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Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are positive training methods and why should I use them?

Positive training methods teach your dog what to do in a way that makes the dog want to keep doing it! Unfortunately, there are little to no regulations on dog trainers, so anyone can hang a sign and call themselves a trainer. The difference with positive trainers, and moreover certified dog trainers (more on that here), are educated trainers that actually understand how dogs learn and will train in such a way that the animal wants to learn. A behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated. This will create a stronger bond between the dog and handler, will create an animal that wants to engage in the training, wants to learn, and has a positive association with its world.  This in turn helps the dog feel confident, relaxed and focused.

Positive training is evidence based and scientifically proven to help dogs learn how to respond to certain situations in a way that will last. Unlike conventional training that works to correct unwanted behaviour that will actually only snuff that behaviour temporarily at best.

Harsh training methods that rely on punishment, choke chains, electric collars, prong collars, and even harsh collar corrections (or worse) not only destroy the trust you need with your dog, but will put the dog in a state of learned helplessness. This is no way for any animal to live.  These harsh techniques do not teach the dog what to do, it only teaches the dog what NOT to do.  Imagine starting a new job.  You walk in and your new boss brings you to your station and gives you little to no information on HOW to do the job, so you start with the best of your ability for not being trained. As soon as you start, your boss yells “NO!” and slaps the back of your head. So you try something else, and again you hear the NO and feel a slap. It will not take many attempts on your part before you either stop trying anything altogether to avoid another correction (this is learned helplessness!), or you turn and become aggressive with your new boss.  In this situation, the employee has the ability to quit and leave.  Our dogs, on the other hand, usually do not.

Scentsable K9 is against the use of any harsh corrective techniques or tools. There is a ton of research on this topic that shows harsh training methods are ineffective, cruel and can actually cause further behaviour issues.

 
Isn’t positive only training just bribing my dog?

Not at all!  A reward is something that is given AFTER the behaviour is performed.  If you are training properly, the rewards should be out of sight completely until you are ready to deliver it to your dog for doing what you asked.

Trainers that are stuck in their learning and only know how to correct dogs get this wrong and spread this myth. When positive training is executed correctly, you do not need to have a meatball in your hand to get a behaviour.

 
Can you solve my problem in one session?

The simple answer is, no.  No behaviour change occurs that quickly.  Now, if your problem is your dog won’t lie down on cue, yes I can likely fix that in a single session assuming there is no physical reason your dog will not or can not lie down.

But behaviour change is dealing with the animal’s emotional state.  This is not something that can be changed in a single session.

 

How long will it take to see results?

Again, this is not a simple answer. We are dealing with living, breathing, feeling beings so one size definitely does not fit all!  This will depend on the complexity of the problem, the clarity of your training and proper management, all of these I will guide you through!  Some dogs improve very quickly and others take longer.  Severe cases will require management for life, but with proper training can still be greatly improved.

 

What can I expect from our sessions? How is it set up?

I work with you at your house where the dog is comfortable and familiar.  For clients within driving range for me, I physically go to your house.  For clients further away, we will meet over Zoom, but I do like to meet in person whenever possible.  I offer several training packages, we can discuss what package best suits you during our initial free phone consult.

Our first in person session will last one and a half to two hours.  There will be a lot to go over in this session.  During our first meeting, we will put management plans into place, I will answer any questions you have on the reading material sent prior, and we start training on that first day. After our session, I send written homework and video demo’s of everything we cover in our session so you can be confident of all the training how-to’s after I leave.

Follow up sessions are an hour in length and each one builds off of the previous session, with some new games added in each week.  Homework is always provided after each session.

These are not cookie cutter sessions as I gear each one to your particular dog’s needs and behaviours.

 

Why should I choose a certified dog trainer?

Certifications in dog training simply mean that the trainer is educated in how animals learn, they will train ethically, their methods will be effective not only in the short term, but for the remainder of the animals’ life, and that they are invested in their knowledge of animal science by keeping their certifications current with continuing education.

 

What are all those letters after trainers’ names?

Here is a list of the most common credentials that proper and ethical trainers possess.  The letters listed after a trainers name is proof that they have education, experience, and knowledge in animal training. 

CPDT-KA or KSA, and CBCC-KA or KSA. These are certifications given by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.  This council is separate from any paid education institution and is strictly a third-party certification organization with strict knowledge and ethics guidelines.  To gain these certifications, candidates must have at least 300 hours of hands-on training and they must complete a 3-hour test at a testing facility to assess their knowledge of dog behaviour, ethology, learning theory, and teaching skills. Certificants must also complete a minimum amount of continuing education units every 3 years to keep their certificates in good standing and must promise to use humane training methods. This certification is proof that this trainer is knowledgeable, ethical and is there to truly help you and your dog.

KPA CTP is gained through the Karen Pryor training academy, PMCT is given to graduates of the Pat Miller training academy and ABCDT is awarded to graduates of the Animal Behavior College. All these institutions emphasize positive training techniques and the graduates will be well versed in these techniques.

IAABC, CDBC and CABC are other credentialing organizations with educational aspects, mostly related to behaviour, positive training and scienced backed training. These credentials will also be proof that this trainer has taken the time to educate themselves and has experience under their belt.

There are more out there that are not listed here, so the best thing to do if you see letters after someone’s name that you don’t recognize, google the letters and check with that organization that governs the use of those letters to see what their requirements are.

The bottom line is, choosing a good trainer can be hard as this field is highly unregulated.  Do your checks on their credentials and if the training techniques are something you aren’t comfortable administering yourself, go with your gut and be your dog’s advocate. Abuse has no place in dog training.

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