Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Pet Dog Trainers and Shelter Dogs

    Posted 06-15-2022 07:31 AM
    I am curious how others have dealt with trainers who insist that they could train "all the dogs here to be obedient" if given the opportunity. 

    We have a trainer in our community who is positive-based, but uses some techniques that would worry us with a shelter dog.  She asks the person training to sit on the floor and gather the dog into their lap, "hugging" the dog until it relaxes.

    That may work with your well-loved pet, but I assure you that some of the dogs currently in our shelter would freak out at being restrained by a stranger.  And frankly, rightly so.

    It seems this trainer may be spreading some falsehoods  about our shelter based on "they don't use my methods."  Can anyone feel my pain?

    Johanna Humbert
    Michiana Humane Society

  • 2.  RE: Pet Dog Trainers and Shelter Dogs

    Posted 06-15-2022 02:59 PM
    Your instincts are spot on! Hugging is not fear free or low stress for all pets. :) 

    Consent and choice are critically important for shelter pets who have had a lot of choice taken from them with the nature of kennel housing. 

    Is your team familiar with the Fear Free Shelters course? Would be a great response point to have all of your team members Fear Free Shelters certified to support your concerns and claims. The course and certification is free for all shelter and rescue employees/volunteers.

    The course is really helpful and well structured. Great lunch and learn opportunity for staff and volunteers alike. 

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions about this!

    Heather Kalman (she/her), CPDT-KA, SBA, ABCDT
    Embedded Data Coordinator
    American Pets Alive!, Human Animal Support Services

  • 3.  RE: Pet Dog Trainers and Shelter Dogs

    Posted 06-15-2022 03:44 PM
    Yes, all of our staff are Fear Free Shelters certified.  The trainer is (obviously?) not. 

    Johanna Humbert
    Executive Director
    722 Indiana Hwy 212
    Michigan City IN 46360
    (219) 872-4499, x105

  • 4.  RE: Pet Dog Trainers and Shelter Dogs

    Posted 06-16-2022 12:59 AM
    Maybe she'll change her mind when one of the fearful ones defacates on her for "hugging."  :) 
    Seriously though, there are so.many."trainers" who think that flooding a dog is helpful, when really it only makes things worse. That's a therapy made for humans, who can leave anytime they don't like what's happening. (And it also originally involved visualization processes, which of course we can't take dogs through.)  
    I've found that sharing our anti-aversives statement as well as some other things like the spiders analogy (see screenshot below) can be helpful for those stuck on such methods.  From

    Rain Jordan, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP
    Certified Canine Fear Abatement Expert instructor/mentor, The Fearful Dogs Project
    Principle, Canine Fear Solutions

    Would you consider a gift in your will? Information on Legacy Gifting
    A 501(c)(3) non profit, animal welfare charity specialized in anti-aversives education and training.  Our mission is to protect & elevate the lives of companion animals. We believe that, as animal welfare professionals, it is our duty to do our best to protect them, from the moment we have the capability. Visit our website for our complete vision statement.  
    Protect Them All   

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