Features June 2008 Issue

Positive Dog Training Styles

Keep your training style loose and positive for best results.

Training the family dog can be difficult and trying at times, but itís important to stay positive, have fun, and keep practicing, says Tacoma, Washington-based trainer Kathy Sdao, an associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) who has worked as a full-time animal trainer for the past 23 years. As a graduate student at the University of Hawaii in the 1980s, Sdao (pronounced suh-DAY-oh) was part of a team that trained dolphins to solve complex cognitive puzzles. After receiving a masterís degree in experimental psychology, she worked for the U.S. Navy to train dolphins for defense-related open-ocean tasks. Next, Sdao worked as a marine mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. There she expanded her training skills by working with beluga whales, walruses, porpoises, sea lions, polar bears, and otters. Years later, Sdao and another zookeeper left their jobs to create Tacomaís first dog daycare facility, Puget Hound Daycare. This is where Sdao began teaching group classes for pet owners.

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