The story of Julia Lomb, PhD, owner and trainer at Neighborhound Dog Training in Burnaby, has always involved animals. Lomb’s love and admiration for animals earned her a veterinary degree in Germany and, later, a PhD through the University of British Columbia’s Animal Welfare Program. Lomb’s interest in animal behaviour next led her to become a dog trainer and open Neighborhound Dog Training, now recognized with the BC SPCA’s AnimalKind accreditation.
Lomb works with dogs and their families addressing their needs through humane training methods. Lomb says, “I use teaching methods that are science-based and compassionate and offer training services for family dogs, with a focus on puppies and dogs that lunge and bark on leash. I love private training because it gives me the opportunity to really customize training to each dog-guardian team and support each team at a high level in and between sessions.”
The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind program to help find and refer to companies with high animal welfare standards and skilled trainers who only use science-based, humane training methods.
Dog training is unregulated in B.C., which can make it difficult for dog guardians to know which trainers they can trust. “When dog guardians are looking for a trainer, it can be challenging trying to figure out if a trainer uses science-based methods that are proven to be effective and better for dogs, or outdated techniques that cause fear and pain to dogs,” says Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA”
While completing her PhD, Lomb provided research and auditing support for AnimalKind. A couple of years later, now as a dog trainer herself, she is proud to get her own company accredited.
Lomb says, “As an animal welfare scientist, it’s hard for me to believe and accept that there is no regulation in dog training and related professions even though so much knowledge and skills are needed to do training humanely and effectively. Instead, we have to blindly trust that the person or business we ask for help with our pets has the proper education and won’t fall back on myths about dog behaviour or outdated training methods. I believe that the AnimalKind program is an amazing step towards ensuring that dogs are trained and treated humanely and that it provides more clarity to the public on who to trust with their dog.”
Fenwick says, “It takes a community effort to raise the bar in the dog training industry, and we are thankful companies like Neighborhound Dog Training are joining the program. Their commitment to using science-based, effective, humane training methods positively affects dog welfare.”
The BC SPCA launched the first set of AnimalKind standards – for wildlife and rodent control companies – in 2018. Through a partnership with the UBC Animal Welfare Program, the BC SPCA, Vancouver Foundation, and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies provided funding to establish the program. AnimalKind standards for dog training – the second set of standards developed, were launched in January 2019.