My name is April Lott and I am a proud member of the PPG (Pet Professional Guild), and the APDT (Association for Pet Dog Trainers) . I am a graduate of the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer's program and regularly attend seminars, webinars, workshops and conferences to keep myself up to date with the newest methods and techniques. I sat for years on the board of the Alberta Force Free Alliance as well as two Alberta rescues.
Like many trainers, I started off rescuing dogs. It didn’t take me long to realize that not all problems can be solved with enough love and time. Some dogs just need more help and I didn’t have those tools. My foster dog Soozie was a prime example of a dog that I had a very hard time with. She was reactive, unresponsive to people, and in her short 2 years had been given up on by 5 different homes. While eventually with love, patience and time, she started to trust me, she remained afraid of other dogs. Luckily I fell into a very good group of local trainers who helped guide my path towards force free training and becoming a force free trainer. Soozie happily accepted fosters into the home for many, many years after some work and occasionally found one she loved to play with. I have a special affinity for reactive dogs. I see the frightened dogs behind the aggressive displays and am armed with the knowledge to help and bolstered by the success of my clients and their dogs. I am the proud mom to many dogs and am often surprised at the resiliency of these beings.
Using only the most up to date, force free methods, we can modify behavior and teach dogs without pain, fear, or intimidation. I believe in training with my mind instead of by force. Positive reinforcement training has been proven to be faster, retained better by the dog and builds a wonderful bond between dogs and their people. Training methods that employ force or coercion are no longer necessary and are no longer used by modern, qualified trainers.
Positive punishment has been shown to have a broad range of “fall out behaviors” or behaviors that are unintentionally reinforced even by the most experienced trainers. Aggression is a very common fall out behavior that stems from frustration, pain, and fear. Physical punishment will always end in a breakdown of the relationship, and that is something to avoid at all costs.
Training should be fun. It should enhance the bond and build cooperation and compliance.