What is a LIMA based Dog Trainer?
If you’re in the process of searching for a dog trainer, you’ve probably come across a plethora of training philosophies and methods. Among them, LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) is a term that often emerges. While it may sound responsible at first glance, it’s crucial to understand its implications fully. Here’s why you might want to rethink opting for a LIMA based dog trainer:
1. Ambiguity Leads to Inconsistent Training
The phrases ‘least intrusive’ and ‘minimally aversive’ are open to interpretation. A method that one trainer deems minimal could be seen as harsh by another. This inconsistency can lead to varied techniques, even if they all claim to be LIMA.
2. Aversive Techniques Can Still Be Present
LIMA doesn’t entirely eliminate the possibility of aversive methods. Although it aims to minimize them, it still allows their usage in certain situations. Such techniques can introduce fear, stress, and potential injury to your beloved pet. There are plenty of dog trainers who are proud to says they adhere to LIMA based principles, who are using shock collars, prong collars, choke chains and more.
3. Risk to the Human-Dog Relationship
Even minimal aversive techniques can damage the invaluable bond between you and your dog. Over time, your pet might start associating you with negative experiences, eroding the foundation of trust you’re building. You can learn more about building a relationship with your dog here.
4. Positive Reinforcement Alternatives Are Available
Modern animal behavioral science strongly advocates for purely positive reinforcement methods. These are not only effective, but also ensure your dog’s emotional and physical well-being remains a priority. The American Veterinary Society of Animal behavior released a position statement on dog training that you can read here.
When selecting a dog trainer, you’re choosing a partner to guide your pet’s behavior and well-being. It’s essential to ensure that this guidance is rooted in understanding, kindness, and the most up-to-date, humane techniques. Opt for trainers who prioritize your pet’s overall happiness and health over quick, potentially harmful fixes. If you aren’t sue, ask your potential trainer a few questions: what do you do if my dog gets it “wrong”? The answer should never be anything aversive, such as a leash correct, yelling, or some other loud noise. What do you do if my dog gets it right? The answer should be “we reinforce your dog with something they like, such as a yummy treat or a quick play session”. Do you use any sort of training collar? The answer should be “no, we like to use harnesses”. Do you ever use any form of positive punishment? The answer should always be no. Your dog deserves to feel safe during training and should always be treated with kindness. .