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 both a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC; https://iaabc.org) AND a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP; https://karenpryoracademy.com). 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 also very proud to be the only Certified Dog Behavior Consultant in the Finger Lakes region! Many dog training "certifications" are little more than certificates of completion issued by the same organizations that a trainer paid to gain their education. In contrast, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants 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.
My PhD is in the humanities and because of that, I bring a wealth of knowledge about the psychology of teaching and learning to my work with dogs and their humans. I have completed master’s level coursework in the fields of applied behavior analysis, animal behavior, ethology, and companion animal psychopharmacology and actively participate in many continuing education opportunities. While in the past, I have competed in sheep-herding trials with my dogs (and still have my own flock of Navajo Churro sheep), I currently focus on my behavior-consulting practice full-time. I am the behavior and training consultant for Cayuga Dog Rescue (http://cayugadogrescue.org/wp), one of the oldest dog rescues in the Finger Lakes region, and am also an official mentor to prospective dog trainers completing the program at CATCH Canine Trainers Academy (https://catchdogtrainers.com).
I am delighted to say that my article, "The Cognitive Revolution and Everyday Dog Training: the Case of Look at That" has been awarded the 2018 Maxwell Medallion for best magazine article on dog behavior and training! This is like winning a Grammy fo dog writing and is awarded annually by the Dog Writers Association of America, an organization devoted to promoting excellence in journalism about dogs. You can find this article, along with several other that I have published, on the "Dog Training Articles" page. The "Behavior Matters!" article was also selected as a finalist for the 2018 Maxwell Medallion award.
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!"