Lower Mainland company Fluff in the Forest Dog Training has received BC SPCA’s AnimalKind accreditation. Owner and trainer Kaeli Grotz wants to use the opportunity to inspire pet parents to consider their animal’s welfare when choosing a dog trainer.
Grotz has always been passionate about helping people learn, including in her former career training people in the corporate world. Now, as a dog trainer, Grotz helps guardians and their dogs live better together. Grotz says, “Dog training combines so many of my passions: animal welfare, the science of learning and behaviour, and helping people and their dogs navigate shared spaces – in the city and in nature – with confidence and joy.”
BC SPCA AnimalKind accreditation recognizes Fluff in the Forest’s commitment to dog welfare. Grotz uses positive reinforcement training methods, also known as reward-based training, and she wants dog parents to know they are effective. Grotz says, “I was fortunate to find teachers and mentors right from the beginning who inspired me with the transformations that are possible through humane, reward-based training.” Now it is her turn to inspire dog guardians. “After hundreds of hours of certification and continuing education, and after years of successfully using positive reinforcement to help families with different breeds of dogs and diverse behaviour challenges, there hasn’t been a moment of doubt for me that the kindest way to change unwanted behaviour is also the most effective in the long term.”
The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind accreditation program to help dog guardians choose dog trainers who use humane training methods. Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA, says, “Dog training is unregulated in B.C., so anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, regardless of their education or experience.” Grotz says, “Good training is about making it easy to do the right thing, and AnimalKind reflects that mindset. In an ideal world, humane training would be the minimum standard, but until then, it’s crucial to help pet parents to cut through the online misinformation and find quality trainers.” Companies that receive AnimalKind accreditation undergo a rigorous auditing process to verify they follow AnimalKind dog training standards. Fenwick says, “AnimalKind recognizes companies that are committed to dog welfare and use evidence-based positive reinforcement training methods, making it easier for guardians to know who to trust.”
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.
Fluff in the Forest Dog Training offers services in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby.