Local dog trainer offers new method for aggressive, fearful dogs

Chelsea Johnson, a dog-training instructor at Zen Dog and Tails-A-Wagging, has earned certification as a Behavior Adjustment Training instructor, a system commonly known in the dog-training world as BAT.

The low-stress, non-aversive technique for working with aggressive or fearful dogs was developed by Grisha Stewart, who refined the method to help her own dog, Peanut.

The certification process requires a four-hour BAT video case study, a written exam with essay questions, a commitment to the principles of progressive reinforcement training and 200 hours of dog-training experience using force-free techniques.

BAT works by helping dogs learn socially acceptable ways to deal with the things that scare or upset them. Instead of barking, lunging or snarling, dogs learn to use “cut-off” signals like head turns and ground sniffs to communicate to their handlers that they are uncomfortable.

“In my observance, more positive relationships between dogs and their owners develop when I teach them BAT,” said Chelsea Johnson, in a press release. “I’ve been incorporating BAT into my training sessions with my clients. I could not pass up on the opportunity to improve my skills and to become certified.”

Johnson teaches classes and private lessons throughout Whatcom County.

She can be reached at 360-223-8695 or by email at Chelsea@Zen-Dog.net.

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