Methods, equipment and FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We outline the training methods we use when working with your dog.

You should be aware of the methods we employ to ensure you have a full picture.

Q: What equipment do you use?

We recommend a properly fitting harness and solid leash. We can help you choose one if you’d like as they are not all created equal. Any equipment we use should not cause our dog discomfort. Download our recommend resources list at the bottom of the page.

Q: What methods do you use?

We adhere to the BC SPCA Animal Kind Standards for training.

Food is well documented to be one of the most effective ways to motivate animals and to change associations. The fallacy that dogs should respond to our requests for a few kind words is just that. Fear and aggression is treated optimally with classical conditioning no matter the breed or size of dog.

Play, praise and attention absolutely can be reinforcing for animals and we often look at how we can leverage that in our interactions with our canine companions.

In short, we find out what motivates your dog, use that to reinforce behaviours we desire to see more of and prevent the ones we don’t like. This is where behaviour change happens.

Q: What are the risks to using other methods?

It is well documented that using punitive methods will cause side effects. You may have been told that e-collars/shock collars “don’t hurt”, however we know this is not the case. Please read this accurate article regarding how they work to change behaviour.

When people use aversive methods to train dogs, it is associated with risks to the dog’s welfare, including fear, stress, and aggression suggests it also affects the dog’s relationship with their owner. Read more.

Q: Will I have to use treats/rewards forever?

Working with animals means reinforcing the behaviours we want to continue seeing. If we remove reinforcements then the behaviour we desire will go away. There are many things we can use are reinforcements; food, toy, praise, attention, access to things… What is reinforcing to your dog may be different than Bob’s dog next door.

The bottom line is that we must reinforce the behaviours we want to keep them strong. There are no bones about it.

Q: If I have used other methods and equipment will you still work with me?

Absolutely. If you are open to changing then we are open to working with you. I do not judge or make people feel bad for what they have done in the past. Often, clients have been told to use certain methods or equipment by someone they have hired and trusted. This is not your fault. Let’s work together to make positive changes for you and your dog.