About Me

My name is Lorraine Brown and I am a professional canine behaviour practitioner.  My handle is:  Lorraine Brown, ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac., Canine Behaviour Practitioner, and I hold a Diploma in Canine Behaviour and Psychology from The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour.  The ISCP is listed as one of the top ten trainer courses, up there with Karen Pryor, Sarah Whitehead, COAPE, Susan G. Friedman, The University of Lincoln's MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour program, and more.

I am not a "Behaviourist".  That title is held strictly for people holding a university degree, or have been recognised on that level.  A Veterinary Behaviourist is someone holding a veterinary degree as well as another degree in something like Applied Animal Behaviour.  If you see someone advertising themselves as a "Behaviourist", without holding a university degree, they are a fraud and will likely give terrible advice, usually along the lines of the famous Cesar Millan, who claims to be a 'self-taught Behaviourist'.  No such qualification exists.

I am continuing my education and experience through The International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour currently enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour (considered a level of education equal to a Degree).  I am also wrapping up my accreditation through Ethology Institute Cambridge, Certified Professional Dog Trainer program, and completed an 18 month apprenticeship program through dogma behavior and education centre in Calgary, AB, Canada in 2015.  (See my Qualifications & Advancements page for a complete outline of my education and experience.)

The next thing I want to mention is that I don't believe in using force, pain, physical or emotional punishment in the name of "training". 

This is important because if you don't see a statement something like this on a trainers' website or in their marketing material, they may very well be using, or will resort to using, forceful and/or punishing techniques and/or tools.  Choke chains, slip leads, prong collars, shock collars - are off the list for me.

I've heard hundreds of reasons why these tactics and tools would/could/should be used, and some "professional" organizations staunchly support their use.  But after spending years working with dogs, and studying how dogs function - inside and out - I've learned, first hand, that aversive tools and punishment simply create uncertainty, anxiety, and fear in an animal.  When these techniques and tools are used, the dog responds only to avoid having the 'bad thing' happening to them again.

I understand why people use forceful techniques, I've used them myself.  I was born in the mid 50's - and that's what we were taught to do.

Force is everywhere, from our highest political people right down the ladder to the lowest born creatures.  It's been that way for centuries, so it's no wonder these ideas are so firmly established in our societies.

Roger Abrantes (Ethology Institute Cambridge) says this.

"The history of animal training reflects our irrational tendency to knee-jerking reactions.  Earlier, animal training was not much more than a sad demonstration of power, brute force, tyranny and ignorance - and no hint of empathy at all.

While some have gone to the other extreme working with dogs (and children, for that matter), my firm belief is to respect all species.

I'm also a realist, and I will never say mean things to you about how a dog has been treated or raised.  I've likely been there, done that, sometime in my life.  I was raised in a time when using force, choke chains, and punishment was the norm.

Although I'm passionate about not using force, pain, or physical/psychological punishment, and I do consider myself an activist in this area, I'm not an over the top fanatic like so many believe us "cookie trainers" to be, and believe it or not, I'm not perfect either.  I've certainly made my share of mistakes, and probably will make more in my journey.  We are always learning!

See this article:  Dog training is a divided profession, by Jean Donaldson (born in Canada by the way).  http://www.urbandawgs.com/divided_profession.html

Animals have been part of my life - all of my life.  My father's family were good ol' boy Alberta ranchers and I spent a lot of time on the ranch when I was a child. Animals were commodities and had a purpose.  Dogs were either well behaved or they weren't kept around, period.  My first husbands family raised animals for food, and I've been involved in butchering animals, watching dad chop off chickens heads, plucking and preparing the game birds he brought home, to helping him skin an antelope in our garage.  I participated in a hog round up and butcher with my first husbands family and helped prepare deer and moose in our back yard and kitchen that he brought home from hunting.  I've been part of lots of yucky stuff!

I've also had my share of painful emotional experiences, and that's why I can relate so much to animal suffering and how modern dog training, encompassing so many areas of study and processes, are so helpful.  Studying and working in this field for the past several years has helped me immensely with my own emotional issues.

I've had lots and lots of animals come and go throughout my life.  I've seen really, really sad and bad things and I've seen wonderful things.  I've had to have my beloved pets put down, sometimes because of old age, but many had their lives taken far to young.  It was heartbreaking every single time, yet somehow another made its way into my life - over and over and over again.

Right now we have two dogs and one Siamese cat sharing our home.  Each have very different personalities and challenges, but I love them all and wouldn't change a thing!  OK, well I might want to change a few things, but - I know how to achieve that now with kindness and respect.

I've been studying from professionals and working with dogs and behaviour from a fear free perspective since early 2014 - and it has been my passion!

Many people I meet, along with family, friends, and acquaintances, do not necessarily believe in what I do.  I'm OK with that because if the message I send out helps to prevent even one dog from unnecessary punishment or feeling of fear, I consider that a success!

Currently I'm working on completing my Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) program through the Ethology Institute Cambridge under Dr. Roger Abrantes, Ph. D, and recently completed a diploma program through the International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour under Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, Certified Behaviourist, so the information I offer you as a behaviour consultant comes from more than reliable and qualified sources.

I'm on the 'mature' side of life, and when I first started learning how to train dogs, years ago, the information out there was all about using "corrections" to be sure to let the dog know he wasn't doing what I wanted him to do - choke chains, leash pops, roll the dog over to show him who's boss, pin him down, stare him down until he submits.  Those ideas and tactics are still very much out there in the world of "training".  I get it.  I understand why people still use these techniques, but these ideas and practices are out of date, by well over 50 years, and are unfair to the animal.  How would you like it if you were corrected and punished for doing things that were perfectly normal to you?  You'd soon lose confidence in yourself and become a jittery mess.  These ideas have been proven to be harmful, over, and over, and over again, yet these ideas, concepts, and theories seem to be imbeded in our society with concrete and super glue!

There have been distinct shifts in how animals are trained, and I follow models set out by professional animal trainers and behaviourists.  It's pretty darn hard to get a Killer Whale, Elephant, or a Crocodile to do something by pushing, pulling, yanking on it, or hollering at it.  There are better ways.  Easier ways.

I heard a statement once (from someone fairly high up in the dog showing world) that their dog was smart enough to figure it out (on using a shock bark collar).  No, the dog is not "smart enough to figure it out".  The only thing a dog understands is that something painful happens.  It does not correlate its barking (a perfectly normal and natural thing for a dog to do) to receiving a painful shock.  Recently I saw a dog who had a shock collar put on him to try to stop his barking.  What I saw was a totally rigid statue.   He was afraid to make - any kind of movement - in case he would be hurt again.  He, very clearly, did not understand that his bark was the thing causing the painful "correction" of the shock collar, and I've seen this exact behaviour many, many times!

My own passage to the professional dog training world started because I used a shock collar invisible fence with my dog, Raines, and after seeing what happened to him (a dog who started life sweet, friendly, and innocent) from using that device, no, I'm not willing to debate the good and bad of using shock collars.  I've spent years of researching and working with him to over come the issues that developed!  Many people will not take the time, nor put in the work to help a dog like this, and off to the local rescue, or closest veterinary office he goes.

This is an excellent article about the use of shock collars.

Another quote from Roger Abrantes says it well.  "We must respect the animal we train as a member of a particular species, and individual on its own with its discrete characteristics, and a fellow living being."

Ethology is the study of animal behaviour in their natural habitat, without any intent to change it.  It is about observing and trying to come up with models to understand why they do, what they do, when they do it.

Behaviour people work with animals in a controlled environment with the end goal of how they can orchestrate change in behaviour.

Although there are very specific ways to help an animal change its behaviour (taken from a hundred years of research and experience), each animal is unique, and it's a matter of fitting all the puzzle pieces together to help an animal learn what we want from them and to help them change the way they view their world.  Unfortunately, we can't let them lie down on a sofa to tell us all about their ill's.  We can certainly still provide the sofa though.

I prefer calling the basics, 'teaching manners'.  Specific things like Sit, Down, and Stay are really teaching a form of trick.  The methodologies used to teach a dog to Sit are the same as teaching a dog to jump through a hoop.

It's about doing a 180 degree flip in attitude and thinking about the way we work with, and teach, animals.  For me, it's a movement similar to the anti-war movement, and I'm passionate about spreading the word!  I do not believe in using pain and punishment or "commands".  I'm not the "Master".  This mindset is pure human ego and reminds me of Hitler!  That is not the jurisdiction I want in my life!

Modern training, methods proven by science and practical experience for decades, focus on what we like, not what we don't like.  When we focus on what we don't like, we'll never run out of things to correct.  When a dog learns what we like, and we reward them for doing those things, they will start doing those things more often, and the things we don't like will fade away.  I'm not saying it's easy, it can be time consuming and frustrating, but the end result is well worth the effort in the long run.

My education and experience comes from professionals in the field, most having spent their lives and considerable amounts of their own time and money, learning about animals. They share their knowledge freely, and there are thousands of excellent resources to get good information to help us teach our dogs what we would like from them.  I take pride in sharing this knowledge, and I am proud to offer help for your dog troubles without creating fear or using punishment or dominance to change the way they behave.

I've had animals as an integral part of my life for over 50 years, and I've been almost obsessively studying and working with dogs for the better part of five years now.  Had what I've studied been provided through a university, I'd be through a Bachelor's degree by now. Unfortunately, what we study isn't readily available through regulated education providers, and I certainly didn't know of such places when I started.  But there are university level programs available.  Here is a link for some information on how to become an animal behaviourist.

My values for canine care, training and changing behaviour are in line with the Pet Professional Guild and Alberta Force Free Alliance - working with animals without the use of pain, force, or fear!

My education is outlined in the Qualifications and Advancements page in this website, and I've displayed my certificates on the Home page.

Be kind and respect your dog, and your dog will be kind and respect you too!

Our little family:  Raines - the boy for all this dog training stuff started for me, Lester - who is a foster fail rescued from being placed in a retail pet store at 6 weeks old (the famous Ty Marshalls empire), and Spook - originally a terrified stray from the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.