The Seductiveness of Shock

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Though you may refuse to use shock as a dog-training tool, some of your potential clients have used it (especially in the United States). Some clients will want to continue using it, in lieu of your suggestions of positive-reinforcement alternatives, or, possibly, in addition to them. Each dog-care professional must decide how to respond to this dilemma. In deciding, it’s helpful to understand the unique power shock has to damage the psychological well-being of animals in our care as well as the power to deceive its users regarding its efficacy. We’ll examine a few of the complexities of this emotional and crucial issue.

Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She has spent more than 30 years as a fulltime animal trainer, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. Kathy received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Hawaii. The United States Navy then hired her to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Kathy next worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Later, Kathy co-created Tacoma’s first dog-daycare facility, where she began teaching clicker-training classes.

Since 1998, Kathy has owned Bright Spot Dog Training. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching private lessons, and mentoring professional trainers. Kathy is proud to be an original faculty member at Karen Pryor Clicker Training’s ClickerExpo conferences.

Kathy has traveled extensively across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and to Australia, Israel, Japan, and Mexico, educating students about the science of animal training. Her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace was published in 2012.