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It will take the big organisations to push for legislation in the area of Puppy Farms, Animal Welfare and control in the area of Animal Behaviour work.
If you are a large rescue or organisation please send the message out by promoting trainers and behaviourists with qualifications (academic) and FULL insurance. Verify all claims of certification and membership of associations or groups. Check out these associations with specific reference to how a member is assessed, who assesses them, how and why they are qualified to assess a person, what protocols are in place for colleagues assessing colleagues? What is the pass criteria, how is this documented and most important what is the code of ethics and what happens when a member breaks this code? Remember self regulation is no regulation.
Industry standard and regulated organistions include the Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK (APDT UK), Association of Pet Behaviour Councillors (APBC), Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), Centre of Applied Ethology (COAPE). Good trainers are and want to me members of these groups.
For now and until this area is regulated please ask questions, do not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and always dig deep and find the meaning of titles, associations and certifying bodies.
Punishment – A bad word?
Punishment has become such a bad word of late within popular dog training media. There are some trainers that say they only use Positive Reinforcement. The word punishment invokes certain feelings and ideas in many people’s minds. From personal experience it seems, choke chains, alpha rolls, slapping or hitting etc. Yes all off these things could be described as punishing – perhaps! Read on…
To understand what a punisher is we need to understand learning theory. Punishment is something that reduces behaviour. Reinforcement is something that increases behaviour. Now, take the choke chain example – if I stop choking the dog when he sits down, I have just used the removal of the choke chain as reinforcement for the dog to sit! This is called Negative Reinforcement – the removal of an unpleasant/undesirable stimulus when the desired behaviour occurs. The word punishment is no-where to be seen in this situation – however, of course this is not something that should ever be done to a dog!
It is a fact that it is impossible to train a dog without the use of punishment! Think about it. If your dog jumps up on you and you ignore him i.e. remove the reinforcement of your attention. This will over time reduce the jumping up behaviour. This process is known as Negative Punishment! And this is what a “positive reinforcement trainer” does. However, none of us would ever say that we use Negative Punishment to a client – because of the perceived notion of what the word punishment means. Telling a child that they won’t get any ice-cream until they stop their tantrum is Negative Punishment! Negative Punishment sounds terrible, but when it’s explained, it is of course is the ethical way to deal with that situation. Slapping the child to stop the tantrum is called positive punishment – this is the addition of an unpleasant stimulus in order to reduce a specific behaviour.
Punishment has become such a bad word and I believe undermines people’s ability to truly understand how their dogs learn.
What the solution is I’m not sure – the general public is already bombarded with so many notions and ideas about what makes a good dog trainer.
Ethical Training is a term I like to use. Which would incorporate both the use of Positive Reinforcement and Negative Punishment in training and is a more correct way of describing how we should train our dogs.
Just something to think about Comments welcome
We got Charlie as a tiny pup, we adored him and did plenty of training with him from day one. He suffered his fair share of gastro problems and urinary problems. He was always lean and very small for a collie cross, he had poor muscle development from puppyhood and was neutered later because of this, it took him a bit longer to recover from his neuter than our foster dogs and he couldn’t tolerate certain medications. I often felt there was something wrong with him, a gut feeling but nothing really warranted further investigation, until this time last year at age two. His behaviour started to change; I knew it wasn’t due to lack of socialisation or from a bad experience. He didn’t want to play anymore with dogs and was apprehensive around people. He slept a lot and liked to spend time on his own.
We booked him for a full panel of bloods with our vet and this is where it all began. The symptoms of liver disease are often vague and subtle at the early stages especially. He’s initial bloods showed up some liver dysfunction that needed further investigation. He had bile acid testing done several times and it was confirmed there was most certainly some problems in this area. Over the months that followed he had lots of test run and was referred to UCD. In August he was diagnosed with a Congenital Liver Disease called Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia. At first, I thought this was a death sentence for him, but we learnt lots and now he has a happy and almost normal life through medical and dietary management.
What is HMD/MVD:
The liver is responsible for lots of functions in dogs including filtering toxins, waste removal and bile production to aid digestion. The blood is carried to the liver via the portal vein which branches out into smaller and smaller vessels to be detoxified. Microvascular Dysplasia is diagnosed when these microscopic vessels are abnormal and blood is going back into circulation without being detoxified and cleaned.
They are rarely consistent and there is range of symptoms from very mild to severe and not all dogs while suffer the same ones. This condition doesn’t usually present until the dog is around age three unlike a portosystemic shunt which symptoms usually come to light when the dog is much younger and usually under one, some of the symptoms include anorexia, lethargy, salivating, vomiting, diarrhoea, hepatic encephalopathy which is an impairment of the mental state due to liver dysfunction often seen as aggression, pacing, circling, pressing head, apparent blindness and even seizures and a zombie like state. Charlie’s most obviously symptoms where lethargy and staring with occasional vomiting and diarrhoea, lack of appetite, head pressing and becoming more aggressive with other dogs. Since Charlie was only aged two his symptoms where mild but I would spend a lot of time with him and quickly notice small changes in his personality.
Charlie had the following tests: Basic Panel of Bloods, Bile Acid Testing, Ultra Sounds, Liver Biopsy, Blood Ammonia Testing , Vitamin B12 tests & Zinc Level Test. It took several months to get conclusive diagnoses as many other things had to be ruled out, mainly a Portosystemic Shunt which is another form of Liver Disease.
How do we medically Manage Charlie:
The hardest thing to get our heads around was that Charlie can have no meat or fish protein and plenty of other foods are off the menu too! This is essential to his care this would result in further toxin build up and damage to his organs. He gets prescription food from the Vet made especially for dogs with Liver Disease. He can also have small amounts of cottage cheese, egg whites, goats yogurt so we have become a dab hand at making him special cakes for his training as hotdogs and cheese (which were his all time favourites) are off the menu forever!
The amount of protein he eats per day has to be measured to ensure his symptoms are kept under control. He also needs to eat numerous small meals per day to ease the work load on his liver.
He also takes several medications and supplements which include:
1. Lactulose X 3 times per day – binds ammonia in his bowel and ensure he poops frequently throughout the day
2. Long term antibiotics X 2 times per day – to decrease bacteria in his blood
3. VSL-3 – Probiotics (because he is on longterm antibiotics and this is the most suitable since it contains no manganese which dogs with liver disease don’t tolerate well)
4. Zentonil (Sam-E) – prevents more liver damage
5. Heptosupport – supports normal liver function with Milk Thistle and vitamins
6. Zinc & Vitamin E – Dogs with liver disease are often lacking in these
It sounds like a lot and at first it was difficult to get the hang of it all, but now it’s like second nature to us. Charlie is a happy dog again who enjoys long walks on the beach and doing agility training. It most certainly hasn’t been a death sentence and we are very lucky to have our beautiful dog doing very well thanks to a little bit of effort and our amazing vet who always goes to great lengths to help and support Charlie.
1. Read Ian Dunbar’s book – Before & After you get your Puppy:
This is a fantastic book that offers lots of practical advice and solutions to help prevent and deal with a wide variety of puppy problems. The book covers topics from selecting the right puppy, from the right breeder to toilet training, mouthing and everything in between. It is essential reading for all new puppy owners :) Also check out www.dogstardaily.com Ian Dunbar’s fantastic website crammed full of information.
2. Book a Puppy Socialisation Course:
As soon as your Veterinarian gives you the go ahead, your puppy should start a puppy socialisation course, with qualified, certified and experienced pet dog trainers before your puppy is 16 weeks of age, the earlier the better! This will be the most important course of your puppies’ life and you should choose your trainer carefully. The right puppy course should have a mix of off-lead play, obedience exercises, owner education to help ensure the maximum benefit for all. Look for certifications such as the APDT UK, CCPDT, APBC and evidence of study, assessment and experience from your puppy trainer
3. Crate Train your Puppy:
This helps to toilet train and chew train your puppy as well as helping to build some independence and help your puppy deal with frustration and self control. Dogs or puppies should not be left in their crate for more than a couple of hours during the day and very young puppies will need to be taken out at least once during the night for toilets. Puppies and dogs like to keep their bed clean and should not toilet in their crate unless the crate is too big, they are unwell or they have come from an impoverished environment where they have lost this natural ability. Puppies and dogs love their crate especially when it has lots of comfy blankets and is covered over at night time. It becomes their safe place.
4. Chew Toy Train your Puppy:
Ban the bowl in favour of Kong toys, treat balls, tug-a-jugs and any other interactive toys you can find for your puppy. A Kong is the world’s best dog toy and will become a saviour when you have a young pup or active dog. Invest in some appropriate size and chew level for your pup, put a small bit of cheese spread pate, sardines or similar around the inside of the Kong, stuff the Kong with their kibble as tight as you can (I find a rubber glove works great), give this to your puppy in replace of feeding from their dish especially when you have to go out for a while. If your puppy is busy chewing their Kong, they will never learn that chewing your kitchen table legs and skirting boards is fun, they will also have a job and something to keep them busy so they won’t be barking and disturbing neighbours. Over time you can make the Kong more difficult lots of people pour a small bit of stock cube over their Kong and freeze them, helps with puppy teething too!
5. Ensure your puppy has 100 positive experiences with 100 different people:
Research suggests that the socialisation period of puppies is up until 16 weeks of age and that in this time they should have 100 positive experiences with new people of different ages, sizes, wearing different clothes, carrying different items and so on. This includes children of all ages and sizes too. Bring tasty treats out on walks and ask different people and children to help you achieve this goal, ask them to feed your puppy to help create that positive experience, never pull or drag your pup over to something they are frightened of, this will make them more frightened and may create some problems when they are matured.
6. Ensure your puppy has 100 positive experiences with 100 new dogs before 16 weeks of age:
This is the same as number 5, except with dogs! This is where enrolling in a puppy socialisation course will help.
7. Don’t put your puppies nose in their toilets or smack them on the nose:
If your puppy makes mistakes it’s not his fault, he is only very young and you need to train him. Don’t let an untrained puppy have free run around the house he will just go to the toilet as he needs to, instead bring him out to the garden every hour and wait and reward him when he gets it right. If you find an accident it’s the person who was meant to be watching the puppy that should be in trouble – not the pup! Puppies that have their nose put in their toilets will often eat their toilets or go behind the sofa or under the bed because they want to hide it from you, not a very nice thought. Puppies that are smacked on the nose often become hand shy and once they mature often become snappy and unhappy about being approached – not a problem any owner wants to be dealing with.
8. Teach your puppy Bite Inhibition:
Probably the most important thing you will teach your puppy. Puppies bite and its great that they do because this is how we teach them human skin is super sensitive. You don’t need to hurt your puppy to let them know they’ve hurt you but once they bite down hard you can simply say OUCH and remove yourself or your puppy from the situation for a few seconds. After some practice your puppy will start to inhibite their bite and be a lot more gentle. Then you can let on it still hurts until they stop putting any pressure down at all and their biting will decrease until its just licking! Off lead play with other puppies and well socialised dogs is also good for teaching bite inhibtion and should be covered in puppy classes.
9. Teach your puppy to be comfortable with being handled by you and different people:
This will make vet and grooming visits a breeze for you and your pup. It will help remove any stress for you and your dog too. It will also be sure to save you money because you won’t need to have your dog sedated for things like having a bandage applied, stitches removed or a groom! Sit down every evening with your dogs dinner and touch their paw and give them some kibble, touch their ears and give them some kibble, look at their teeth, give them some kibble and so on….
10. It’s never too early to start your training!
You’ll make mistakes, your puppy will make mistakes, try harder, find out what they love, motivate them, be patient, be kind, most importantly enjoy them and have fun!
Course Title: Train the Dog Trainer
Qualification/Certification: FETAC Level 6 Canine Obedience and Training (N32919)
Other: 20 Continuing Veterinary Education (CVE) points for Vet Professionals
Cost: Dublin €1000, Nationwide €1050
Educational Grants: Various grants are available. Contact www.FAS.ie or your local job or employment centre. You will be required to only fund your portion of your fees if you are approved for any grant. We will issue invoice to the grant provider for the remainder.
Click here for online booking and all information
Please do not leave a comment but phone us 01 8665088 or email email@example.com for more information.
Dog Training Ireland is pleased to be able to offer ‘Train the Dog Trainer’ on behalf of FETAC QA Centre, MCX, registered no. 38332N. On successful completion learners will receive the FETAC Level 6 award Canine Obedience and Training (N32919).
This course covers the following units:
Unit 1 Evolution of the Dog
Unit 2 Learning and Training
Unit 3 Training Equipment
Unit 4 Training Procedures
Unit 5 Puppy Training and Socialisation
Unit 6 Group Training Classes
Unit 7 Specific Dog Training for Organisations and Industries
Unit 8 Problem Behaviour Management
Assessment is in the form of Practical, Project and Examination.
The course is ideal for:
Those who want to work in the area of Canine Training and Obedience, offering Pet Dog Obedience and Puppy Classes (not Behaviour or Clinical Behaviour Modification work)
Those who are already working with dogs and who wish to gain a recognised qualification and improve both on their theory and hands on skills
Those who would like to understand more about how dogs learn and the area of Canine Training and Obedience
The FETAC award is an excellent starting point for study in the area of Canine Training and Obedience. You will also have the opportunity to get hands on experience working in our very busy Dog Daycare and Training facility. On completion you will have a solid understanding of what is involved with working with dogs along with a recognised qualification.
Classroom Tuition Schedule
The course is run in two formats evening over 8 weeks with an extra Saturday for assessment and an intensive version which is run over 4 longer Saturdays with extra assessment day, ideal for those who need to travel to attend.
Students are invited to watch classes run at Dog Training Ireland. Current Schedules can be seen here: http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/training_classes.php.
Students are welcome to attend other courses available at Dog Training Ireland as spectators to gain experience prior to completion of this course.
All assessments and project work are graded by an internal assessor, external assessor and there is a strict verification process.
Contact us by email Info@dogtrainingireland.ie should you need any extra information.
One of my dogs, Honey was diagnosed with arthritis in her hips about 2 years ago. She was only 7 years of age at the time and for a Tibetan terrier this was pretty young. Her littermate Millie is as spritely as a puppy and so having a direct comparison between both just demonstrated how bad Honey actually was. After discussions with the vet we transferred her onto Science Hill JD and Glucosamine and started her on acupuncture, I was also given Metacam that I could give to her when she needed it. She did improve after her acupuncture sessions and certainly the Metacam helped if she was in pain, but throughout the last year she had some poor periods where a short walk up to the local park resulted in her laying down half way and really swinging the hips and displaying pain afterwards. But now after 18 months I think I have finally found a balance that is working for her. In the last month I have made the following changes:
Diet: I have placed her on a holistic food called Robbies, this is a natural food produced by a company called the land of holistic pets.
Glucosamine: I changed her from a powder Glucosamine to a liquid Glucosamine called Flexicose, the reason I chose this particular Glucosamine was because a colleague of mine started taking the human form for his own knee and can now run an Agility course after the doctors said he needed an operation!
Magnetism: I bought a collar that has a small Magnet stitched into it which she now wears on her neck.
One month later after making all of these changes Honey more than managed a 3 hour mountain hike in our local mountains with no ill effects or signs of pain either during the walk or afterwards. I really never thought she would ever manage anything like that again and I am so happy for her. I cannot say which of these changes has had the most effect because I introduced them all around the same time. I know if I had been scientific about it I would have introduced each one individually, but all I care about now is that she is back enjoying her walks and not in pain. So for anyone out there whose dog suffers from arthritis just keep looking for solutions that work for your dog. You just never know!
Earlier this year DTI roled out our Internship program. This is our 3rd and current group of interns:
Lisa Jones (from the 1st group)
Shaun Quinn (from 2nd Group)
Are all doing well and we are extremely proud of the improvement in their handling skills and knowledge, as well as their motivation and drive to be great dog trainers! It can be very tough to balance the demands of studying and practical skills and experience, but both are essential to make a great dog trainer.
Our current Interns are proving they have the skills and drive to succeed and we will help them as much as we can with gaining other certifications such as CAP1, First Aid and as much practical and hands on work as possible
There is a huge secondary benefit to being a dog owner, and that is the lovely, likeminded people we meet along the journey of owning and loving dogs.
DTI first met Clodagh when she did work experience with us; she then went on to adopt her own dog from Puppy Rescue, Bailey, the lovely chocolate cross breed. She attended classes from beginner’s obedience right up to advanced agility with many workshops and seminars along the way too with Bailey. They have gone on to win the Scrufts competition at the Pet Expo 2008, Game Night at DTI, and bringing home many rosettes from the agility competitions they have taken part in. All of this has been down to Clodagh’s dedication and hard work.
I first met Clodagh at agility classes who I was attending with my own dog, Charlie. Charlie and Bailey became firm best friends, with me and Clodagh becoming good friends shortly after!!! Clodagh and Bailey always bring lots of fun and laughs to our agility training sessions and to our competition days out.
Clodagh has been accepted to study Veterinary Medicine in Budapest. She leaves on Monday to embark on her new career. We know Clodagh is going to make a fabulous vet and we wish her all the best in Budapest. We will miss her dearly but she has promised to make any agility practice and competitions when she is home. This Sunday she and Bailey have their last competition before she leaves. It promises to be a great day out. Derek, our fab agility instructor, is going to take over Bailey’s handling at training and competitions so Bailey doesn’t miss out on his training, which he loves so much.
We wish Clodagh, all the best, from everyone at DTI, and especially from myself and Charlie. We are going to miss you lots and lots, we can’t wait until you qualify because Ireland is going to have a super new Vet