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!"