Hanging With Hounds, a dog-training company that recently moved to Vancouver Island from Alberta, is being recognized for its commitment to high animal welfare through the BC SPCA’s AnimalKind accreditation program. They are now one of four AnimalKind-accredited dog-training companies in the Capital region.
Sharon Labossiere, owner and trainer at Hanging With Hounds, welcomes the news. “I learned of the AnimalKind accreditation program a few years ago while I was still based in Alberta. I was so impressed with what the BC SPCA was trying to accomplish, and I hope sincerely that the concept spreads to other regions,” Labossiere says. AnimalKind provides a trusted resource to help dog guardians find skilled dog trainers who can help build a healthy and positive relationship with their dog or address their dog’s problem behaviour, using science-based humane training methods.
“AnimalKind provides peace of mind for dog guardians when choosing a trainer,” says Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA. “We have developed evidence-based dog training standards and an auditing program that ensures we only recommend trainers who use humane, effective training methods instead of outdated techniques that cause fear and pain to their dogs.
“Through the auditing process we make sure trainers have the credentials and provide high animal welfare services, which ultimately strengthen the human-dog bond,” adds Fenwick. “This creates a win-win situation for both dogs and their guardians. We are very happy that Hanging With Hounds is joining the growing AnimalKind community of humane dog trainers helping dogs across B.C.”
Labossiere came to dog training as a second career after working a corporate job for years. “I began volunteering at a small shelter near me and quickly fell in love with helping dogs,” she says. Labossiere quickly realized that if she wanted to have a positive impact on the lives of dogs, her experience just living with dogs was not enough. She explains, “I have had dogs my whole life and can’t imagine not living with them. But it was quite a different story working with and trying to help dogs who maybe did not have the best start in life.”
Her journey took her to obtain the education, credentials and experience necessary to become a dog trainer. “What started as an interest became a passion, and in 2013 Hanging With Hounds was born,” Labossiere says. “My goal is to help people understand their dog and normalize what is completely normal dog behaviour, not problem behaviour. By helping people understand their dog and help them learn how to reinforce the behaviours they want to see more of, people are happier, and so are the dogs.”
For Labossiere, the love for dogs and her passion for helping dogs and people through humane dog training comes as a shared responsibility. “Since dog training is unregulated, anyone can put themselves out there that they are a dog trainer. This means that people who are seeking a trainer must do their due diligence to ensure that they find a trainer who is educated and experienced in dog behaviour,” says Labossiere. “AnimalKind is paving the way for how dog training should be done, and I am proud and honoured to have earned this accreditation.”
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. The AnimalKind standards for dog training – the second set of standards developed, were launched in January 2019.
Learn more about AnimalKind accreditation, or find a trainer near you at www.animalkind.ca.