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  • Sarah Stonehouse

Finding a Dog Trainer or Behaviourist

I just wanted to write a little post because I'm hearing a lot of things from various sources that are quite concerning to me regarding dog professionals providing advice that directly goes against science based learning and positive behaviour modification.

If you have or are being advised to smack your dog, stop. If you're being advised the only way you can train your dog to walk nicely on a lead is by jerking a choke collar, stop. If you're being advised that the best way to stop your dog reacting to something is to drag them past it until they get used to it, stop. If you are watching television programs telling you to say "NO" and dominate your dog, stop. The training and behaviour world is unregulated. Anyone can claim they are a dog trainer and behaviourist. Anyone can claim to fix your dog. However... there are no quick fixes. Do not listen to anyone who claims there are. Behaviour takes time to change and evolve. You would not attend the doctors for depression and expect them to fix your behaviour in one hour. You would not drag a veteran with PTSD to firework night and tell them to 'get over it'. You would not smack a mentally ill child with a rolled up newspaper to get them to 'behave'. When you are looking for a dog trainer or a behaviourist, look for who they are accredited with. Read their reviews. Look at their pictures and posts. Watch their videos. Ask them about their methods. Ask them to explain your dog's behaviour and what is behind it. Run a mile if you hear the words dominance or alpha. Don't be afraid to ask and question their learning theory. If you don't like what you are seeing, feel free to walk away. Advocate for your dog because this industry is miles behind what it should be.

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