The First And Most Comprehensive Professional
Dog Trainer Certification Courses And Programs Since 1994
MEET NORMA JEANNE
Hi, My name is Norma Jeanne. I began studying dog training and behaviour in 1987 while touring North America as a professional rock musician. I began private training in 1989 and opened Puppy Power, the first positive dog training school in the Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge/Guelph area in 1992 and have since taught over 7000 classes. I've consulted with clients as far away as China, and students have come from around the world to take my Canine Correspondence Studies professional certification career courses.
With hundreds of students and graduates in fourteen countries, CCS graduates are now running successful businesses internationally as a result of successful completion of Canine Correspondence Studies courses.
I founded IPDTA - International Positive Dog Training Association in 2002 because I was tired of dog guardians and trainers making excuses for abusing dogs in the name of dog training. I am former Editor in Chief of the CAPPDT Forum (Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers). I'm a published author and have contributed to many publications including; IPDTA PawPrint, CAPPDT Forum, Pets & Animals, Dogster, Animal Wellness and Grand Magazines. I've lectured at the CAPPDT and IPDTA Annual Conferences, Montreal's Chienposium, Camp Dog Wood in Barrie and Ottawa and numerous other venues and been featured on radio and television. I hosted Puppy Power’s Annual Dog Show for ten years as a fund-raising event, with proceeds donated to the Kitchener/Waterloo Humane Society and IPDTA Dogs In Need Fund.
Canine Correspondence Studies
Utilizing years of study and experience; having taught over 7000 classes and attending over one hundred dog training, canine behaviour, canine aggression and animal science courses, lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and symposiums, and with the use of numerous other references, I created the Canine Correspondence Studies professional dog trainer certification online and correspondence courses. Because every dog is different, every dog trainer needs a toolbox containing numerous options. Since 1994 years I've presented a wide variety of humane tools and techniques for training dogs and solving training, behaviour and aggression problems. My goal is to share this knowledge to create as many humane and effective certified dog trainers as possible to help dog guardians train their dogs, solve problems and create a strong bond with their canine companions while putting a stop to abuse in the name of dog training.
Norma Jeanne’s Training Methods
I've developed a touch-free training program using motivation to teach dogs to think for themselves and make correct choices. My philosophy is that dogs can learn to problem-solve and choose the desired behaviour in order to affect a pleasant outcome. When a dog learns to offer desired behaviour, it's more reliable when the owner/trainer is not around. Because ‘positive’ does not mean ‘permissive’, self-control is taught, and respect is mutual. Although training treats are used as a temporary training tool, other methods do not require food. Food treats are used to lure, motivate, and reinforce desired behaviours, faded with the use of reinforcement schedules then gradually replaced with other valued resources such as; walks, car rides, games, toys and attention. This enables us to maintain a reliable response to cues without the long-term need for food. By making training fun and instilling trust, we can create a well-trained dog with a resilient temperament.
Norma Jeanne’s Training History
I'm what's known as a ‘cross-over’ trainer. With no other options available to me at the time, I was taught common dog training practices including the use of choke chains, pinch collars, alpha rollovers etc. While implementing these techniques during the beginning of my career I began to realize that something was wrong with this picture. Although the tools and techniques seemed to be effective with many dogs, I noticed others were afraid, stressed or anxious and some were downright traumatized. I noticed another trend as well; although I was taught that most canine aggression was based on ‘dominance’ I found this to be untrue. I learned through experience and research that most aggressive dogs were reacting to fear and were forced to defend themselves, and many resulting from unpleasant dog training and "dominance-based" methods. Many were misdiagnosed as ‘dominant dogs’ and paid with their lives.
I strongly believe that dog trainers should not be contributing to the problem and have made it my life-long goal to present as many humane and effective options as possible for dog training, behaviour and aggression modification, so that the use of fear and pain in dog training will no longer be necessary or tolerated.
My awakening came during a class when I did the alpha rollover with a Jack Russell Terrier that was so frightened by my man-handling that it spun and urinated with fear. During the same class I alpha-rolled an adult Rottweiler. In hind-sight, this was more than stupid, but that's what I was taught to do – that every dog had to be physically dominated in order to gain control and respect. Well, this was a big dog – I stood at its side, reached over, grasped his legs and pulled them out from under him. The rotti fell to the ground, raised his head, looked at me and growled. I held firm as I was taught and growled louder than he did. The dog submitted and I let him up.
When I looked around the room I didn’t like what I saw. Contrary to what you may be thinking, most of my clients seemed quite impressed, a few of the women appeared a bit apprehensive, and the children were wide-eyed. That’s right – children! It was at that moment that I asked myself what I was doing. In my opinion, the Rottweiler had every right to growl at me, in fact, he had the right to defend himself from my attack, but had he done so, it could have cost him his life. Not only that, if I had chosen the wrong dog I could have been seriously injured or worse and it would have happened in front of the children. I explained my concerns to the class and promised them that things would change.
I re-wrote my dog training manual removing all aversive tools and techniques, and began my search for a better way. Since all the schools in my area were using the same techniques, I didn’t know where to turn and internet was not yet an option. Thankfully, Dr. Andrew Luescher from the Veterinary Clinic at the University of Guelph told me about CAPPDT (Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers). I attended their conference that month and after the conference joined the association. Although CAPPDT does not take a stand for humane dog training (their mandate is simply to educate) many of their presenters used positive reinforcement as their main method of training and a whole new world opened up for me. I learned about shaping and targeting and many other positive options. I remained a member for many years, became Editor in Chief and a long time columnist for their newsletter ‘Forum.’ To this day I continue to learn from a variety of sources.
The ‘Dominance’ Diagnosis
I saw dog trainers labeling dogs as ‘dominant’ because they sat on your feet, jumped on you, rushed through doorways, stole food, pulled on leash, etc. This didn’t make sense to me because these were all normal canine behaviours that could easily be controlled through training.
What I found even more appalling was that most of the dogs diagnosed as ‘dominant’ were in fact fearful. Through diagnostic interviews, I found many causes for this fear; there were some inherited issues and/or those learned from fearful parents, some were due to a poor or non-existent socialization or traumatic experience, but a staggering number of fear aggressive dogs were caused and/or aggravated by what the dog perceived as attacks by humans through dominance based training and behaviour modification techniques. Call it punishment, reprimand or correction, the dogs simply learned that humans were frightening, unpredictable and couldn't be trusted. Let’s face it, dogs don’t know right from wrong because they can't reason like we can, they simply do what comes naturally to their species. They learn through cause and effect what's safe and not safe and for some dogs, people are frightening and untrustworthy.
Dogs that learned people could not be trusted sooner or later became overwhelmed and were forced to defend themselves. Dogs that did not learn how to interact and communicate with, or had bad experiences with other dogs ended up biting and fighting. Dogs that attended training schools using aversive techniques tended to become fearful and often fear aggressive and the ones that entered this type of training facility already timid or fearful didn’t stand a chance.
Over the years, I've had numerous clients call after a dog trainer recommended euthanasia for their ‘dominant’ aggressive dog. “The trainer put a head halter on my dog, stomped on the leash and slammed my dog’s head into the ground.” “The trainer ran at my dog screaming and waving a stick in the air.” “My dog was afraid of the dog trainer, the trainer grabbed my dog and pinned her to the ground. She urinated, released her glands and tried to bite the trainer.” "The trainer yelled and threw things at my dog." The trainer would then proceed to tell the owner that he/she had a ‘dominant’ dog, and that it had to be euthanized. One trainer went as far as to say she was coming by the following day to take the dog away and have him put down because she was too busy to work with it. These clients loved their dogs and were devastated. Dog trainers were putting dogs through frightening and painful evaluations and after forcing them to defend themselves they were diagnosing them as ‘dominant’ and sentencing them to death. This is ridiculous and UNACCEPTABLE!
If someone were to do any of these things to me I would defend myself as well. The difference is that I would be respected for defending myself and a dog would pay with its life. These problems were caused by people and they could have been prevented and/or solved. Looking back over many years of aggression consultations and rehabilitation programs I came to a startling realization. My charts showed the majority of the aggressive dogs I treated were fearful, only a small percentage were assertive (not dominant), they were simply good at obtaining and holding resources. Although these dogs would be great providers and survivors in the wild, these survival instincts cost many their lives. I'm happy to say there are now many talented and enlightened dog trainers not only in my area but around the world due to successful completion of my CCS course.
I live a happy life in the countryside of beautiful North Eastern Ontario, Canada with Greg Ceci and our beloved rescued dogs. I look forward to guiding you to a happy and fulfilling life of your own.