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Training Tips


Puppy Training – A Matter Of Life & Death
- For all puppy owners by Lisbeth Plant KPACTP. (PDF)

AVSAB Position Statement On Puppy Socialization
– Link to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s (AVSAB) position statement on the importance of puppy socialization.

Puppy Socialization Checklist
- A checklist to help you make the most of your puppy’s socialization programme. (PDF)


Children & Dogs

Be A Tree
The Be a TreeTM programme is a un and interactive presentation for children that teaches them how to read dog body language and be safe around dogs. The programm is administered by Doggone Safe, a non-profit organization dedicate to dog bite prevention through education, and dog bite victim support. The programme is available through Cowichan Canine free of charge to schools and community groups.

Teresa’s Bad Rules
Link to the doggonesafe website’s list of dos and don’ts to promote child safety around dogs and prevent dog bites.

General Training

What Is Clicker Training?
- Introduction to clicker training.

Getting Started With the Clicker
– 15 tips from Karen Pryor.

Behavior Blueprints by Dr Ian Dunbar- on issues such as housetraining, destructive chewing, excessive barking, digging, pulling on leash, and also cat manners.

Understanding Training Methods
- by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at

Teaching Three Dogs to Sit Quietly Before Going Out
- a "how to"-video from Cowichan Canine on Youtube (VIDEO)

Behaviour Issues

What is a Behaviour Consultation?
- by our Certified Behaviour Consultant, Lisbeth Plant


Learning Science & Ethology

Dr Sophia Yin DVM MS
- link to Dr Sophia Yin’s website. Dr Yin is a veterinary behavior consultant and a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. Her website is full of resources.

Calming Signals – The Art of Survival
- link to an article by Turid Rugaas on the Norwegian Canis website, about how dogs use their unspoken language to signal emotions and intentions. We humans need to learn to understand this Dog Language so that we can have a good life together.

Calming Signals – A Gallery- link to a collection of photos showing various use of calming signals, published on the Norwegian Canis website.

Myths & Facts about
Dominance, Punishment, and Aggression

AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals- by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Leadership Versus Dominance
- A short article by Nicole Wilde CPDT, who specializes in behavior issues. She is an internationally recognized author and lecturer. (PDF)

The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals- American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on the use of punishment in training and the reasons why it should not be used as a first-line or early-use treatment for behavior problems because of its potential adverse effects. Source: (PDF)

10 Life-Threatening Behavior Myths in Dogs- by Valarie V Tynes DVM DACVB. Dr Tynes discusses ten common myths and reveals the truth behind these and other common misconceptions when it comes to dogs' behavior.

Why Punishment Fails; What Works Better- by Valarie V Tynes DVM DACVB. Punishment often fails to solve behaviour problems, can cause behaviour problems and should not be the first training method of choice. Positive reinforcement training, in which animals are rewarded for appropriate behaviors, is safer and more effective.

Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals- American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Position Statement on the definition of dominance and why its application to human-animal interactions can pose problems. Source: (PDF)

If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too- This report, on the University of Pennsylvania website, is a summary of a veterinary study into aggressiveness generated by confrontational or aversive methods.

Have You Heard? Aggression Begets Aggression- Source: Herron ME, Shofer FS, Reisner IR. Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and non-confrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesirable behaviors. Appl Anim Behav Sci 2009;117:47-54. (AUDIO)

Can I Train My Dog Just Like They Do On TV?
- from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) at (PDF)

Whatever Happened to the Term ALPHA Wolf?- by Dr L David Mech, an internationally recognized wolf expert and senior research scientist for the US Geological Survey, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and vice chair of the International Wolf Center. Dr Mech has studied wolves for 50 years and published several books and many articles about them. Dr Mech was the wildlife research biologist who originally coined the term “Alpha Wolf”, a term which he is now clarifying and correcting in this article. 

Dr L David Mech on ALPHA Wolves
Dr Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate.

How to Find a Dog Trainer

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners
- a search engine for trainers that have been certified through the Karen Pryor Academy programme. KPA-certified trainers have completed an extensive educational program, and scored the highest marks on detailed assessments of their technical knowledge and hands-on skill teaching pet owners and training dogs. They have pledged to teach and train using force-free principles and techniques.

APDT Trainer Search
- a search engine on trainers that are members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

AVSAB Behavior Professionals Statement & How to Choose a Trainer- A position statement published by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) on their website,, which reviews the different types of individuals who can work with behavior issues and what the various qualifications mean, as well as a statement reviewing some methods a pet owner can use to help locate a quality trainer for their dog. (PDF)

What's New?
What Clients Are Saying:

Dear Lisbeth, Those of us who are devoted dog owners are fortunate to have this gem of a facility here in the Cowichan Valley. These qualified, experienced, good humored and kind-hearted ladies have been so helpful to this “experienced” lifelong dog family with hell puppy Radar. New insights and practices prove you can teach these old dogs’ new tricks. And a program so reasonably priced too. It’s not that often these days you get such value for your dollar. Really. These last couple of months have been fun watching our little land shark morph into a loving and disciplined member of our family. We have so much respect for Karen, who worked with us in our Foundation training, with her amazing lengthy qualifications and down to earth sense of humor. She’s such a fantastic teacher! Our little grad Radar will now enter into her graduate studies - Scent Detection. Such Fun! Thank You

John, Joanna, Rosie and Radar Blaszczyk
Duncan, BC

Hi Lizbeth, Stephanie and Glenda: Thought you would like to know, we took Dalli to the Duncan market on Saturday morning. She was a perfect lady, walked around with her tail wagging and held high all the time. She was friendly and outgoing to other people, and sniffed other people’s hands and let them pet her when we stopped to talk or purchase things from the different stalls. We then walked over to the Garage for coffee, sat outside and again, she was well behaved, let people pet her and she was actually licking their hands. This was her first outing in a busy people environment as we usually just leave her in the car or at home when we go out shopping. What a difference from a year ago when you first met her. Thank you, thank you! We’ll see you in the fall when we come for the agility courses. (Dalli was adopted a year ago from Mexico, and was fear-aggressive to people coming to the house.)

Greg & Terri Askham

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Behaviour Consultations in the Cowichan Valley area, on southern Vancouver Island, servicing Chemainus, Cobble Hill, Cowichan, Cowichan Bay, Crofton, Duncan, Glenora, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, Malahat, Maple Bay, Mill Bay, Saltair, Saltspring Island, Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island and Youbou.
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