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…and Where to Find a Positive Trainer

Training is a very, very important part of ensuring that your new family member settles in and successfully integrates into the family. Much of this success can be determined in the first few months of bringing your new dog home – but training can also be a lifelong commitment. With so much information out there these days online, on television and at your local pet stores it is difficult to choose between so many options.

There are many types of training and not one type will fit every dog. But what should always be consistent is that the training type be positive. But what does “positive” mean? How do you know if the trainer you choose is truly qualified? What if your dog needs help beyond a trainer in the form of a behaviorist? What does that mean and who is qualified to be a behaviorist?

The following article is courtesy of Fur-Get Me Not, an Arlington-based doggy daycare, pet sitting and dog training business.

Positive Dog Training: What Does The Term Really Mean?

There are two main approaches to dog training: traditional and modern. Traditional dog training evolved from the use of dogs in the military during WWI and WWII. It relies on using physical force and the standard equipment includes: choke chains, pinch collars, or shock collars. Modern dog training was introduced to the public in the 1980s and originated from scientific studies of animal behavior and the application of learning theory. The main scientific application in the training field at this time was with wild animals, particularly marine mammals. Studies followed a formal scientific process requiring trainers to base their results on solid data that could be replicated by other trainers and scientists. Karen Pryor, a marine mammal trainer, played a major role in popularizing positive training methods and expanding them to dogs. Her book Don’t Shoot the Dog (1984) was ground breaking. It translated behavioral concepts to a practical level and dispelled the myth that force and coercion to “show who is boss” was required to get an animal to respond. The positive dog training movement has never looked back.

Rachel Davino

Rachel Davino

 

What is positive dog training?

The Pet Professional Guild defines it simply as: “No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Fear, No Physical Force, No Physical Molding, No Compulsion Based Methods are employed to train or care for a pet.”

 

Characteristics of positive dog training

  • HUMANE: Does not use any methods that will deliberately hurt or intimidate the dog. Uses equipment such as buckle collars, martingales, no-pull harnesses, and head-halters. Applies the principles of the Humane Hierarchy as defined by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
  • SCIENTIFIC: Emphasis on learning theory (classical and operant learning) and animal behavior. Knowledge of canine body language and the ability to use techniques based in behavioral science to keep a low stress level and provide the optimum opportunity for learning.
  • MOTIVATIONAL: Recognizes importance of finding foods, objects or activities that motivates each individual dog.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING ORIENTED: Understands the training experience is a partnership and the more you learn about and know your partner, the more effective the training. Takes into consideration the entire dog, including personality, genetics, past experiences, living environment, and immediate needs. Appreciates dogs are living beings with good and bad days and will adjust the expectations of the dog accordingly.
  • PROFESSIONAL: Realizes high standards are important.  A national and independent certification system has been developed.  Dog trainers are able to sit for exams (certification level #1 – CPDT-KA), and provide videotaped clips teaching a student how to train their dog (certification level #2 – CPDT-KSA). Continued education by attending seminars and participating in workshops in order to remain certified is required. www.ccpdt.org

Positive dog training benefits:

Sheeba

Sheeba

  • It teaches the animal that paying attention to humans is rewarding so they do it because they want to.
  • It is an effective method for all dogs. All dogs have something they are motivated by that can be used in training.  The final behavior we are looking for is always broken down in many small steps to make sure we build on success.
  • It takes into account the entire dog, both physical and mental well-being. The goal is to change old behaviors and develop new  – not suppressing bad behaviors.
  • It encourages the dog to think, to be creative, and to problem-solve by offering a safe learning environment.
  • It teaches the dog what we want him to do – not punishing him for behaviors we do not want him to do.
  • It builds on success for both you and your dog. Errors are an integral part of the learning process, you both get more practice and improve your skill set but no one gets hurt in the process.
  • It will build your dog’s confidence level.

The below links are also excellent resources to ensuring that you select a qualified, positive trainer or behaviorist for your dog.

 Here are positive trainers in the DC area and an excellent organization that focuses on helping adopters secure positive training for their dogs:

 

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kittylitterThank you to Pet Valu for collecting donated litter – 2,200 lbs of it – for Homeward Trails kitties!!!

The month-long February drive asked customers to purchase a 40 lb. bag of Kitty’s Best clumping litter for only $6.99 at ANY Pet Valu location to donate to Homeward Trails!! Visit HERE for locations of the many Pet Valu stores in the DC area.

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pjnyThank you to Manhattan-based PJNY dogwear who graciously selected Homeward Trails as the “Shelter of the Month” for February. PJNY donated 10% of their February sales to Homeward Trails!   Visit  www.pjnydogwear.com to get the most fashionable of wear for your pooch and support our work with homeless animals with your purchase!

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What better way to take a break from the stress of law school finals than cuddling with an adorable pooch or kitty? For the second year, HT volunteers brought more than a dozen dogs and cats to the George Mason Law School where students stopped by to play and cuddle with them.

George Mason Law School students visit with a lucky HT rescued pooch

George Mason Law School students visit with a lucky HT rescued pooch

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Cesar Milan sports an HT adoption vest and visits with HT volunteers at the National Family Pack Walk eventHomeward Trails joined Cesar Milan, Warner Brothers and the North Shore Animal League to promote adoption at the Cesar Milan Foundation National Pack Walk on the National Mall. Thousands of animal lovers turned out to walk and meet adoptable animals. A great time was had by all!

National Family Pack Walk

Left: Cesar Milan sports an HT adoption vest and visits with HT volunteers at the National Family Pack Walk event.

HT volunteers and rescued pooches enjoy the National Family Pack Walk event

HT volunteers and rescued pooches enjoy the National Family Pack Walk event

 

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cesarCesar Millan, Scooby-Doo, Homeward Trails and thousands of fellow dog lovers celebrated on Saturday, September 29, 2012 the largest pack walk ever—on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for families and dogs to come together and share something very special with one another—walking in the same direction with a common purpose of helping dogs.

Cesar Milan sports an HT adoption vest and visits with HT volunteers at the National Family Pack Walk event

Cesar Milan sports an HT adoption vest and visits with HT volunteers at the National Family Pack Walk event

Homeward Trails is partnered with nationally recognized North Shore Animal League to have more than 35 adoptable cats and dogs on hand – and received more than 25 adoption applications!

Cesar Millan kicked-off the event with a 1.5 mile Pack Walk and then stopped by to meet HT’s adoptable animals, posing in pics with them and even donning an HT Adoption Vest!!!

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copilot

Pumpkin and her 8 pups arrived via plane to HT!

Pumpkin and her 8 pups arrived via plane to HT!

The weekend of September 28-29th Pilots N Paws held its fourth annual awareness event, the “Dog Is My Copilot” Flyway and Homeward Trails was one of three local DC animal rescue groups participating. HT took in 8 dogs and 8 adorable pups!!

See it here on Channel 9: Channel 9 Pilots n’ Paws

Approximately 200 homeless animals from North Carolina arrived in DC and headed to foster and adoptive homes. Homeward Trails volunteers were anxiously waiting to pick up our animals to whisk them away to the next chapter in their lives.

The event was one of the largest one-day annual event in the history of Pilots N Paws. In 2011, pilots transported 174 dogs and 1 kitten out of Florence, SC in memory of the Chesterfield 22. After the BP oil spill in 2010, they flew 171 animals out of New Orleans.

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kittyCan’t get enough of that gorgeously soft long-hair that only a long-haired kitty has? Then you are in luck!

Please join Homeward Trails this Saturday the 23rd for an adoption event featuring our beautiful medium and long-haired cats. We will have kittens and adult cats, de-claws and cats with claws.
Come to:
PetMAC DC, The Marketplace and Adoption Center
4220 Fessenden St NW
Washington , DC 20016
Noon – 2 p.m.
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bluesStop by the HT table and meet adoptable pooches, learn about volunteering and pick up a great kitty or doggy item!

Saturday, June 16th

1-8 pm

Columbia Pike Blues Fest, Arlington

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triviaFundraiser at Kitty O’Shea’s DC (near PetMAC in Tenleytown)
Come on out for a good time for a good cause!
$10 at the door, food and drink specials, trivia, raffles

Wed. May 9th, 6-10pm
4624 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016
(between N Brandywine St. & N 41st St)
www.claros-group.com/kittys

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