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Positive Behaviourist Or Trainer

What exactly is a ‘Positive Behaviourist or Trainer’ and what can you expect from working with Living With Wolves?

Terms such as “force free”, “positive” or “reward based” have been used interchangeably to describe trainers and behaviourists who primarily use rewards (technically known as positive reinforcement) and ignoring or preventing any inappropriate behaviour the dog may exhibit. A positive behaviourist or trainer should absolutely refuse to use force, intimidation, scaring tactics or pain to make a dog do what the owner wants it to do.  Our goal is always to have a dog that stops showing inappropriate behaviours and displays desirable behaviours because it WANTS to do so, not because it HAS to (obviously training and behaviour therapy is much more complex than that and can frequently involve environmental manipulation or medication as well, but that’s the gist of positive behaviour modification or training).

But there is more to being a positive behaviourist or trainer than just being “nice” to the animals we are helping.  Believe it or not, there are many so called professionals out there who take great delight in belittling the owners they purport to help because of their lack of knowledge or technique.

Therefore reward based professionals, such as Helen and myself here at Living With Wolves, also strive to be “nice” to the owners we work with.

So what does this mean?

  • It means that we won’t tell you off if you haven’t done any training with your dog – we will endeavour to understand why that was the case and look for ways to move forward in order to help through continued education and support.
  • If you have used techniques in the past that have likely caused the current behaviour problems your pet is displaying (and to be fair, this is not the case all that often) we won’t make you feel bad about it.   
  • If you find the behaviour modification programme difficult to implement, we will break it down for you so you can follow it more easily so you and your pet benefit from it. We will help you fit it around your schedule so you will feel that you can actually achieve it.

The last thing we as positive behaviourists or trainers want is a client who feels judged by how they interact with their pet and what they have done in the past.  But rest assured, as positive behaviourists and trainers we won’t judge you and won’t make you feel silly about the things you’ve done that you thought were going to help but just made the issue worse.

Whatever the problem, for however long it has been going on and whatever the root cause of it – our aim is to help our clients and their pets to have a happy, mutually rewarding relationship and so we go that extra mile to help our clients achieve this.

Why do we do this, because for us at Living With Wolves, there is no better reward than the success of our clients and their pets.

David - Dip.Dog.Psy (Dist) BSc (Hons) Canine Behaviour

Helen - Studying with The School Of Canine Science