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October 23, 2008

Pet Training Tips and Resources

SheddimagekenwithnicoThanks to those of you who have visited our show, Pet Training the Shedd Way! Below is information about positive-reinforcement training and additional resources. And don’t forget to check back here for regular pet-training tips.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER WHEN TRAINING
1. Positive
– Use positive reinforcement. It is the most humane way to train, and it helps develop an even stronger relationship with your pet.

2. Consistent
– Whatever rules you choose to use, make sure everyone in the house that interacts with your pet follows the same rules. Consistency will keep your pet from getting confused and will set him or her up for success.

3. Fun
– Make every interaction with your pet fun! Training should be a game that you and your pet look forward to.


WHERE CAN I GET GOOD PET TRAINING SUPPLIES?

Most pet stores carry many of the things you need. A few places that specialize in positive reinforcement and appropriate supplies are:

1. Shedd Aquarium’s store
– Stop by our own gift store or visit us on line.

2. Clickertraining.com
  - This Web site focuses entirely on positive reinforcement and is an excellent resource for books, videos and pet-training supplies.

3.
My Training Store – This is another valuable Web site for animal-care supplies with a focus on positive reinforcement.


WHAT TRAINING BOOKS DOES SHEDD RECOMMEND?

While many books about training are available, we recommend those that focus on positive-reinforcement training. Many can be found on the Web sites listed above. Our top choices are:

Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. For trainers at every level, this groundbreaking book clearly explains how and why positive reinforcement is so powerful with pets and people.

Clicking with Your Dog, by Peggy Tillman. The illustrated step-by-step book gives the reader an easy way to start training.

Getting Started Clicker Training with Dogs, by Karen Pryor. A great guide for the beginner. 

Animal Training: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement, by Ken Ramirez. This is Shedd Aquarium’s training manual and a thorough guide for the serious trainer.


HOW DO I FIND A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL TRAINER?

There are many schools of thought about and approaches to animal training, each with good trainers. If your pet has serious behavioral problems, we encourage you to seek a professional. Interview several trainers before you select one to work with, and make sure his or her philosophy and approach to working with your dog matches what you are looking for. At Shedd, we believe positive reinforcement is the best approach to training all animals. We cannot endorse individual trainers, but we trust and respect the Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) certification. This is a new certification that focuses entirely on positive reinforcement with great success. Many great trainers may not have this certification, so interview and find the trainer who is right for you. Below is a list of KPCT-certified trainers in the Midwest. If you do not live in the Midwest, visit www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer.


OTHER INFORMATION & PROGRAMS

If you are thinking about getting a pet, make sure you are ready for the responsibility. Consider the time, commitment and training that is key to making a better life for you and your pet. If you are ready for a pet, please seriously consider adopting one from a shelter in your area. All of Shedd’s dogs were rescued from Chicago-area shelters. Visit www.petfinder.org.
 
Sit, Stay, Read helps inner-city kids in Chicago learn to read. This unique program uses dogs to tackle the serious issue of literacy in a fun way. To find out more about this program, visit www.sitstayread.org.


-Posted by Ken Ramirez, animal collections and training

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