PHOENIX DOG TRAINING ®
Dog Training Methods
In-Home and Private Training, Online Virtual Dog Behavior Consultations, Live Coaching, and Training
WINNER OF THE “BEST DOG BEHAVIOR TRAINING IN PHOENIX AWARD”
10 CONSECUTIVE YEARS IN A ROW
2014 – 2015 – 2016 – 2017 – 2018 – 2019 – 2020 – 2021 – 2022 – 2023
LIMA POSITION STATEMENT AS ADOPTED by:
- (APDT) Association of Professional Dog Trainers
- (IAABC) International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
Often times we get the question, “What kind of training do you do?” “Do you use prong collars, shock collars, aversives, treats, or positive reinforcement?” “Are you anti-correction against alpha rolls?”
- First, we are science-based, evidenced-based dog trainers. While there are many tools, techniques, and training philosophies in dog training, this does not mean that all philosophies, techniques, and tools are based on science. In fact, most of what constitutes dog training today is based on myth, tradition, and a lack of knowledge of the most recent science and research on what is most effective in helping the dog learn and modify behavior.
- Secondly, we are not beholden to any particular method or tool. We are not “this kind of trainer” or “that kind of trainer,” We are Nationally Certified Professional Trainers with a huge “toolbox” of methods, tools, and techniques.
- We believe that no animal needs to experience fear, pain, or intimidation to learn and modify behavior. In fact, it is our position that any training involving identifiable fear, pain, or intimidation, typically worsens the problem behavior. While harsh methods may temporarily suppress behavior, it does nothing to modify the dog’s emotional state. The emotional state needs to be modified, and then the behavior changes. Training with aversives oftentimes increases aggression and increases anxiety, and fear.
If the trainer you are considering hiring uses any tools or methods that cause fear, pain, or intimidation, we recommend you find a trainer that follows the LIMA principles.
What Is LIMA?
Any dog or animal trainer that is a true educated professional follow the principles of “LIMA.” LIMA is THE INDUSTRY STANDARD AMONG CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINERS and BEHAVIOR CONSULTANTS and is an acronym for the phrase “least intrusive, minimally aversive”. LIMA describes a trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective with minimal risk of producing aversive side effects. LIMA adherence also requires consultants to be adequately educated and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is used.
LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. In most cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal’s environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of alternative behavior, desensitization, and counter-conditioning.
LIMA Is The Industry Standard among Certified Professionals and is Competence-Based
LIMA requires trainers/consultants to work to increase the use of positive reinforcement and eliminate the use of punishment when working with animal and human clients. In order to ensure best practices, consultants should pursue and maintain competence in animal behavior consulting and training through continuing education and hands-on experience. Trainers/consultants should not advise on problems outside the recognized boundaries of their competencies and experience.
Positive Reinforcement and Understanding the Learner
Positive reinforcement should be the first line of teaching, training, and behavior change program considered and should be applied consistently. Positive reinforcement is associated with learners’ lowest incidence of aggression, attention-seeking, avoidance, and fear.
Only the learner determines what may be reinforcing. It is crucial that the trainer/consultant understands and has the ability to apply this principle appropriately. This fact may mean that the trainer/consultant assesses any handling, petting, food, tool, and environment each time the learner experiences them. Personal bias must not determine the learner’s experience. The measure of each stimulus is whether the learner’s target behavior is strengthening or weakening, not the trainer/consultant’s intent or preference.
Systematic Problem Solving and Strategies
The trainer/consultant is responsible for ensuring learner success through a consistent, systematic approach that identifies a specific target behavior, the purpose of that behavior, and the consequences that maintain the behavior.
A variety of learning and behavior change strategies may come into play during a case. Ethical use of this variety always depends on the trainer/consultant’s ability to adequately problem solve and to understand the impact of each action on the learner, as well as sensitivity toward the learner’s experience.
We seek to prevent the abuses and potential repercussions of inappropriate, poorly applied, and inhumane uses of punishment and of overly-restrictive management and confinement strategies. The potential effects of punishment can include aggression or counter-aggression; suppressed behavior (preventing the trainer/consultant from adequately reading the animal); increased anxiety and fear; physical harm; a negative association with the owner or handler; increased unwanted behavior; and new, unwanted behaviors.
Choice and Control for the Learner
LIMA guidelines require that trainers/consultants always offer the learner as much control and choice as possible. Trainers/Consultants must treat each individual of any species with respect and awareness of the learner’s individual nature, preferences, abilities, and needs. 6
What Do You Want the Animal to do?
We focus on reinforcing desired behaviors and always ask the question, “What do you want the animal to do?” Relying on punishment in training does not answer this question and therefore offers no acceptable behavior for the animal to learn to replace the unwanted behavior. These LIMA guidelines do not justify using aversive methods and tools, including, but are not limited to, using electronic, choke or prong collars in lieu of other effective positive reinforcement interventions and strategies.
When making training and behavior modification decisions, trainers/consultants should understand and follow the Humane Hierarchy of Behavior Change – Procedures for Humane and Effective Practices, seven outlined in the diagram.
For these reasons, we strongly support the humane and thoughtful application of LIMA protocols and applaud those individuals and organizations working with animals and humans within LIMA guidelines.
The Humane Hierarchy guides professionals in their decision-making process during training and behavior modification. Additionally, it assists owners, and animal care professionals in understanding the standard of care to be applied in determining training practices and methodologies and the order of implementation for applying those practices and methodologies.
Hierarchy of Procedures for Humane and Effective Practice
|1.||Health, nutritional, and physical factors: Ensure that a licensed veterinarian addresses any indicators for possible medical, nutritional, or health factors. The consultant should also address potential factors in the physical environment.|
|2.||Antecedents: Redesign setting events, change motivations, and add or remove discriminative stimuli (cues) for the problem behavior.|
|3.||Positive Reinforcement: Employ approaches that contingently deliver a consequence to increase the probability that the desired behavior will occur.|
|4.||Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior: Reinforce an acceptable replacement behavior and remove the maintaining reinforcer for the problem behavior.|
|5.||Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Extinction (these are not listed in any order of preference):|
|6.||Positive Punishment: Contingently deliver an aversive consequence to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.|
|a)||Negative Punishment – Contingently withdraw a positive reinforcer to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.|
|b)||Negative Reinforcement – Contingently withdraw an aversive antecedent stimulus to increase the probability that the right behavior will occur.|
|c)||Extinction – Permanently remove the maintaining reinforcer to suppress the behavior or reduce it to baseline levels.|
Intrusiveness is the degree to which a procedure affects the learner’s control. With a less intrusive procedure, a learner retains more control. LIMA aims for its trainers/consultants to determine and use the least intrusive and effective intervention to effectively address the target behavior. In the course of an experienced trainer/consultant’s practice, he or she may identify a situation in which a relatively more intrusive procedure is necessary for an effective outcome. In such a case, a procedure that reduces the learner’s control may be the least intrusive, effective choice.
Additionally, wellness is at the top of the hierarchy to ensure that a trainer/consultant does not implement a learning solution for behavior problems due to pain or illness. The hierarchy is a cautionary tool to reduce both dogmatic rule-following and practice by familiarity or convenience. It offers an ethical checkpoint for consultants to carefully consider the process by which effective outcomes can be most humanely achieved on a case-by-case basis. The hierarchy is intended to be approached in order for each case. Rationale like, “It worked with the last case!” is inappropriate. Every animal’s evaluation and behavior change program should be a study of the individual (i.e., individual animal, setting, caregiver, etc.). Changing behavior is best understood as a study of one.
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I Specialize in Anxiety, Fears, Phobias, and Aggression. However, I Work with ALL BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
This Page was last Updated on March 17th, 2023