Bianca Steinmetz, owner of Bianca’s Dog Training & Behavioural Consulting, has made it her mission to strengthen relationships between dogs and their guardians through science-based humane dog training. Steinmetz, who worked at a doggy daycare before owning a dog walking service, decided to get the education and credentials needed to become a humane dog trainer, which led her to open Bianca’s Dog Training & Behavioural Consulting. It has been over a decade since Steinmetz’s training journey began, and her journey continues with the latest success of receiving the BC SPCA AnimalKind accreditation.
Born and raised in Germany, Steinmetz grew up with German shepherds, but it was her own dog Luna, a border collie Labrador mix, who sparked her interest in dog training. Steinmetz says, “Luna was a patient teacher. We started learning from each other by observing, and as time went on, we developed a language that was ours.” That relationship cemented Steinmetz’s passion for making an impact in the way humans and dogs interact. Steinmetz says, “If we can admire our dogs for who they are and treat them with respect, if we can see the connection with our dogs as relationships vs. ownership, then we can start to understand each other’s language and begin to bond and work with each other.”
The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind accreditation program to help dog guardians find dog trainers who use science-based humane training methods and are committed to high animal welfare.
“Choosing a trainer can be challenging. Dog guardians face the risk of working with trainers who use outdated techniques that can cause harm to their dogs,” says Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA, “AnimalKind offers dog guardians a convenient way to find reward-based dog trainers who understand the role evidence-based training methods have in strengthening the human-animal bond.”
Steinmetz agrees, “The dog training industry is still unregulated, and anyone can call themselves a dog trainer without any formal education to understand dogs. AnimalKind provides resources and guidance for people that need help. They are trusted to ensure their dog’s best interest is at heart, and the guidance they provide is based on science. Being accredited through AnimalKind offers all of this. Their screening selection and auditing process are second to none. My wish is that this would become the standard for all trainers to undergo.”
Steinmetz’s company is the latest to receive the BC SPCA’s AnimalKind accreditation. “Dog guardians in White Rock and South Surrey can rely on Bianca’s Dog Training & Behavioural Consulting and Ocean Park Dog Training for their training needs. They also can count on other AnimalKind accredited companies around BC that offer virtual services,” says Fenwick, “The AnimalKind community of humane dog trainers is growing, which positively impacts 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.