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With no regulations in B.C., how can you find a skilled dog trainer?

Dog training is unregulated in B.C., which means anybody can call themselves a dog trainer. It also means that, as a dog owner, it is crucial to be informed so you can make the right decision when choosing a dog trainer.

Labrador dog in outdoor training session

Start with the basics, say no to punishment-based dog training

Evidence shows rewards-based training is the most effective and least harmful method for training dogs.

Unfortunately, it is still common for some trainers in B.C. to rely on harmful training methods that include physical punishment. The result is that dog guardians seeking dog training help can end up subjecting their dog to physical and emotional harm in the name of training.

Using punishment-based training tools, such as choke and prong collars, or fear-based punishments like yelling at your dog while training compromises the bond and trust your dog has with you. Evidence shows that punishment-based training methods do not help reduce aggressive behaviour in dogs and are associated with fear-based behaviour.

Another trend in dog training is ‘dominance-based’ methods. These training methods are based on the incorrect belief that behaviour problems in dogs are based on hierarchy or social structure. Trainers who use this method believe canine behaviour problems should be solved by showing your dog that you are dominant over them.

You don’t need to be the boss or a “pack leader”, or engage in ‘dominance rituals’ such as eating first or forcing your dog to walk behind you on walks.

Science-based dog training focuses on building trusting relationships with your dog.

The problem of misinformation

There is so much misinformation online about dog training that it can be exhausting to anyone trying to navigate it and choose a dog trainer.

Training terminology can be confusing. Some trainers label their punishment or dominance-based training styles with pleasant-sounding terms such as “balanced training” and “leadership-based training”.

The solution to all this misinformation is the BC SPCA’s AnimalKind program. AnimalKind has created a community of evidence-based trainers who are committed to humane dog training and want to make a difference in their industry and the lives of dogs in B.C.

black dog playing with dog trainer outdoors

Why do we recommend AnimalKind trainers?

AnimalKind trainers are knowledgeable professionals with the education, experience and credentials that make them the best choice for you and your dog. They follow BC SPCA’s high-welfare standards (PDF), only use humane, evidence-based training methods, and invest time and effort to continuously update their knowledge.

AnimalKind accredited trainers are devoted to supporting dog guardians to humanely and effectively train their dogs. They show guardians how to motivate dogs and make training a fun activity so that dogs are happy and engaged and learning.

Trainers who are part of the AnimalKind community have been audited by the BC SPCA and have obtained accreditation through hard work and diligence. They are the only dog trainers recommended by the BC SPCA.

Dogs deserve to be treated with love and respect

You love and care for your dog, and you want them to be happy. Why put your pet’s well-being in the hands of someone who will use aversive, out-dated training methods?

Aversive training methods endanger the loving relationship between you and your dog. Know what to look for in a dog trainer. Be informed and stay away from trainers who use punishment-based methods.

Always choose to work with a trainer who uses and promotes humane dog training, like AnimalKind accredited trainers.

Reward-based training methods help build a relationship of trust between you and your dog, something that will make you and your dog happy. You and your dog deserve to work with the best trainers in the field. Find an AnimalKind accredited trainer near you.

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