AVSAB Position Statement on Humane Dog Training


American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) has a new position statement on Humane Dog Training (and it’s free). I talk HERE on Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio about the topic with Dr. Fiia  Jokela, AVSAB immediate past president and a resident with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

Dr. Fiia Jokela

Dogs are family members, why would we want to scare them or harm them? We don’t but still she says that is what aversive training does.

Dr. Jokela says, “We’re fighting a lot of what’s out there is the popular media.” She’s referring to dog trainers like this who travel from city to city, using equipment and methods that are arguably more harmful than beneficial.  However, sometimes dog owners are desperate and don’t know what to do and/or want a quick fix.

“A fix?” Dr. Jokela says a significant percent of her client base are dogs who now have a problem or a more serious problem as a result of a trainer using punishment-based methods.

There is NEVER a reason for use physical force while dog training any dog, especially puppies.

Increasingly, there’s a divide in the dog training world, as more trainers understand the science. In fact, Petco in October 2020 said “no more shock collars.” And this position statement, all based on science. Meanwhile, there are reportedly a growing contingent of trainers using aggressive methods to train dogs, which is not science-based.  That’s the thing, study after study demonstrates that the old adage about catching more bees with honey is right, motivating positive reinforcement teaching is the best way to learn.

Dr. Jokela addresses the notion that we need to ‘dominate” our dogs.

Dr  Jokela rattles off some of the certifications you should look for when seeking out a dog trainer, more are listed in the new position statement on Humane Dog Training

Animal Cruelty

Pepper spraying a dog, and the charge is animal cruelty. I describe what happened here, and encourage people to supervise dogs even in your own backyard.