Newspaper Articles
About Positive Canine

Below, you'll find some of the newspaper articles that have been written about Positive Canine Dog Obedience Training where you can learn more about some of its skilled trainers!!




THE MONTREAL GAZETTE, September 20, 2002

"Dog trainer helps break bad habits"

    Like a certain well-known brand of watch, Delva Howell takes a licking - and the occasional bite - and keeps coming back for more.  She has to.  She's a dog trainer who specializes in helping people who need help breaking their dogs of bad habits, like biting, snarling and excessive licking.  She's been bitten, peed on, snarled at and licked ad nauseum.

    But Delva Howell takes it all in stride.  The 36 year-old is a Montreal dog-trainer and she loves it.

    Two nights a week, she takes over a West Island church, she affectionately calls "my pissing ground", where she has been leading dog obedience classes for the past nine years.

    "For the love of dogs, trainer is on call"

    The rest of the week she is on call, trouble-shooting for dog owners who need help breaking their dogs' bad behaviour - among the problems, dog-on-dog aggression, biting, incessant barking and leash-pulling.

    "I wouldn't call it a gift," Howell said.  "But it is something that comes easy to me.

    "I can communicate with another species and if I can share that expertise, I'm happy.

    "Hopefully, I'm making a difference."

    Howell works with Positive Canine, a Montreal-based organization that uses positive reinforcement to teach dogs to obey their owners.  The group is recognized by local veterinarians and the Canadian Kennel Cub.

    It's Howell's second job and first love.

    If she was starting out today, Howell said, she would have stayed in school so that she could have become a veterinarian or animal behaviourist and worked with animals full time.

    But not having gone that route, she said, she is lucky to have a full time job that pays the bills and an opportunity to work with dogs part time.

    A dog lover since her childhood in Laval - where she grew up with a succession of canine pets: Bootsie, Snoopy, Peanut, Pepper and Daisy - Howell first learned about dog-training in her late teens.

    After acquiring Tasha,  a Golden Labrador, and her first very own dog, she enrolled in a dog obedience class offered by Jean Donaldson, a renowned dog-trainer and the founder of Renaissance Dog Training, the predecessor to Positive Canine.

    "Jean's style of training was very different and I knew right off I wanted to learn more" remarked Howell.

    Donaldson now heads the SPCA in San Francisco and tours the U.S. giving dog-training workshops.

    She is the author of two books on dogs, including Dogs Are From Neptune (Trade Paperback, $24.95), which sports on its cover Howell's dog, Princess Katana, a 5-year-old Australian cattle dog.

    "She was fantastic.... a real mentor," said Howell, who ended up working under Donaldson as an assistant for six years "sucking up as much knowledge as I could."

    This evening, Howell is meeting and greeting as dogs and their owners gather at Beaurepaire United Church in Beaconsfield for one of Howell's weekly dog-obedience classes.  "Find a spot," she tells them, "I'll come around and work with you all."

    "Trainer says job is fun, not magic"

    This is the fifth in a series of six classes for this group of puppies, including a sheltie, cairn terrier and shih tzu, and their owners.

    There is some barking, but by this point in training, Howell said, the dogs are listening quite consistently to their owner's commands and following their directions well.

    She guides the classes through a series of exercises, including long-distance stays; the dogs sits and stays in the same spot for a minute or more while the owner moves 10 feet away, then gradually further, and recalls (calls the dog from a distance).

    "It's not magic," she said. "It's work.  Whatever you put in, you get back tenfold.

    "I enjoy it," she added.

    As for being peed on and snarled at, Howell said, it doesn't happen that often.  And, the bites she has suffered have not been serious enough to send her to the hospital.

    "I'm smart," she explained. "I know how to read dogs.

    "If a dog is snarling and his ears have flattened back, he's telling me, right now, 'Don't come another step closer.'"


Return To  Home Page