September 20, 2016
A trending topic of conversation among dog trainers this week is the use of tools in training. A new product was released to the market selling dogs owners the ability to monitor their dog’s activity level and reduce or eliminate unwanted behavior through a remote training collar. Manufactured by Garmin, Delta Smart uses tone, vibration or electronic stimulation through a smartphone app.
Features allowing dog owners to track their pet’s activity and behavioral habits during the day could be advantageous for a variety of reasons. However, the inclusion of aversive training technique within this system is very concerning. Bradley Phifer, President of the CCPDT, commented that “the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers requires CCPDT-certified trainers to strictly adhere to the Humane Hierarchy. Giving the general public access to such devices, without the guidance of an experienced trainer, has the potential to lead to severe consequences for the mental health of the animals on whom they are used.”
The CCPDT recognizes that technology, such as the AutoTrainer (developed by Dr. Dunbar) or the Pet Tutor by Smart Animal Training, has the potential to play a valuable role in dog training and behavior modification. The Delta Smart correction-based platform, which uses painful stimuli to achieve aversion, has the potential to increase fear and anxiety in pets, while possibly leading to new or worsening behavior problems. The CCPDT has always maintained the importance of protecting the public in our core mission. Integrating aversive training techniques into a platform that is advertised to be a wellness pet product to the general public is unacceptable. The CCPDT wishes the Garmin company had focused its resources on allowing pet owners to reduce unwanted behaviors by using the Delta Smart training system to reward desired responses, instead.
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), established in 2001, is the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession. The CCPDT is the leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices. Thousands of dog training professionals worldwide maintain the CCPDT’s certifications as a mark of high professional distinction.