SCIENCE SHOWS POSITIVE PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Pet professionals call for dog training industry overhaul
Science shows a positive, reward-based approach to dog training is best, say Australia’s leading pet training organisations. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT) and Pet Professionals Guild Australia (PPGA) have joined forces to promote the use of humane, positive reinforcement methods to Aussie dog owners and dog training industry.
“Reward-based training methods – using no force, no fear, no pain and no compulsion – are backed by scientific research*, are shown to work most effectively at improving behaviour outcomes and have no side effects on the dogs,” said Barbara Hodel, President of the PPGA.
The PPGA and APDT are calling for an overhaul of the dog training industry.
“Australia’s dog training industry is not government regulated and some trainers still use antiquated force-based methods and equipment, such as electronic devices, choke or prong collars, which can cause pets serious injury,” says Barbara.
The APDT and PPGA are also appealing to media organisations to reject forceful, painful and aversive training methods, as seen in TV series ‘Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly’. These TV programs perpetuate the misconception that there are “quick fixes” to training and behaviour issues, explains Barbara.
“Dog owners are misguided by these old-fashioned, force-based methods and equipment, which can lead to behavioural problems like fear or aggression, psychological damage, total shut-down and even risk injuries – either to dog, human or both,” she says. “Using aversive training methods can also damage the dog-human relationship, which often leads to owners surrendering their dogs to animal shelters and pounds.”
The PPGA and APDT encourage dog owners to instead use force-free, formally educated and scientifically-sound trainers and/or behaviour consultants to address their pet’s training and behaviour issues.
“Positive training techniques involve using as little equipment as possible and aim to get the dogs to participate on their own free will,” says Barbara.
Calling for dog training industry regulation in Australia
Unlike other skilled professions such as medicine or accountancy, the dog training industry in Australia is not government regulated and therefore has no standards or rules for what a trainer should require before working with dogs and owners.
“Everyone can and does call themselves a dog trainer without any formal qualification or following a code of ethics of a professional organisation,” said Louise Ginman, President of the APDT. “Dog owners seeking help from a dog trainer should ensure they have at least a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services by a reputable provider and use positive reinforcement methods.”
Members of PPGA and APDT are required to abide by the associations’ code of ethics which allows only positive methods and equipment. PPGA members also commit to ongoing education in canine behaviour and training to retain their accreditation.
The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is a 501(c)6 international member organisation founded on the principles of force-free training and pet care. Its membership represents pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training, pet care philosophies, practices, and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean that shock, pain, choke, fear, physical force, and compulsion-based methods are never employed in training or caring for a pet. Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is a registered not-for-profit organization incorporated in Australia that operates under a license agreement with PPG. To discover more, visit www.ppgaustralia.net.au
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is the peak body representing trainers in Australia. APDT Australia is dedicated to enhancing the relationship between people and dogs through the education of trainers, other animal professionals and the public, and advocating dog-friendly training. APDT Australia provides educational and networking opportunities including an annual conference and workshops with expert speakers in their fields. APDT’s motto is “Building Better Trainers through Education”. To discover more, visit www.apdt.com.au
APDT Australia 2019 Conference runs from 14 – 17 Nov 2019 at Hunter Valley NSW, featuring international speakers and workshops. For details, visit the APDT website.