Understanding and Applying the Humane Hierarchy

What is the humane hierarchy? The humane hierarchy as it applies to dog trainers is a position statement promulgated by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) that addresses minimum standards of care. The following are the 6 procedures and practices to be applied in descending order when making decisions regarding training protocols and behavior interventions.

  1. Health, Nutrition, and Physical Factors
  2. Antecedents
  3. Positive Reinforcements
  4. Differential Reinforcement of Alternate Behavior
  5. Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Extinction
  6. Positive punishment

Visit the CCPDT’s site to read the position statement in full. For a better understanding of the 4 quadrants and other practices above, enroll in Become A Professional Dog Trainer’s professional dog trainer course.

Why is it important for professional dog trainers to understand and implement the humane hierarchy? First, applicants for certification agree to abide by the CCPDT’s position statement as a prerequisite to holding a CCPDT certification. Second, and more importantly, the humane hierarchy provides an ethical framework within which professional dog trainers, certified and uncertified, can make training decisions when creating and implementing training protocols.

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