Excerpts from AVSAB position statement on training methods.

These excerpts have been taken off the American Veterinarian Society of Animal Behavior official position statement.

What are some examples of techniques that may be used by a reward-based trainer?
Trainers may use verbal or visual cues to signal (request) the required behavior, a clicker or verbal marker to mark the behavior, and toys, treats, or other appropriate reinforcers to reward the behavior. Capturing, shaping, and luring may be used to teach desired behaviors.


Does reward-based training mean that dogs are allowed to do unwanted behaviors?
Use of reward-based methods does not mean dogs are allowed to do anything they want. All animals learn best when given appropriate structure, routine, and guidelines. However, it is imperative that these boundaries be taught without the use of fear, intimidation, or pain.


Are aversive training techniques appropriate for animals who exhibit aggression?
Animals with challenging behavior disorders such as aggression should be treated with effective, compassionate, and humane methods of training, rather than with “a heavy hand”. There are no exceptions to this standard. If a trainer is having difficulty modifying a particular behavior, they should consult with another reward-based trainer, or refer to a veterinarian, board-certified veterinary behaviorist, or certified applied animal behaviorist.


What techniques should be avoided in training?
An appropriate trainer should avoid any use of training tools that involve pain (choke chains, prong collars, or electronic shock collars), intimidation (squirt bottles, shaker noise cans, compressed air cans, shouting, staring, or forceful manipulation such as “alpha rolls” or “dominance downs”), physical correction techniques
(leash jerking, physical force), or flooding (“exposure”). The learner must always feel safe and have the ability to “opt out” of training sessions. All efforts should be made to communicate effectively and respectfully with the learner.


Why should aversive training techniques be avoided?
The consequences and fallout from aversive training methods have been proven and are well documented. These include increased anxiety and fear-related aggression, avoidance, and learned helplessness. Animals may be less motivated to engage in training and less likely to interact with human members of the household.

See entire statement here: https://avsab.org/resources/position-statements/

We strictly adhere to these recommendations and the ethics of our certifying organization the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

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