Your puppy trainer & coach
Daša Lipovšek, PhD, KPA CTP
Daša is a graduate of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, a graduate and Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, and a certified instructor for Puppy Start Right socialization classes. She is a Professional Member of The Pet Professional Guild. Daša has trained her dogs for obedience competition in the U.K. and the U.S., and for wilderness and urban search and rescue.
Daša has been helping others train their dogs for over twenty years. A veteran of numerous dog-training classes and workshops herself, she has observed first hand the glacially slow progess many pet owners make in a large class, as well as how quickly behaviors learned in a quiet environment fall apart in presence of other playful dogs. To avoid these pitfalls, The Puppy Project online approach first helps the owners teach their dog new behaviors in the quiet and comfort of their home. Once the basic lesson has been learned, the distracting elements of real life are introduced one at a time, until the dog can follow directions in his or her specific everyday environment.
Like many up-to-date trainers, Daša uses positive reinforcement exclusively. In particular, she is a strong proponent of clicker training, which opens the clearest communication channel with the learner animal. She specializes in starting such positive training at the earliest possible age, before the puppy has learned undesirable behavior by accident. Finally, Daša is aware that people, too, learn best when taught incrementally and with positive feedback. She strives to create a safe, supportive, and stimulating learning environment for both species.
Q: Why do you emphasize “science-based” training methods?
A: People have been training dogs for thousands of years, passing insights, skills, and superstitions from generation to generation. Only in the last century has the science of learning and animal behavior determined which elements of traditional animal training work well, and which are detrimental. For example, it is now clear (but not yet universally understood) that positive, reward-based methods allow fast and low-stress learning, whereas force-based and domineering methods inhibit learning, damage the bond between people and their dogs, and increase the risk of aggression. For more information, please read the Position Statement on the Use of Punishment and the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.