My philosophy about behavior change is to empower and inspire animals rather than to dominate and disempower them. The words “teach” and “teacher” more appropriately express how I work with animals.
It’s often difficult for people to understand the “empowerment” philosophy because it seems contradictory to the common and outdated thought that we must dominate an animal to achieve results. This is especially true with animals who are aggressive and “out-of-control". Although force and punishment can sometimes provide perceived results, it can also cause rebounds by ultimately teaching unpredictable biting, heightened aggression, anxiety, stress related illnesses, and other damaging behaviors.
Animals who believe they are in charge of their own lives and allowed to make their own independent decisions, are happier and more confident. Happy, confident animals are less aggressive, easier to teach, and they learn faster.
What is positive reinforcement
and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Positive reinforcement and ABA are specific, science-based teaching methods used to reinforce an animal to behave in a desired way rather than punishing the animal for behaving in an undesired way. The focus is on reinforcing behaviors we like, rather than correcting or punishing behaviors that we don’t like.
The overall goal is to help companion animals feel a sense of independent
decision making rather than forcing and coercing an animal to do something you want, or behave in a way that you desire.
Effective behavior change can be achieved without using force or punishment.
Why Professional Animal
Behavior Consultation is Important
Even the most knowledgeable and caring animal guardian may find their companion
animal's unwanted behavior too challenging to manage.
Unintentional training mistakes can potentially cause rebound effects thereby escalating the original, unwanted behavior and/or creating new unwanted behaviors. Uneducated and/or failed attempts to modify an animal's behavior, can ultimately exacerbate behavior problems and cause caretakers to surrender their animals, causing homelessness, rehoming, and even euthanasia of the animal.
The term positive reinforcement is sometimes loosely used by some trainers who knowingly or unknowingly use aversive techniques in varying forms, therefore it's important to choose an animal behavior consultant who is knowledgeable and truly adheres to the principles of force-free animal behavior change.
With professional assistance, animal caretakers can more successfully modify