When I work with animals, I combine knowledge from my past experiences working as a behavioural interventionist with my formal education in psychology, counselling, teaching and dog training.
I focus on building a loving bond and partnership between dog and human, built on trust and cooperation, prioritizing that the dog feels safe, calm and happy.
Communication (dialogue between you and your dog) and understanding the animal's perspective is my focus when working with dogs.
Several of the techniques and methods I use are
Relationship Based Training (RBT): focus on building a positive relationship between dog and human.
RBT's basic principles include:
ensuring that basic needs have been met before beginning a training session,
controlling the animal's environment to ensure success,
discovering what motivates the animal to assist with the development of proper behaviours,
interpreting the animal's body language to assist with the communication of commands,
using positive reinforcement to encourage the desired behavior,
replacing unwanted behaviours with desired behaviours.
Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT):
BAT's basic principles include:
controlling of the environment,
desensitizing by repeating certain scenarios,
I also borrow techniques from traditional psychology such as
Classical Conditioning (learning to associate things in the environment),
Operant Conditioning (behaviour motivated by consequences),
Reinforcement (I encourage verbal praise when it comes to reinforcement, but also use food, toys, clickers, and games).
While working as a behavioural interventionist with young children I used a teaching technique called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
ABA uses positive reinforcement to bring about meaningful and positive changes in behaviour. Meaningful change occurs when the learner (the animal) understands the connections between the behaviour and the consequence.
I am clear and consistent with my requests. I begin by giving requests that are easy for an animal to successfully complete and then systematically move forward towards a more desired behaviour, while ensuring the animal feels safe, calm and happy during the process.
I believe in always setting up an animal for success. This means that I keep environments calm and quiet, and without distractions. The dog sets the pace. Patience is important.
During training, I believe that it is essential to identify the animal's attributes and personality. Communication between the animal and human needs to be clear and consistent. This means that I observe and react appropriately to the animal's body language. By understanding the animal's expressions and noticing what motivates the animal, I form a connection and build a trusting relationship, which assists in training success.
I have found that the combination of these methods help the animal to not only successfully perform the requested command but builds lasting relationships between the trainer/owner and their animal.
" Caitlin’s training methods have really helped me calm and focus my very hyperactive dog Gypsy. My dog is a mixed breed dog, so she has what I would consider multiple personalities, and is quite challenging to get her to listen and focus on us when we need her to listen!
My main concern with Gypsy was she didn’t listen when there were distractions around her. Whether it’s out in public, or inside our home and people or dogs walk by outside, she can’t focus on us when we call out to her or when we need her to come over to us to get away from the distraction, because she’s so excited, that she doesn’t tend to listen.
Caitlin gave me a detailed outline of some unique methods and suggestions to help Gypsy calm her energy, and keep her active and entertained. Some of the tips I have tried on Gypsy to help calm her energy, and stimulate her mind have truly helped transformed Gypsy’s behaviour from once not listening to us around distractions, to completely focusing on us when we need her to. Gypsy’s behaviour has changed so much since implementing her strategies over a month ago, and I cannot thank Caitlin enough for her help, her time, and her methods! You only get what out of it what you choose to put in, so if you are wanting to try training that is different and unique, I would absolutely recommend Caitlin to anyone who truly cares about your animal’s wellbeing." ~ Alee S.