5 Things to Watch Out for When Hiring a Dog Trainer

5 Things to Watch Out for When Hiring a Dog Trainer

Whether you’re interested in basic obedience or dealing with a more challenging behavior, there are some things you should be on the lookout for when hiring a dog trainer. If you’ve been scouring the internet looking for reputable dog trainers in your area, I’m sure you realize not all dog trainers are created equal. And a word to the wise – not everything you see on TV is accurate or even appropriate when it comes to helping your dog overcome challenging behaviors.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of words or phrases that, if used by a potential dog trainer, should send you running in the opposite direction. The top three go hand-in-hand:

  1. Dominance
  2. Alpha
  3. Pack leader

Used decades ago, “dominance theory” and “alpha” methods are based on early tests of captive wolf behavior and have long since been disproved by the very scientists who conducted them. Yet with the popularity of National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer, that outdated punishment-based training method has regained popularity. Before the Dog Whisperer, punishment-based, aka compulsion training, was out the door and replaced with scientifically proven methods that are based on studies and endorsed by behaviorists and experts worldwide.

images

According to Positive Dog Trainer Victoria Stilwell, “The misunderstanding of what dominance is and how it works within the dog world is the single biggest challenge facing our collective ability to develop truly healthy, functional relationships with our dogs. Anyone who has heard a trainer refer to the need for them to be the ‘alpha,’ ‘top dog’, or ‘leader of the pack’ in order to maintain balance and appropriate chemistry between dog and owner has witnessed firsthand just how widespread this hugely misguided misconception has become in our modern culture.”

https://positively.com/dog-training/positive-training/what-is-positive-training/

4. Choke or prong collar – No matter what the trainer tells you, these types of collars inflict pain on your dog when s/he exhibits unwanted behavior. They may seem to work, because the bad behavior stops – at least momentarily. But the question remains whether your dog will exhibit the correct behavior once the painful collar is removed.

5. E-Collar or Remote collar (aka shock collar) – A trainer that uses these collars is administering an electric shock every time your dog exhibits an unwanted behavior. Once again, this is using pain and fear to reinforce ending negative behavior. But neither shock collars nor prong collars teach your dog good behaviors; they only serve to stop the bad behaviors…and only when the dog is wearing the collar.

3gooddogs copy 2

I advocate using only positive reinforcement training, which not only teaches your dog to stop unwanted behavior, but encourages the behavior you want him or her to exhibit. To find a positive reinforcement dog trainer near you, look for those who are members of the Pet Professional Guild. They endorse only force-free pet professionals. Here’s a link to their directory – just put in your zip code.

http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PetGuildMembers

Good luck and happy training!

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

____________________________________________________

Shari Strader is the owner of South Paw Pet Services in Norfolk, VA. She has a personal commitment to giving dogs a better life and specializes in positive reinforcement dog training. Shari conducts individual in-home dog training, clicker training, and offers group obedience classes. She has worked for and volunteered with a number of animal rescue organizations nationally and in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia including the SPCA and Best Friends Network. She has donated time assessing, training, and rehabilitating rescue dogs and has also worked in the political arena to lobby for humane legislation to protect animals.

To find out more visit her website: http://southpawpetservices.com

Blog:  https://gooddingo.wordpress.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/southpawpetservices

Twitter:  @SouthPawVa

South Paw Pet Services offers dog training, dog walking, pet sitting, dog park excursions, and dog grooming in Hampton Roads, Virginia including Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Advertisements

Winter warning for pets – please bring them inside!

Winter warning for pets – please bring them inside!

When the temperature plunges, I find myself thinking about the plight of dogs who are forced to brave the freezing ice and snow outdoors. I remember when I was a child some relatives had a german shepherd named Brutus. Brutus, by their account, was an “outside dog”. I remember thinking, “why is Brutus an outside dog and our dog is an inside dog? What is the difference?” Brutus was a beautiful shepherd and our dog, Sparky, was a Boston Terrier. I finally decided that Brutus must be kept outside because he was bigger than Sparky was, and that all big dogs must be “outside dogs”.

cold-dog

It bothered me, as it still does, to think about Brutus and all the other dogs banished to live their lives in backyards. How lonely they must be and it must be miserable for them during bad weather, especially freezing temperatures. It wasn’t long before I figured out that Brutus was an outside dog simply because they didn’t want him in the house. Through the years, I’ve heard this same line over and over from people who have that breed, the “outside dog”…….”he has a fur coat, he won’t get cold, dogs come from wolves and are used to being out in the cold”.

The fact is, dogs did evolve from wolves but dogs aren’t wolves. Wolves know how to survive in the cold. They build dens, eat different amounts and types of food in preparation for extreme cold, through evolution they developed thicker coats and innately know how to adapt to survive the weather extremes. Dogs, on the other hand, have been loosing their connection to wolves for thousands of years, have become domesticated, and depend on us to keep them safe and warm.

Unknown

The truth is, dogs can get frostbite and die from exposure to cold weather.

According to experts at Animal Planet, “Decades ago, it was common for dogs to live their entire lives outside. But as our knowledge of canines has evolved, we’ve learned that staying outside 24/7 can be hazardous for a dog’s health. Any dog will suffer if left outside in extremely low temperatures, but shorthaired breeds like Labrador retrievers, Weimaraners, beagles and greyhounds, as well as young, old or ill dogs are most susceptible to hypothermia, a potentially deadly condition where body temperature falls below normal.

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/can-dogs-live-outside-in-all-seasons/

But sadly there are still people all over the country who have dogs living outside 24/7. Their excuses vary and include allergies, the dog is not house-broken, the dog likes it outside, and so on. To those people I say, please bring your dog inside – especially in a deep freeze like we’re dealing with currently – or try to find him a home where he will be part of the family.

Brutus ended up living a short life, and vanished one day never to be seen again. This is the case for most “outside dogs”. They don’t normally live a long, healthy life and feel the love and security that truly being a member of the family can bring.

______________________________________________________________________

Shari Strader is the owner of South Paw Pet Services in Norfolk, Va. She has a personal commitment to giving dogs a better life and specializes in positive reinforcement dog training. Shari has worked for and volunteered with a number of animal rescue organizations nationally and in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia including the SPCA and Best Friends Network. She has donated time assessing, training, and rehabilitating rescue dogs and has also worked tirelessly in the political arena to lobby for humane legislation to protect animals.

To find out more visit her website: http://southpawpetservices.com

Blog:  https://gooddingo.wordpress.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/southpawpetservices

Twitter:  @SouthPawVa

South Paw Pet Services offers dog training, dog walking, and pet sitting in Hampton Roads, Virginia including Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

“Hey, have you heard the one about climate change and dog training?”

The science is screaming, if only people would listen.

The Unexamined Dog

So a man walks into a bar and sees a dog sitting at the counter.  He turns to the dog and asks, “So what do you think about all the controversy surrounding the best methods and tools for training dogs?”

The dog takes a sip of his beer, briefly licks his butt, and replies, “What controversy?”

IMG_9730

This past spring, Adam Frank–an astrophysicist–wrote for NPR about a conversation he’d had on a plane with a fellow passenger about the fact that while the public and political spheres continue to argue endlessly about whether or not climate change is real, the scientific community involved in the daily practice of climate study has been working on its consensus piece on the subject for well over a decade.

In other words, while the nonscientific community has been busily shouting away, creating controversy, inciting anti-scientific skepticism, and creating an unmatchable din that…

View original post 2,462 more words

South Paw Dog of the Week ~ ELLA

Ella is a beautiful Standard Poodle/Rottweiler mix and she is a sweetie. We love her!

IMG_3303

IMG_2866

Visit us at:
southpawpetservices.com
https://www.facebook.com/southpawpetservices
Follow us at:
@SouthPawVa

Pinch Me A.K.A. Prong Me

Great blog on “Pinch Collars”. They do a lot more than just “pinch”!

awesomedogs

During a recent Facebook discussion, it was pointed out that I had never worn a prong collar.  As such, I would  have no idea whether a prong (a.k.a. pinch collar) causes pain.  My knuckles firmly rapped, it seemed the only solution would be for me to open my mind and wear a prong collar.

prongFor those unfamiliar with the product, these come in a variety of styles.  Some look scary with spikes and “prongs” of metal.  Newer models hide the “teeth” of the prong collar under a strip of leather, plastic or fabric.  I use the word “teeth” very deliberately, because proponents of these products claim that the spikes of a prong replicate a mother dog’s teeth as she corrects a misbehaving pup.

I do know how to fit a prong collar, and I know how to use one.  I am a crossover trainer, meaning that I have used physical…

View original post 830 more words