The American Humane Association has created a new Animal Training and Behavior Committee, enlisting the help of representatives of major national organizations and key opinion leaders in the field of animal behavior and training. The committee hopes to gather a consensus among animal trainers and behavior specialists about the most effective reward-based training methods.
“In this era of TV dog training, science and common sense often go out the window,” says committee member Marjie Alonso, president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. “Everything we say will be provable. We can say, ‘Here are the studies to back it up.’”
Recent scientific research has dispelled many conventional ideas about animal behavior, and the committee hopes to spread this knowledge to the general public through projects like expanding the American Humane Animal Behavior Resources Institute Online, a valuable resource for animal professionals and pet guardians.
“Dogs and humans equally benefit from research,” says Mychelle Blake, communications director for the Association for Pet Dog Trainers and member of the Animal Training and Behavior Committee. “For dogs, research has allowed us to move toward more reinforcing and less punitive methods in training and behavior modification. For humans, research has opened us up to the possibilities of healthier and more productive communication with our dogs, which creates stronger and happier relationships between dogs and humans.”
For more than 130 years, American Humane has been a national leader in child and animal protection. The organization is most famous for the “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer on films and television shows. This new committee will continue American Humane’s mission of promoting humane values and the beneficial aspects of human-animal interaction by providing professional insight on the topics of animal behavior and training. —VL