Ethics & Methods
Our friendly trainers are dedicated to ongoing education in science-based, humane training.
Dedicated to Science-Based, Humane Training
Our Trainers use only positive, ethical training methods supported by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CAPDT) and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB).
Our training methods
Many methods of changing behavior in dogs are effective; however, Wise Canine Trainers and Behavior Consultants are concerned not just with what is effective but what does the least harm and produces the best long-term
results. Current studies on dog training methods show a clear advantage of reward-based methods over aversive-based methods with respect to immediate and long-term welfare, training effectiveness, and the dog-human relationship.
Our goal is to help you achieve your training goals, while building a positive, trusting relationship with your dog. We use cues to signal (request) required behaviors, a clicker or verbal marker to mark the behavior, and toys, treats, play, or other appropriate reinforcers to reward desirable behavior. We also use capturing, shaping, and luring in our training.
Use of reward-based methods does not mean dogs are allowed to do anything they want. All animals learn best when given appropriate structure, routine, and guidelines. However, it is imperative that these boundaries be taught without the use of fear, intimidation, or pain.
Methods we avoid, and why
Aversive training methods have a damaging effect on both animal welfare and the human-animal bond. There is no evidence that aversive methods are more effective than reward-based methods in any context.
As recommended by the AVSAB, we do not use tools that involve pain (choke chains, prong collars, electric shock collars), intimidation (squirt bottles, shaker noise cans, compressed air cans, shouting, staring, forceful manipulation such as "alpha rolls" or "dominance downs"), physical correction techniques (leash jerking, physical force), or flooding ("over exposure causing the dog to shut down").
The consequences and fallout from aversive training methods have been proven and are well documented. These include increased anxiety and fear-related aggression, avoidance, and learned helplessness. Animals may be less motivated to engage in training and less likely to interact with human members of the household.
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Statement on Humane Training of Dogs
"The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports the use of training methods for dogs that are humane and based on current scientific knowledge of canine learning theory. Reward-based methods are highly recommended. Aversive methods are strongly discouraged as they do not address the underlying cause of the undesired behaviour and may cause fear, distress, anxiety, pain or physical injury to the dog. "
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Humane Dog Training
"Based on current scientific evidence, AVSAB recommends that only reward-based training methods are used for all dog training, including the treatment
of behavior problems. Aversive training methods have a damaging effect on both animal welfare and the human-animal bond. There is no evidence that aversive methods are more effective than reward-based methods in any context. AVSAB therefore advises that aversive methods should not be used in animal training or for the treatment of behavior disorders."
Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Choosing a Dog Trainer
"Our CAPDT Members are committed to taking continuing education each year and following the Humane Hierarchy and Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) Principles...We work hard to avoid training methods that cause short or long lasting pain, discomfort or fear. These training methods can be dangerous to people as well as animals and can pose a threat to a dog’s health and welfare by inhibiting learning, increasing behaviours related to fear and distress, causing direct injury and harming the relationship between human and dog."