Qualifications & Methods

Qualifications & Methods


QUALIFICATIONS

Mark is a degreed engineer and worked in the automotive industry for nearly 20 years.  During that time, he owned a dog that had behavioural issues, and in 2006 decided to complete a course in dog training. While completing that course, Mark discovered his calling and decided to pursue it full time as a career. He later left automotive to pursue his passion of dog training.

Mark holds these formal dog training qualifications:

  • Certificate in Dog Behaviour and Training from the National Dog Trainer’s Federation (also receiving the Academic Achievement Award)
  • Victoria Stilwell Positively Certified Dog Trainer

Mark is also a member of these professional organisations:

 

Association of Professional Dog Trainers                                               

Continuing education is vital for dog trainers to keep up with the latest methods and research.  Mark has made an effort to study as much as possible and continues to refine his methods and techniques based on industry best practice and scientific research.  Below are some examples of Mark’s continuing education:

2016: 3 day APDT (USA) conference in Las Vegas, USA
2015: Became Victoria Stilwell Positively Certified
2014: 3 day APDT (USA) conference in Hartford, CT, USA
2014: Completed Canine Social & Physiological Development course (with honours)
2013: 3 day APDT (AUS) conference in Sydney
2012: Dangerous Dog Handling and Assessment seminar

DELTA_TD_120In addition, Mark is an active Delta Therapy Dog Volunteer since 2012, and takes his dog to visit patients and staff in hospital. For more information, or to volunteer with your dog, please contact the  Delta Society Australia.


TRAINING METHODS

Like a lot of trainers, Mark studied and began training using traditional punishment and “pack leader” (dominance) based methods and philosophy.  This had worked for decades and was standard at the time.

But things are always improving. Studies in psychology have shown us better ways to discipline and raise our children.  Similarly,  scientific studies regarding dog behaviour and cognition have shown us better ways to train our dogs.

The “pack leader” and dominance based training philosophy has been debunked. Please see this page for Articles Debunking Dominance Theory, including links to numerous articles and papers explaining in detail why this is now considered outdated.  In addition, there are position statements from both the APDT (USA) and The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour. Both declare that we should not be using dominance based training techniques for our dogs. Mark has read and fully agrees with these positions.

There are also studies into the tools and techniques of dog training that have proven conclusively that dogs trained using aversive punishment-based techniques (technically called “positive punishment”) develop into more aggressive dogs.  Therefore, we should avoid using positive punishment at all costs.

Positive Reinforcement

The alternative way we can train our dogs is to manage consequences in a neutral or positive fashion, without using pain, fear, intimidation, physical force, etc. This modern style of training uses Positive Reinforcement.

MVSPDT_Web_Badge JPGark has joined this philosophy wholeheartedly.  This is demonstrated by his becoming the first Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer in Australia (check separate page for details), and Mark’s absolute refusal to condone the use of check chains, shock or e-collars, physical force, etc.

 

Unfortunately, many people who claim to be “positive” trainers (or “balanced” trainers) still use punishment, force, or outdated dominance methods. Victoria Stilwell has an excellent article How to choose a good dog trainer  and red flags to look for and avoid.

Mark welcomes any questions or conversations about his training methods and why he believes this is the only way forward with training our pet dogs, cats, or any other animal!

Dog Training Services

Puppy School

Attending a professionally run puppy school is critical to having a well behaved dog joining your family. As we learn more about dog behaviour and development, there has become an increased emphasis on early, thorough, positive socialisation of young puppies.  Research has shown that it is vital that this occurs during the Critical Socialisation Period […]

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Private Training

Mark offers private, personal dog training sessions to help with most behaviour issues. Why Hire a Professional? It is quite normal to try and fix your dog’s behavioural issues by speaking to friends and family, searching Google, reading books, and watching videos on the internet. Often times this advice can contradict itself, and it can […]

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Positively Dog Training

Mark Ehrman of Canine Counselling by Mark is the first Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) in Australia. After completing a certificate in dog training and behaviour in 2006, Mark continued to study and learn about dogs and dog training. As a result of his continuing education, Mark changed the way he trains, adopting the […]

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Advice, News and Tips
Read the latest news and advice from Mark and other dog training experts