Responsible Dog and Cat is located in Sarasota and Bradenton Florida. We use pet friendly training methods. Our services are designed to enhance the human-canine bond. If you want to learn how to train your dog using behavioral and preventative strategies, Contact Us to schedule your private dog behavior/assessment consultation..
Joyce Kesling is certified in dog and cat behavior through iaabc.org and professional dog trainer experienced with many breeds and types of dogs. Review my experience, training, certifications and professional memberships here.
If you’re already experiencing behavior issues classes are likely not going to be your best choice where to start. Once we’ve resolved behavior problems, you and your dog will better be prepared to succeed in class environment.
“Behavior modification exercises are NOT, repeat NOT, obedience exercises. At the very outset, clients should be disabused of the notion that this is fancy obedience.” Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, ACVB, ABS Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Psychiatry Department, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Behavior problems include jumping, barking, chewing, digging, house-training, socialization and play behavior. Complex behavior problems includes all types of aggression, anxieties, fear and phobias, separation anxiety/distress, attachment problems (home alone), and sibling rivalry. Treating behavior problems first requires in-home assessment/evaluation. This includes taking a behavior history, assessing your dogs responses to training, observations, video taking/processing (if needed) and most of all getting to know you, members of your family and your pets.
Most often dog and human conflict is caused from insufficient knowledge in canine behavior, use of force in training, when it’s not necessary. Dog owners often misinterpret their dogs behavior for dominance and notions of being alpha. Using force on these dogs leads to loss of confidence, often leading to aggression and/or learned helplessness. These negative emotional states have serious consequences leading to compromised well-being and welfare.
Read why punishment and aversive control can lead to learned helplessness here.
Understanding learned helplessness makes things easier to understand when making this choice. You can ask yourself these questions. Do you want a companion dog that loves and wants to be around you, respects you, and playful? Or do you want a dog that avoids you, appears unable to learn, try new things, able to express being a dog? Some people do, perhaps they should not have a dog!
Dogs are different from us; this difference creates different challenges in training and problem solving, you don’t want to use training methods that jeopardize your relationship. Understanding canine communication and dogs cognitive abilities are important pieces of knowledge when educating owners how to prevent problems and conflicts.
Owner relinquishment due to behavior problems is a trend not improving. Lack of training and resolution of behavior problems is the leading cause suggested by research studies.
We use and recommend the following methods for training and behavior modification. Marker training (clicker, voice, whistle, hand signals) using luring, shaping, targeting, and play. You can review dog training tools and equipment recommended for training and behavior modification here: “Good trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your practice of veterinary medicine,” published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2006) 1, 47-52. Excluded dog training tools include choke collars, prong or pinch collars, and shock collars.
If you do anything for your pet, take time to review dog trainers for certifications and credentials. They should have these posted on their websites. Verify their memberships and credentials with the certifying organizations. Just because someone tells you they are a “dog trainer” does not mean they are the most qualified. Be careful who you select, your dog’s life may depend on your decision. You and your dog can’t afford to make the wrong choice.
Make sure the dog trainer has sufficient dog training experience, meets sufficient criteria including learning theory and ethology, can they explain how and why their methods work without using coercive punishment. Does the dog trainer understand your needs. How effective and realistic are they about their ability to resolve any behavior problems? Are they offering guarantees? Beware of guarantees. Have they discussed any risks and liabilities especially if aggression is involved.
What may be an unacceptable behavior for you may be acceptable for another and normal dog behavior operating in a dysfunctional environment. Problem behavior is a case-by-case study and why it is important you choose the right dog trainer or behavior specialist in the beginning. If you already have a conflict and/or behavior problem, you need a dog behavior specialist not a dog trainer!
Contact Us to book your appointment. We understand what you are going through; we are here to help you. Remember, it is not your fault or your dog/s; dogs are simply being dogs, doing what dogs do!
Joyce Kesling, CDBC
Dog Training and Behavior Solutions, LLC
Certified Dog and Cat Behavior Consultant
Florida Dog Trainer, Dog Behavior Specialist
Sarasota and Bradenton Florida