From foster to dog trainer: Chilliwack dog lover recognized by the BC SPCA
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From foster to dog trainer: Chilliwack dog lover recognized by the BC SPCA

April 5, 2024

Cultus Lake company Creekside Canine has been awarded BC SPCA Animal Kind accreditation, a recognition reserved only for a select group of dog trainers who exhibit the highest standards in evidence-based, positive reinforcement training methods. Erynn Tomlinson, owner and trainer at Creekside Canine, says, “Dog training is unregulated, and unfortunately, this means a lot of poor treatment of dogs being sold as training. I love that AnimalKind does such a thorough job of assessing trainers, providing clear and simple guidelines for dog owners to use while researching trainers to ensure they are going to find someone who will be kind, safe, and effective.”

Tomlinson has loved dogs all her life, but it was not until she began fostering as a volunteer for the BC SPCA that she discovered her calling: to help dogs through training. Tomlinson says, “I loved fostering dogs whose behaviour issues prevented them from finding new homes. My first ‘foster fail’ was one of these dogs, and she sparked me to go deep down into animal behaviour education.”

AnimalKind accredited Creekside Canine owner and trainer Erynn Tomlinson with her dog June.

The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind accreditation program to help dog guardians find training companies that are committed to using good animal welfare practices in their training methods. Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA, says, “Reward-based training is not only effective, but it protects the physical and emotional health of dogs and the bond that dogs and guardians share.” Tomlinson agrees, “Dogs deserve to be treated kindly, and building a strong relationship of trust pays off for the dog and the human.”

However, Tomlinson’s journey to accreditation did not start with reward-based training. Tomlinson says, “Like many people, I started with aversive methods in the guise of good ‘leadership.’ It was education that turned me towards a positive-based path. The more I learned and applied, the more confident I became that harsh punishment was not needed in any case.”

Creekside Canine offers training services in Chilliwack and surrounding areas, specializing in behaviour modification for reactive, nervous, and fearful dogs, including leash reactivity, aggressive behaviour, resource guarding and predation.

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