I am a force free dog behavior consultant serving Warren & surrounding counties in south central Kentucky.
Believe In Dog uses only reward-based principles & methods to teach & reinforce appropriate behaviors, identify the cause of & treat undesired behaviors, and demonstrate to families how to create confident, happy, relaxed canine family members. When compassionate & scientifically proven long-term effective methods are combined with a relationship-based training program founded in trust, we can create a behavior modification protocol that is safe & enjoyable for all involved.
Believe In Dog's focus is on the Dog-Human team. Training is more than just about having a well behaved dog; it's about building & maintaining mutual trust between Dog & Human. When we work together with our dogs, as coach & partners, our dogs will learn that we will first do no harm and second, that they can rely on us to use compassion to guide them through the human world. They can trust that we will do as promised when we first brought them home: provide for them, protect them, and encourage them to be the happy, healthy dog they deserve to be. Respecting our dogs and being empathetic to their needs fosters a deep bond between Dog & Human that lasts a lifetime.
Per the 2015 American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Canine & Feline Behavior Management Guidelines: “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 abilities, and the physical & behavioral disorders in distressed animals. Aversive techniques are especially injurious to fearful & 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 & beating. None of those tools & methods should be used to either teach or alter behavior. Non-aversive techniques rely on the identification & reward of desirable behaviors & on the appropriate use of head collars, harnesses, toys, remote treat devises, wraps & other force-free methods of restraint. This Task Force strongly endorses techniques that focus on rewarding correct behaviors & removing rewards for unwanted behaviors.” (Please visit https://www.aaha.org/professional/resources/behavior2015.aspx#gsc.tab=0 for AAHA's complete 2Canine & Feline Behavior Management Guidelines.)
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior advises: “… that veterinarians not refer clients to trainers or behavior consultants who coach and advocate dominance hierarchy theory and the subsequent confrontational training that follows from it.
Instead, the AVSAB emphasizes that animal training, behavior prevention strategies, and behavior modification programs should follow the scientifically based guidelines of positive reinforcement, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, desensitization, and counter conditioning.
The AVSAB recommends that veterinarians identify and refer clients only to trainers and behavior consultants who understand the principles of learning theory and who focus on reinforcing desirable behaviors and removing the reinforcement for undesirable behaviors.
...(and to) look for a trainer who uses primarily or only reward-based training with treats, toys, and play.
Research shows that dogs do not need to be physically punished to learn how to behave, and there are significant risks associated with using punishment…Therefore, trainers who routinely use choke collars, pinch collars, shock collars, and other methods of physical punishment as a primary training method should be avoided.” (Please visit http://avsabonline.org/resources/position-statements for the AVMA's complete position statements regarding the use of dominance & punishment in the behavior modification of animals.)
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's Position Statement On Puppy Socialization: "The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing over-stimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.
Because the first three months are the period when sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences. Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters.
Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age. While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problems. Veterinarians specializing in behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy classes prior to three months of age can be an excellent means of improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness can be minimized." (Please visit http://avsabonline.org/resources/position-statements for the AVMA's complete position statement regarding puppy socialization.)