Sunshine Coast Resident and BC SPCA Recognized Dog Trainer
Best Friends Dog Training and Behavior is the latest Powell River dog training business to receive AnimalKind accreditation from the BC SPCA. They join Paw in Hand, who moved to the area in the spring.
AnimalKind accreditation recognizes dog training companies that use evidence-based positive reinforcement training methods and are committed to a high level of animal welfare. Nicole Fenwick, Head of Research and Standards for the BC SPCA, says, “In British Columbia, dog training is unregulated and anyone can claim to be a dog trainer, regardless of background or background. his credentials. Dog sitters could end up handing over their dogs to someone who uses outdated techniques that negatively impact the bond between sitters and their dogs. By recommending only AnimalKind Certified Trainers, the BC SPCA can connect dog sitters with expert, humane trainers.
Sandy Middleton, owner and trainer at Best Friends Dog Training and Behaviour, explains the importance of using humane training methods. Middleton says, “I train using positive reinforcement because I can’t imagine inviting a dog into my life and my home and then treating it mean. There is no place to hurt or scare dogs in the name of training or for any other reason. I never want to betray a dog’s trust by using aversive methods or equipment. It’s not just mean. These are ineffective and aversive techniques that cause many dogs to become fearful and aggressive.
Middleton became a dog trainer as part of her second career. The retired Capilano College instructor attributes her interest in dog training to her own dogs, Sophie and TT. Middleton says: “My dog Sophie had become reactive to other dogs, and I was looking for ways to help her with that. I loved Sophie so much, and it hurt to see her barking and growling at other dogs. I wanted to change that. And my dog TT was a feral pup that I adopted. TT came home with me at seven months, scared of his own shadow.
To receive AnimalKind accreditation, companies go through a rigorous auditing process that ensures their training methods meet AnimalKind science-based standards for dogs. Fenwick says, “We are thrilled that Best Friends Dog Training and Behavior is now part of the AnimalKind community, and that more Sunshine Coast dogs will benefit from working with these amazing trainers who are so committed to animal welfare.” Middleton says, “I am happy and proud to be accredited by the AnimalKind program. I’m honored to be listed among all the wonderful trainers in BC who do such a great job demonstrating the power of humane, science-based training and helping people and their dogs live their best lives together.
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 at animalkind.ca.