Green Lights or Red Flags from a Dog Trainer.
You need to dominate your dog and show them who is boss!
RED FLAG. The theory of dominance has been debunked for many years. This “trainer” has not studied behavioural theory and is likely to encourage cruel techniques.
I train through Positive Reinforcement.
GREEN LIGHT. Positive reinforcement rewards dogs for good behaviour rather than punishing dogs for doing things wrong. Research has shown this is not only an effective way to train your dog but reinforces the human-animal bond.
Our training uses all training techniques.
RED FLAG. Trainers often make this statement when they intend to use “positive punishment” as part of their training techniques. In general, if a trainer asks you to treat your dog in a way you would not treat a three year old child….don’t do it!
I am a qualified Delta Trainer.
GREEN LIGHT. Although dog training is unregulated in Australia there are some well regarded training organisations. Delta trainers use positive reinforcement and environmental manipulation to train dogs using scientifically proven techniques.
We need to punish or correct unwanted behaviours.
RED FLAG. Punishment is likely to damage the human-animal bond. Sometimes behaviour will change, however, punishment makes dogs more anxious and likely to have unpredictable breakout behaviours.
The trainer uses shock collars, spray bottles and scary noises.
RED FLAG. Many behaviour problems in dogs are due to the dogs being anxious or frightened. Punishing and frightening these dogs is likely to make behaviour significantly worse.
My trainer regularly attends workshops and further education.
GREEN FLAG. Excellent dog trainers are passionate about further education. Studying the relationships and interactions between humans and animals is fascinating. An excellent dog trainer will have and open mind to new research and modern training techniques which are invaluable for improving the human-animal bond.
Behaviour training sessions at Pittwater Animal Hospital can be booked directly at
Or if these times do not suit please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please fill out the behaviour questionaire before your session
It is very confusing looking for someone to help you with your dog’s behaviour problems.
The dog training industry is currently unregulated in Australia. This means that unlike the overseeing bodies of builders, teachers or nurses, anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, animal behaviourist, dog behaviour consultant or any combination of these terms.
Other terms that you will also find advertised are: positive, force-free, reward-based or balanced.
So how do you work out which is the right?
The best guide is to look for the following:
Qualifications and certifications:
Some of the positive reinforcement, fear-free and science-based qualifications.
- Delta Institute Australia – MDI(CPDT)
- Karen Pryor Dog Training Professional – KPA CTP
- Academy of Dog Trainers – CTC
- Pat Miller Certified Trainer – PMCT
- Victoria Stillwell Positively Dog Trainer – VSPDT
There are many other qualifications. Anyone with certifications or affiliations with the following groups or science-based trainers should also be considered:
IAABC – International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants
APDT – Association of Pet Dog Trainers (Australia)
APDT – Association of Professional Dog Trainers (USA)
PPG – Pet Professional Guild (USA)
PPGA – Pet Professional Guild Australia
Karen Pryor Academy
Academy for Dog Trainers
Fear Free Pets
Stress Free Handling
Dr Susan Freidman
- Ask questions
- Ask the staff at Pittwater Animal Hospital
- The following are references on the science behind Dominance/Alpha Theory which has be debunked:
Dominance in Domestic Dogs – Useful or Bad Habit? Journal of Veterinary Behaviour 4.3 (2009): 135-144
The Social Organization of The Domestic Dog
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behaviour and the Ontogeny of Canine Social Systems
Using Dominance to Explain Dog Behaviour is Old Hat
Source: University of Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences
Published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour: Clinical Applications and Research.