Dog Training Philosophy

If you can educate and modify a dog’s behavior with happiness, treats, and reinforcement. . . and it works. . . and is based on evidence-based practices. . . why use any other approach?


Behavior is Lawful

Behavior analysis is the natural science of behavior.  It is governed by scientific laws, just like chemistry, biology, and physics.  Decades and hundreds of replicated scientific studies support the behavior modification and training approaches we use at Canine Behavior Science.

No need for whispering or a special way with dogs.  There are scientific principles and techniques for training that anyone can learn, with practice and the right coaching.

Randi Rossman, the founder of Canine Behavior Science, is currently working towards her Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.

A Code of Ethics

The beauty of this science is that it points to not only the most effective approach to behavior problems and training needs but also a humane approach.

At Canine Behavior Science, we use a framework called the least invasive, minimally averse (LIMA).  This ethical approach is also used with behavior modification for humans.

Positive, Not Permissive

It’s a myth that trainers and behavior consultants that focus primarily on positive reinforcement training using food are permissive.  Quite the contrary, we understand how to get behaviors in a way that dogs enjoy doing the behaviors we want, and remove reinforcement for those behaviors we don’t want.

What we end up with are dogs that joyfully comply with our wishes, instead of a battle of wills.

Approaches Backed by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) are the behavior specialists of the animal world — similar to a psychiatrist in human terms.  AVSAB has developed position papers on several important topics.

Dominance Position Statement

One of the most pervasive, and also most damaging, myths of dog behavior is that their misbehavior is based on dominance.  This brings about often abusive and dangerous approaches to dog training in an effort to “reduce the rank” of the dog.

Punishment Position Statement

There is no need to hurt a dog physically to get them to behave.  And contrary to what some may try to tell you, choke, shock and prong collars, to be effective, must be aversive enough that the dog never ever wants to feel that again.  Additionally, punishment is difficult to perform correctly compared to positive reinforcement and has some serious, known potential adverse effects.

Puppy Socialization Position Statement

Puppies have a very small “socialization” window in which to learn that new things, people, and other dogs are great and not things to be afraid of.  Once that window is closed at 10 – 12 weeks old, then that puppy is more likely to grow into behavior problems.

Identify and Prevent Problem Behaviors Early

A very common call we get from clients goes something like:  “all of a sudden, my dog is aggressive.”

Typically, a dog will show early signs of problem behaviors like fear or aggression.  However, most people just aren’t educated to notice them.

We focus our classes and private sessions on not only teaching new behaviors but also a constant assessment of the dog’s behavior to identify problem behaviors that may indicate future problems.  Shyness could be an early indicator of a fearful dog.  Rudeness could be an early sign of aggression.  And so on.

Class size is a maximum of four and taught by a certified behavior consultant so that we can identify potential problem behaviors early on and teach you what is normal dog behavior vs. something you need to worry about.

Dog Training is People Training

We don’t forget that the class or private session is really about you — the human.  What you can live with, what your goals are, and what will fit your lifestyle.

The beauty of applied behavior analysis is that it is the foundation and best practice for quality education for people.   Our coaching style is best on the best, evidence-based learning so that you can learn, have fun and enjoy your relationship with your dogs.