07/01/no-pain-no-force-no-fear-green-acres-kennel-shop-position-on-the-use-of-dominance-and-punishment-for-the-training-and-behavior-modification-of-dogs/
First Air Date: 21MAR10

 

Web Sites

Position Statements on Animal Behavior, Training, and Care

 

2015 American Animal Hospital Association Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelineshttps://www.aaha.org/professional/resources/behavior_management_guidelines.aspx

The Guiding Principles of the Pet Professional Guildhttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPGs-Guiding-Principles

The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on the Use of Pet Correction Deviceshttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Equipment-Used-for-the-Management-Training-and-Care-of-Pets

The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on the Use of Choke and Prong Collarshttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement/

The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on the Use of Shock In Animal Traininghttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars/

The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Animal Traininghttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/DominanceTheoryPositionStatement/

The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on Puppy Socializationhttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PuppySocializationPositionStatement/

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals – https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Punishment_Position_Statement-download_-_10-6-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on Puppy Socialization https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Puppy_Socialization_Position_Statement_Download_-_10-3-14.pdf

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on Positive Veterinary Carehttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Positive-Veterinary-Care-Position-Statement-download.pdf

 

Professional Pet Care Associations

 

The Pet Professional Guildhttp://www.petprofessionalguild.com/

The Pet Professional Accreditation Boardhttp://www.credentialingboard.com/

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultantshttps://iaabc.org/

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainershttp://www.ccpdt.org/

The Association of Professional Dog Trainershttps://apdt.com/

 

©27JAN18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.