WE ALIGN WITH MODERN TRAINING METHODOLOGY AND THE MOST HUMANE ANIMAL WELFARE organizations. As such, we nurture established and accepted Best Practices—the methodologies, tools, tactics and supporting research that ensure the most humane treatment of animals and the best outcomes.
All companion animals are entitled to the highest level of humane treatment, respect, dignity and care, and best outcomes, as defined by Positive Reinforcement (R+), Force/Fear-Free (FF) and Least Intrusive, Minimally Intrusive (LIMA) standards. These standards are well-established and form best practices.
Likewise, the bar for this industry is the tangible commitment to established best practices. Practitioners do this via knowledge and competence gained through credible LIMA, R+ and FF foundational education, which is plentiful and accessible. The competency gained means we actively employ the most humane and effective approaches, tools and information that produce the best outcomes.
These best practices prevail over any other practice, belief system or mindset that does not serve the “most humane, most effective” standard of care.
This industry provides guardianship, care and enrichment services to sentient beings, and counsel to pet parents. We must be current in our expertise and conduct ourselves to the highest degree of responsibility, with attendant care and commitment to best practices and best outcomes, and without risk, abuse, damage or mortality to any animal.
Humane Canada | The Five Freedoms
A core concept in animal welfare is that all animals have freedoms. These concepts underpin LIMA/R+/FF methodology and Canadian law. Therefore, we take The Five Freedoms to heart, to inform our position. They include:
1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
2. Freedom from Discomfort
3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease
4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour
5. Freedom from Fear and Distress
What does this look like, specifically?
Industry progression has evolved admirable best practices that uphold these concepts. By definition, the best practices are:
• No aversive tools or equipment (prong, choke chain/martingale or shock). Low-level vibration collars may be used on hearing-impaired animals.
• No corporal corrections or punishment, or practice that prioritizes punishment over reward-based methods. No emotional or mental cruelty or indifference; no suppression or denial of exercise, enrichment, therapeutic care; no denial of respect or dignity, or denial of The Five Freedoms; no unreasonable or sustained captivity, or the withholding of food, water, medical care, necessary vaccinations, positive attention or shelter for companion animals, under any context.
• No methods or tactics, based on canine dominance theory. We nurture positive, cooperative relationships with dogs where neither is the boss. Understanding and management of hard wired canine behaviours are to be informed by positive industry-leading resources. Dominance is a debunked and redacted theory that has no credence or existence in the modern lexicon.
• All methods, tactics, and the counsel or dissemination of information, must draw reference from established and credible Positive Reinforcement, Force/Fear-Free, or LIMA schools and publications, which are voluminous, as is their supporting research.
• No exceptions. Outdated methods perpetuate do harm mindsets, practices and outcomes that pose needless risk, grievous injury and mortality. Aversive treatment and tools are not advantageous, necessary or acceptable.
Given that industry progression has brought forth humane methodologies and tools that are complete and successful, they prevail wholly.
We have evolved into an informed, humane and responsible industry
The extended pet services industry has been long-afflicted with argument and divide over what has been characterized as training and management methodology beliefs. It is CDWA’s intention and mission to promote that this industry, like any other industry that has progressed, is defined instead by established best practices.
Decades of scientific study, formally-conducted research and empirical data, using a multi-disciplined approach by professional and academic leaders in their fields, informs and supports modern methodology. As a result, this industry has the benefit of scientifically rigorous, credible best practices that underpin it.
Therefore and by definition, personal beliefs that do harm and run counter to known best practices are considered negligent misconduct. It is every practitioner’s ethical and professional responsibility to stay current with industry developments and humane practices, especially when their context and effect are protective to sentient beings.
Position Statements from Notable Animal Welfare Organizations:
• Humane Canada
• British Columbia SPCA
• Review of Dog Training Methods: Welfare, Learning Ability, and Current Standards, prepared for BCSPCA
• Calgary Humane Society Animal Welfare Position Statements
• ASPCA’s Position Statement on Training Aids and Methods
• IAABC Position Statement on LIMA training
• Pet Professional Guild Position Statements
• Pet Professional Guild Position on Tools