Local dog training company Pawsitively Canine has received BC SPCA’s AnimalKind accreditation, becoming the only dog training company in the Vernon area holding the distinction by the BC SPCA.
The AnimalKind accreditation recognizes dog training companies that use evidence-based positive reinforcement training methods and are committed to high animal welfare. Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA, says, “Dog training is unregulated in B.C., which means dog guardians could end up trusting their dogs to someone who uses outdated techniques that negatively impact the bond between guardians and their dogs. By recommending only AnimalKind accredited trainers, the BC SPCA can connect dog guardians to expert trainers who prioritize dog welfare.”
Lisa Davis, owner and trainer at Pawsitively Canine, explains why she uses positive training. Davis says, “I love positive training for so many reasons, but most of all, I love watching dogs love learning! We end up with a dog who wants to try new things, not a dog that looks like a robot, afraid to offer any behaviour but the one being asked for.”
Davis experienced first-hand what punishment methods do to dogs when, back in high school, she took her first dog to a training session. Davis says, “His name was Sparkie, a toy poodle who was about 10 months old with so many behaviour issues from extreme reactivity to dogs to resource guarding! I went to group classes with him, and that is where I learned of the harsh methods that can be used in the name of training. He growled when I asked him for a down, so the trainer hit him on the side of the face so hard that his whole body trembled. I learned very quickly at only 15 years old I would never allow anyone to do this to my dog again.”
To receive AnimalKind accreditation, companies undergo a rigorous auditing process that ensures their training methods follow science-backed AnimalKind dog training standards. Fenwick says, “We are excited Pawsitively Canine is part of the AnimalKind community, and more dogs on the Okanagan will benefit from working with a skillful and experienced trainer committed to animal welfare.” Davis says, “I absolutely believe that when we know better, we do better. This goes for both dog trainers and dog guardians. So, the more we can educate and the more we educate ourselves, the better our dogs will be for it!”
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.