The Comox Valley now has three BC SPCA AnimalKind accredited dog training companies.
Comox Valley’s Go Dog Go! and Wild at Heart are the latest companies to receive AnimalKind accreditation, joining Courtenay’s K9 Kind Dog Training & Behaviour Consulting, which earned its accreditation in December 2020.
The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind program to provide information to dog guardians looking for skilled trainers who use science-based, humane training methods and recognize companies for their commitment to high animal welfare.
Emily Priestley, owner and trainer at Wild at Heart, recognizes the difficulties in navigating the information available.
“Our industry is unregulated, and there is a lot of misinformation out there presented as facts,” said Priestley. “This makes it difficult and confusing for a guardian to wade through, and it can also lead to dogs being trained using aversive techniques or dominance-based training. The negative impact this has on our pet dogs is terrible, and many dogs are becoming fearful or aggressive being trained this way.”
Lynne Fedorick, owner and trainer at Go Dog Go! concurs.
“Anyone could call themselves a dog trainer,” she said. “A dog guardian has absolutely no way of knowing who actually has the knowledge, skill, and experience to deal with their dog’s behavioural issues or training problems.”
The BC SPCA wants to encourage dog guardians to consider their options carefully when looking for a dog trainer.
“Connecting dog guardians with trainers who are committed to good welfare practices is incredibly important for improving welfare for dogs across the province,” said Nicole Fenwick, manager, research and standards for the BC SPCA. “We have developed evidence-based dog training standards and a third-party auditing program that ensures we only recommend trainers who use effective, humane training methods instead of outdated techniques that cause fear and pain to dogs.”
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 animalkind.ca.