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Training Tips


How to Find a Good Dog Trainer

Training Methods & Principles

Puppy Training

General Training

Behaviour: Common Challenges

Behaviour: Reactivity

Canine Body Language

Children & Dogs

On the Intellectual Capacity of Animals

Mental Stimulation Games


For the Science Nerd

Materials not produced by Cowichan Canine are used with permission.

How to Find a Good Dog Trainer

Alphabet Soup: What Does That Dog Training Certification Mean? (link to website)
- by (link to website)

AVSAB Behavior Professionals Statement & How to Choose a Trainer (PDF)
- 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.

BC SPCA AnimalKind Accreditation Programme (link to website)
- Dog training is an unregulated industry in Canada, which means anyone can call themselves a dog trainer regardless of their education and experience. How can you know who to trust with your dog?
Although a voluntary programme, the BC SPCA's AnimalKind Accreditation Programme is the nearest thing we have in North America to industry regulataion. You can consult the AnimalKind list of
dog trainers who have the BC SPCA’s stamp of approval. AnimalKind accredited trainers follow BC SPCA’s evidence-based standards and will help you foster a positive relationship between you and your dog.
Finding the right trainer is an important task and will impact you and your dog for years to come. Choose carefully!

IAABC: International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (link to website)
- a search engine for trainers and behaviour consultants that have been certificed or accredited through the IAABC. The goals of the IAABC are to standardize and support the practice of animal behavior consulting, to provide quality, evidence-based education and peer and supervising mentoring, and to provide resources for pet owners needing advice. IAABC certifications are the most rigorous in the field, and assess people working in multiple species, with private clients and in shelters.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners (link to website)
- 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.

You Have to Read Dog Trainers' Websites Closely, Study Says (link to website)
- an article in Psychology Today by Zazie Todd PhD about how you can spot a good trainer from what they say or don't say on their website.

Training Methods & Principles

20 Problems with Punishment in Animal Training (link to website)
- by Karolina Westlund PhD

AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals (PDF)
- by the
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) (link to website)

AVSAB Position Statement on Humane Dog Training (PDF)
- by the
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) (link to website)

Clicker Training, An Introduction to by Karen Pryor Academy (link to website)

Clicker Training, What Is by Lili Chin (PDF)

Consent Behaviors for Veterinary Procedures, The Importance of (PDF)
- an article by Dr Natalie Rogers, published in the IAABC Journal

Corrections (PDF)
- why we now know that using corrections is no longer a good idea.

Dr L David Mech: "'ALPHA' Wolf?" (link to video)
- Dr Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate as once published. More information by Dr Mech can be found on his website.

Fear Free (R) (link to website)
- an online education resource for both professionals and pet owners on how to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

Food - Its Use in Training (PDF)

Food, How to Use by Karen Pryor Academy (PDF)

If We Can Teach Wild Animals by Lili Chin (PDF)

If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too (link to website)
- this report, available on the University of Pennsylvania website, is a summary of a study that found that most aggressive animals trained with confrontational or aversive methods will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified.

Mind Your Manners: Why Dog Training Methods Matter (West Coast Veterinarian magazine) (PDF)
- on pages 28-33 of this June 2022 issue, you will find this article by Nicole Fenwick MSc and Karen Van Haaften DVM DACVB. The West Coast Veterinarian magazine is the quarterly
magazine of the CVMA-SBCV Chapter.

The Three Steps of Behaviour Modification (PDF)

Training Reliable Behaviours (PDF)

Unwanted Behaviours, Responding to (PDF)

Puppy Training

AVSAB Position Statement On Puppy Socialization  (PDF)
by the
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) (link to website)

House Training (PDF)

House Training Log (PDF)

Puppy Play Biting (PDF)

Puppy Training – A Matter Of Life & Death (PDF)
- For all puppy owners

Puppy Socialization by Lili Chin (PDF)

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

General Training

Crate Training (PDF)

Dog-Dog Meet & Greet (PDF)

Emergency Recall (PDF)

Emotional Cup by Lili Chin (PDF)

Eye Ointment Treatment, Teaching Your Dog to Cooperate with (link to video)

Giving Pills (PDF)

Gotcha! Game (PDF)

Grooming & Handling (PDF)

Nail Clipping (PDF)

New Adult Dog by Lili Chin (PDF)

Off-leash Hikes & Walks (PDF)

Play Way by Amy Cook and Lili Chin (PDF)

Playing With Your Dog by Lili Chin (PDF)

Premack Principle by Lili Chin (PDF)

Rewards Examples (PDF)

Teaching Three Dogs to Sit Quietly Before Going Out (link to video)

Trading (PDF)

Behaviour: Common Challenges

Behaviour Consultation, What is a? (link to Cowichan Canine webpage)

Chewing on Stuff (PDF)

Counter Surfing (PDF)

Criticism Trap (PDF)
- Excerpt from
"Behavioir Analysis for Effective Teaching" by Dr Julie Vargas, pp.49-50

Digging (PDF)

Door Reactions (PDF)

Excessive Attention-Seeking (PDF)

Fireworks (PDF)

Introducing Dogs to Cats (link to website)
- by (link to website)

Jumping on Furniture (PDF)

Jumping on People (PDF)

Modifying behavior in patients that fear touch (link to video)
- by dvm360 (link to website)

Poisoned Cue, Replacing a (link to video)
- by Eileen Anderson (link to YouTube channel)

Poop Eating (PDF)

Predatory Behaviour (PDF)

Puppy Play Biting (PDF)

Stealing Stuff (PDF)

Urination During Stress, Greetings or Excitement (PDF)

Urine Marking (PDF)

Behaviour: Reactivity

BAT Protocol: Help for Dog Aggression, Frustration, and Fear: Quick Intro to BAT 2.0 (link to video)
- by Grisha Stewart (link to website)

Classical Conditioning by Lili Chin (PDF)

Compulsive Behaviour (PDF)

Cool Down (PDF)

Counter-Conditioning (PDF)

Counter-Conditioning Daily Routines (PDF)
- by and Lili Chin

Counter-Conditioning: Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) Aggression When Blowing in Face (link to video)
- by Dr Sophia Yin DVM

Dogs Love Me: Protecting Your Dog From Well-Meaning Dog Lovers (link to video)
- by 4PawsUniversity (link to YouTube channel)

Management for Reactive Dogs (PDF)

Medication (PDF)

Muzzle training (PDF)

Muzzle Training Nuka (link to video by Cowichan Canine, showing how a dog willingly puts her nose into the muzzle without fuss)

Reactivity, What Is (PDF)

Safety Protocols (PDF)

The Three Steps of Behaviour Modification (PDF)

Your Choice Affects Your Dog's Choice - A Case of Barking at Other Dogs (PDF)
- by Miki Saito and Lili Chin

Canine Body Language

Body Language of Fear in Dogs (PDF)
- by
Dr Sophia Yin DVM MS (link to website)

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

Calming Signals – The Art of Survival (link to website)
- 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.

Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted? (link to video)
- a video by Eileen Anderson (link to website), a famous American dog trainer, showing what the very subtle calming signals look like.

Dog Body Language 101 (link to video)
- link to a video by FearFree(R)

Relaxed or Shut Down by Lili Chin (JPEG)
- by
Eileen Anderson (link to website), illustrated by Lili Chin.

Social Tolerance by Lili Chin (PDF)

Space Etiquette by Lili Chin (PDF)

Stress Escalation Ladder (PDF)
- by Turid Rugaas

Children & Dogs

Baby Safey (PDF)
- by Family Paws Parent Education
(link to website)

Be A Tree (link to website)
- The Be a TreeTM programme is an interactive presentation for children that teaches them how to read dogs' body language and be safer around dogs. The programm is administered by Doggone Safe
(link to website), 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. Please contact us to find out more, or to book a presentation:

Christmas (PDF)
- Safety tips for the holidays.

Grumble & Growl Zones (PDF)
- by Family Paws Parent Education

Halloween Safety (PDF)
- by Doggone Safe

Hide & Seek (PDF)
- A game to play with your dog. Note that children and dogs must always be supervised when they are in the same room or environment.

How NOT to Greet a Dog (PDF)
- by Dr Sophia Yin DVM MS

How to Kiss a Dog (link to video)
- by thefamilydog
(link to website)

Keys to Supervising Dogs and Kids (PDF)
- by Robin Bennett
(link to website)

Kids and Dogs (link to website)
- by Katharine Schwarz, RVT, KPA CTP

Milestones (PDF)
by Family Paws Parent Education
(link to website)

Success Stations (PDF)
by Family Paws Parent Education
(link to website)

Supervision, Five Types (PDF)
by Family Paws Parent Education
(link to website)

Teresa’s Bad Rules (PDF)
List of dos and don’ts to promote child safety around dogs and prevent dog bites by Doggone Safe
(link to website)

Toddler Safety (PDF)
by Family Paws Parent Education
(link to website)


On the Intellectual Capacity of Animals

Alex the Genius Parrot (link to video)

Kenneth Ramirez- Dog Counting Research Project Teaser (link to video)

Learning to speak: A dog communicates with buttons (link to video)


Mental Stimulation Games

Nina Ottosson Puzzle Games (link to video)

Proud Dog Mom: DIY Snuffle Mat Dog Toy (link to video)

Rumble Viral: Genius dog figures out bottle puzzle for treats (link to video)

Sarah Walsh: Brain Games for Dogs – DIY Puzzle Toys (link to video)

Dr Katherine Cronin:Scientists surprised to learn that cats are freeloaders (but dogs, humans and other species are not) (link to website)



Colorado Coyote Rollers  (link to video)

MIM Variocage (Sweden): The World’s Only Genuinely Crash-Tested Dog Crate (link to website)
- Swedish-made, distributed by 4x4 North America

Gunner Kennel (link to website)
- This crate may be a less expensive alternative to the Variocage, but we do not have any personal experience of these crates and have not been able to verify whether the claim of “crash-tested” is true.

Crash-test: Do dog harnesses keep your dog safe in a car crash? (link to video)
- by CBC Marketplace

Gentle Leader: Jean Donaldson gets conditioned emotional response while fitting (link to video)
- How to get your dog to accept the Gentle Leader head collar

Hello Friendly Dogs by Lili Chin (PDF)
with Folding Instructions (PDF)
- A handout that you can print and carry with you when you walk your elderly or reactive dog that does not appreciate other dogs in his face, to give to owners of over-enthusiastic dogs.


For the Science Nerd

Dr L David Mech: "'ALPHA' Wolf?" (link to video)
- Dr Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate as once published. More information by Dr Mech can be found on
his website.

Contra-freeloading: Something that every psychologist, neuroscientist, economist, and policymaker should know about (link to website)
- link to a blog post by Steve Luck of The Laboratory for Basic and Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Davis.

Criticism Trap (PDF)
- Excerpt from
"Behavior Analysis for Effective Teaching" by Dr Julie Vargas (link to Google Books) pp.49-50

Dopamine Jackpot! Sapolsky on the Science of Pleasure (link to video)
- a video by featuring Dr Robert Sapolsky on the effects of dopamine on behaviour.

Poisoned Cue, Replacing a (link to video)
- a video by
Eileen Anderson (link to website)

Premack Principle by Lili Chin (pdf)

The Office: Jim’s Pavlovian Prank on Dwight (link to video)

The Fun Theory – Speed Camera Lottery (link to video)

The Fun Theory I - Piano Staircase Initiative (link to video)

The Fun Theory II – The World’s Deepest Bin (link to video)




What's New?
What Clients Are Saying:

Dear Lisbeth, With lots of practice through your guidence and instructions, I am beyond excited and pleased to inform you that Tina has conquered her fear of brooms and mops! It took about a month, slow consistent practicing and desensitizing, and I am now at a stage where Tina literally follows me around, tail wagging and smiles, while I clean the floors! Another fear checked off the list! Thank you so very much for your continued support throughout our journey. With the private training we took with you, then Confidence Class, and now Agility with amazing Glenda- Tina has turned into this confident, joyful, and content little dog that just loves life. School is Tina's absolute favorite thing and I am so glad to have found Cowichan Canine. Thank you for everything, to both you and Glenda for all fun we get to learn and experience. Tina's quality of life she so very much deserves just keeps getting better and better!

Hanna Quinn and Tina the Toy Poodle
Crofton, BC

I enjoyed working with Bev and Laurie. The small classes and individual attention really make a big difference. There were a couple of moments in Foundations when you said "Click!" (and I did - yeah me...) at precisely the right moment for me to 'get it'. As a result, we went from Vita pulling like a fiend to polite walking in literally 2 classes. And getting the mechanics of Leave It/Take It down on my part (thank you again), helped me sort that one out in 3 or 4 sessions at home. We have, as you know, moved on to agility; Vita is having fun and is getting more confident and spirited with each class.

Colleen Hawkey

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Group Classes, Private or Semi-private in-home training Lessons and confidential
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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