Pet professionals call for dog training industry overhaul

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dog training industry
Photo: Justin Veenema on Unsplash

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 the 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 PPGA president Barbara Hodel. 

To this end, both organisations 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,” Hodel said.

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 of their own free will,” Hodel said, adding that dog training in Australia is not government regulated.

“Everyone can and does call themselves a dog trainer without any formal qualification or following a code of ethics of a professional organisation,” APDT president Louise Ginman said. 

“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.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am not a professional dog trainer, I have only train my dog for couple of months. However, there has been times where I used negative-reinforcement training on my dog for no listening to me. I would get my results, but to the expense of my dog’s happiness. I don’t advocate for either because I don’t have experience to adequately speak about this matter. With that said, I can see how my dog acts now ever since I have train with him on a reward-based training and he is a much different dog, much happier, energetic, and fun to be with.

  2. Agree with using positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour, but there will always be some bad behaviour that you need to actively discourage – destruction of outdoor plants and peeing inside for example. Just a stern word with body language may be enough so they understand its wrong. In my experience the first year is the most important time that your dog needs to be taught, if you can get things right by the time they’re one year old, you’re doing well and setting things up for a well trained pet.

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