Vivian Zottola Position Statement
Vivian Zottola, CPDT-KA, CBCC does not use nor condone the use of force or pain including the use of averse equipment on dogs or other animals. She and her employees maintain Dr. Susan Friedman's Human Hierarchy of behavior change further choosing to never use positive punishment as a learning method. Evidence provided by the scientific and veterinary community supports averse equipment on dogs may cause collapsed trachea, damaged esophagus, and potential damage to neck, spinal cord and soft tissue in canines. Read Dr. Sophia Yin Blog on Equipment here. Read the UK Study done on use of Electronic Collars. From a Behavior Training perspective the pet dog generalizes behavior learning negative associations, fear aggression and re-activity toward any individual it perceives to be a threat (dog, child, man, old person walking with a cane). Dogs become more anxious and depressed with prolonged use use of averse equipment or harsh methods and may experience phobias and other conditions known as Learned Helplessness, where the animal understands it can do nothing about changing the pain and shuts down. This condition has been linked to depression and physical illness. I choose to offer Science based, positive reinforcement dog training services. My philosophy when working with dogs and their guardians is to incorporate principals of learning theory, behavior analysis, and cognitive canine science to help understand, evaluate and then provide a training plan. Each dog is an individual deserving of a personalized resolution to their behavior problem. The more we understand how dogs experience the world the better we will be at training and cohabiting with dogs.