BC SPCA Recognized Vancouver Dog Trainer

Vanessa Kursan, owner of Evolve Dog Training in Vancouver, has always been an educator. A former educational therapist, Kursan fell in love with dog training 14 years ago when taking her pup to an agility class. “I was inspired to understand how dogs learn and embarked on a new educational journey to become a dog trainer myself,” says Kursan. “As an educator, I have always believed that any punishment or stress inhibits learning, and this realization has led me down the path of positive reinforcement learning.”

Kursan’s commitment to dog welfare and humane dog training resulted in Evolve Dog Training recently earning BC SPCA AnimalKind accreditation. “My goal is to improve the quality of life for dogs using caring and humane scientific methods,” says Kursan. “By giving our dogs the ability to respond positively to their surroundings, we can help them navigate our world as they go through life with us.”

Vanessa Kursan, owner of Evolve Dog Training in Vancouver, with her dog Spencer.

The BC SPCA created the AnimalKind Accreditation Program to help find and refer companies with high animal welfare standards and qualified trainers who use only humane training methods.

“Dog training is unregulated in British Columbia,” says Nicole Fenwick, Manager, Research and Standards for the BC SPCA, “which makes choosing a dog trainer difficult. Dog sitters run the risk of working with a trainer who uses outdated techniques that cause dogs fear and pain before finding a human trainer who uses scientific methods that are proven to be effective and better for dogs.

As a member of the dog training community, Kursan sees the benefits of AnimalKind accreditation. Kursan says, “Maintaining standards and raising the bar is key to providing metrics for best practice in any industry. The principle of non-force and positive reinforcement training is one of the pillars of aligning my values ​​with AnimalKind. This platform allows me to educate and passionately support this on a daily basis.

The BC SPCA wants to encourage dog sitters to choose human dog trainers like Kursan when considering their options. “It’s important for dog sitters to be able to easily find reward-based dog trainers who understand the role that evidence-based training methods have in strengthening the human-pet bond,” says Fenwick, “We are glad that AnimalKind accreditation contributes to the work Evolve Dog Training does for dogs and their guardians.

For Kursan, the ultimate reward is seeing the impact of his work on dogs and dog keepers. Kursan says, “The best part is how inspiring and empowering it is for me to help people connect with their dogs. As my clients develop their skills, their relationship grows through connection, trust and patience. It’s one of the best gifts I can give. After quitting my job four years ago as a teacher to do full-time dog training, I can honestly say I’m doing what I was supposed to.

The BC SPCA launched the first set of AnimalKind standards – for wildlife and rodent control businesses – in 2018. Through a partnership with the UBC Animal Welfare Program, the BC SPCA, the Vancouver Foundation and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies provided funding to establish the program. AnimalKind Standards for Dog Training – the second set of standards developed, launched in January 2019.

Learn more about AnimalKind accreditation, what to look for in a trainer, or find a trainer near you.

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