North Okanagan dog trainers rewarded for positive methods | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan dog trainers rewarded for positive methods

Owner and trainer at Pawsitively Canine in Coldstream Lisa Davis poses for a photo with her dog Piper.

A dog training business in Coldstream has earned the B.C. SPCA's seal of approval.

Pawsitively Canine received the the SPCA's AnimalKind accreditation, becoming the only dog training company in the North Okanagan to hold the distinction.

“Dog training is unregulated in B.C., which means dog guardians could end up trusting their dogs to someone who uses outdated techniques that negatively impact the bond between guardians and their dogs,” B.C. SPCA manager of research and standards Nicole Fenwick said in a media release issued, Dec. 7. 

The AnimalKind accreditation recognizes dog training companies that use evidence-based positive reinforcement training methods and are committed to high animal welfare, the SPCA said.

“I love positive training for so many reasons, but most of all, I love watching dogs love learning,” Pawsitively Canine owner and trainer Lisa Davis said in the release. “We end up with a dog who wants to try new things, not a dog that looks like a robot, afraid to offer any behaviour but the one being asked for.”

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She experienced first-hand what punishment methods do to dogs when, back in high school, she took her first dog to a training session.

“His name was Sparkie, a toy poodle who was about 10 months old with so many behaviour issues from extreme reactivity to dogs to resource guarding,” Davis said. “I went to group classes with him, and that is where I learned of the harsh methods that can be used in the name of training. He growled when I asked him for a down, so the trainer hit him on the side of the face so hard that his whole body trembled.”

Davis said she learned quickly at the age of 15 she would never allow anyone to do that her dog again.

To receive AnimalKind accreditation, companies undergo a rigorous auditing process that ensures their training methods follow science-backed AnimalKind dog training standards.

“We are excited Pawsitively Canine is part of the AnimalKind community, and more dogs in the Okanagan will benefit from working with a skillful and experienced trainer committed to animal welfare,” Fenwick said.

The B.C. SPCA launched the first set of AnimalKind standards for wildlife and rodent control companies in 2018. Funding was established through a partnership with the UBC Animal Welfare Program, the B.C. SPCA, Vancouver Foundation, and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, according to the release.

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AnimalKind standards for dog training, the second set of standards developed, were launched in January 2019.

“I absolutely believe that when we know better, we do better,” Davis said. “This goes for both dog trainers and dog guardians. So, the more we can educate and the more we educate ourselves, the better our dogs will be for it.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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