There are many people who call themselves dog trainers, without any credentials, because the title of dog trainer is not a protected title - unlike the title of veterinarian.
What makes it difficult for the general public and even for veterinarians is who can we trust with our beloved pets?
Key words in a dog trainer's description will be able to tell you what kind of trainer they are. Those who call themselves "balanced" dog trainers will use a combination of all four quadrants of the operant learning paradigm. Those who call themselves "positive reinforcement" dog trainers will use just that - positive reinforcement. But the problem is that the lay person does not know what B.F. Skinner even meant when developing operant learning theory.
What "balanced" dog trainers and "positive reinforcement" dog trainers have in common is that they will never recommend a compulsion trainer such as the Dog Daddy as your go-to dog trainer.
People online tend to gravitate towards rapidly moving, high action videos. The attention span of individuals in the current day is very small, hence why TikTok itself was only 12 to 30 seconds long - and if you look at your insights on your own posts, they drop significantly within the first 2 to 10 seconds. Flashy accounts get more views, more likes and more subscribers. Unbeknownst to the individual who is looking to hire a dog trainer, the highly qualified individuals are not even active on this platform.
One of the criticisms that I have received on my TikTok is: Veterinarians "cherry picking" positive reinforcement dog trainers to be the cream of the crop. The thing is, we do not need more research into how punishment, compulsion, suppression and oppression worsens the quality of life of the pets in our care. Veterinary Behaviorists are the most educated and qualified individuals to speak on dog behaviour - not an unlicensed 'dog trainer'.
Positive reinforcement dog training is a training approach that focuses on rewarding desirable behaviours rather than punishing unwanted behaviours. Choosing a positive reinforcement dog trainer can offer several benefits for both you and your dog. Here are five reasons to opt for a positive reinforcement dog trainer:
1. Creates a Positive Learning Environment: Positive reinforcement trainers emphasize creating a positive and enjoyable learning experience for your dog. By using treats, toys, and praise to reward good behaviours, your dog associates training sessions with fun and positivity, leading to a stronger bond between you and your pet. Many of the problem behaviours seen in dogs are made worse by a poor emotional attachment to their humans.
2. Builds Trust and Confidence: Positive reinforcement methods promote trust and build your dog's confidence. When your dog consistently receives rewards for performing desired behaviours, they become more confident in understanding what you expect from them, leading to improved communication and overall behaviour.
3. Reduces Stress and Fear: Positive reinforcement training avoids the use of punishment or aversive techniques that can induce stress, fear, or anxiety in dogs. This approach helps prevent behavioural issues that may arise when using more averse methods that increase the conflict between you and your dog. When we house animals in our care, we owe them the freedom from distress.
4. Encourages Problem-Solving: Positive reinforcement training encourages dogs to think and problem-solve, as they actively seek out behaviours that result in rewards. This mental stimulation can lead to a more engaged and attentive dog, helping to address behavioural challenges and prevent boredom-related issues.
5. Lasting Behaviour Change: Positive reinforcement techniques focus on teaching your dog what to do rather than what not to do. This promotes lasting behaviour change by reinforcing positive habits and reducing the occurrence of undesirable behaviours without resorting to punishment, which may only suppress behaviours temporarily.
Overall, choosing a positive reinforcement dog trainer can contribute to a happier, healthier, and better-behaved dog while fostering a strong and positive relationship between you and your furry companion.