Four Paws, Four Directions Dog Training & Behavior Consulting, LLC

Laura Donaldson, PhD, CDBC, KPA CTP

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, IAABC 

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner 


 “Training  is a lifelong process of befriending the dog — a process of mutual  understanding and care that is most fully and satisfyingly through  gentle and considerate means.” (Stephen R. Lindsay) 

 For millennia, people have believed that the Four Sacred Directions balance the world and signify completion and wholeness. Four Paws, Four Directions Dog Training & Behavior Consulting, LLC  emulates this belief by using a positive dog training philosophy to  facilitate the social and spiritual relationship between canines and  their human companions.  Four Paws, Four Directions Dog Training & Behavior Consulting emphasizes positive, force-free dog training that  gives dogs confidence and makes them eager participants in the learning process.   This approach to training helps owners and their dogs work together harmoniously.  Dogs learn life skills and good manners— everything  that a canine good citizen should have—and humans learn more effective  ways of communicating with their canine partners.  For a  glimpse  of what this training can mean for you and your dog, please view the  video of River ignoring the herd of deer under the "Testimonials"  column below. I  worked with this team over a period of a few months and am delighted  that they have achieved such spectacular success with non-reactive and  calm leash behavior!   

 I  am a nationally certified dog behavior specialist as well as a  certified professional dog trainer.  Many dog training "certifications"  are little more than certificates of completion issued by the same  organizations that a trainer paid in order to gain their education.  In  contrast, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants IAABC is a completely independent organization whose goals  are to standardize and support the practice of companion animal  behavior consulting through rigorous peer review and continuing  education (please see the "What is a CDBC?" page for more information on  why this certification is so important).  IAABC certification means  that my credentials have been carefully vetted by an independent board;  that I have accumulated hundreds of hours (and now approaching several  thousand) worth of hands-on experience; and that I have been deemed  professionally and ethically qualified to consult with owners about all  their dog's behavior issues.  In addition to being a Certified Dog  Behavior Consultant, I am also a certified professional dog trainer.  I  graduated with distinction in 2009 from the Karen Pryor Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, a  demanding program requiring both knowledge and skills assessment as  well as work with multiple species of animals -- in my case parrots,  chickens, llamas and cats.  I am currently the behavior and  training consultant for Cayuga Dog Rescue, one of the oldest dog rescues  in the Finger Lakes region.  I have also written and published on dog  training and dog cognition.  You may read several articles of mine under  the "Dog Training Articles" button on this page. 

I  am routinely recommended to clients by the veterinary behaviorists at  Cornell University as well as by local veterinarians.  I have more than  15 years of experience in addressing all sorts of behavior issues in  dogs: barking, destructive chewing, over-arousal, anxiety and fear as  well as reactive or aggressive behavior towards other dogs or humans.  I  also work with dogs suffering from separation distress.  Separation distress is a behavior problem that owners often find difficult to address on their own.  My approach to  all these issues is multi-dimensional and utilizes the latest scientific  knowledge about canine cognition, learning theory and animal behavior  to restore an harmonious relationship between dogs and their human  companions. The fear-free,  force free methods I advocate are the preferred training methods of the  American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, and their effectiveness  has been validated by an impressive body of scientific research.  My  service areas include the greater Ithaca New York area, including  Tompkins, Cortland and Tioga counties -- and, on occasion the greater  Elmira, Syracuse and Binghamton areas.  


From Private Clients:
"Thanks  to some wonderful training we did with Laura . . . last summer, River  loves showing off how good she is at ignoring things . . . especially  lots of things!"

           Scott H.