Professional Dog Trainers Receive Dog Reactivity Training Certification
December 2012 Downeast Dog News
Professional Dog Trainers Nancy Freedman-Smith and Lisa Walker Receive Dog Reactivity Training Certification
One of the most common dog training issues is over reactivity, often leading to stressed-out humans who euthanize or re-home those dogs because they don’t know how to find help. Now owners of aggressive or fearful dogs in Mid-Coast and Southern Maine can be assured of a trusted dog training coach.
Lisa Walker of Freeport, and Nancy Freedman-Smith of Portland, are among the first twenty dog trainers to meet the strict requirements to become a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructors (CBATI). Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) is a low-stress, non-aversive technique for working with problem dog behaviors such as aggression, fear or frustration.
BAT was developed by Grisha Stewart, MA, CPDT-KA, KPACTP, as an efficient rehabilitation technique to help her own fearful dog, Peanut. Stewart recently created the CBATI designation after BAT gained rapid international popularity, prompting repeated requests for referrals for dog trainers and behaviorists to expertly apply BAT to help families with dogs that cower, bark, lunge, growl or bite.
“As requests poured in for recommendations for trainers with BAT experience, I realized the importance of developing a certification process,” says Stewart. “The CBATI gives dog owners the confidence that they are working with a trusted dog training professional—a person who understands how to teach others how to use BAT, works well with clients, and has significant experience working with reactive dogs.”
The certification process requires a four-hour BAT video case study, a written exam with essay questions, a commitment to the principles of progressive reinforcement training, and a minimum of 200 hours of experience training dogs using force-free training techniques.
A dog-friendly method for rehabilitating and preventing reactivity in dogs, BAT works by helping dogs learn socially acceptable ways to deal with the things that scare or upset them. Instead of barking, lunging, or snarling, dogs learn to use “cut-off” signals like head turns and ground sniffs to communicate to their handlers that they are uncomfortable.
BAT is not just a way to prevent or rehabilitate problems; it also teaches two-way communication, which builds a more powerful relationship between people and their dogs. As professional trainers, Lisa and Nancy love the way BAT empowers their clients and their dogs, and makes situations that have been stressful for both, much more positive. Since they have had great success integrating the BAT methods with their clients as well as with their own rescued, reactive dogs, they jumped at the chance to improve their skills and become certified.
Lisa and Nancy welcome your questions and can be reached at: