Sheila Gunston IP-CBC, FPPE       
Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant, Certified (licensed) Family Paws Parent Educator and board member of the Alberta Force Free Alliance proudly serving Red Deer, Ponoka County and area!                                                                    

Specializing in Complex Behavior and always working within the Laws of Learning Theory, using Force Free, Positive Reinforcement methods and the Bond Based Approach.  I am a proud board member of the Alberta Force Free Alliance (AFFA), working towards positive change in the dog world.

Hello Friends!  Welcome to Hudson's Hounds!  

If you are looking for group classes, please click on "events/classes" to the left of this page.  If you are looking to book a private session, please click "contact us" to fill out a quick questionnaire which will help me to assist you more efficiently.

For recommended trainers, dog walkers, daycare, boarding, grooming, etc throughout Alberta, please visit  for a thorough list of approved force free, educated professionals.

Please remember that YOU are your dog's voice - do your research on any professional that you may be looking to hire.  The dog world is unregulated, which means that literally anyone can create a business, but they most certainly are not qualified to help you.

Please ask your trainer these 3 simple questions - if they do not give you an answer that makes you feel comfortable, please look elsewhere!

  1. What will happen to my dog if he gets it wrong?
  2. What will happen to my dog if he gets it right?
  3. Are there any less invasive alternatives to what you propose?



Are you currently using a choke, prong or shock (ecollar) collar to try to reduce difficult behaviors?  These tools can actually create more harm than good - when pain or uncomfortable sensations are paired with certain stimulus, that stimulus can become a predictor for pain.  For example, your dog pulls toward another dog on a walk and you make a correction with one of the above collars to make him stop.  Your dog will quickly begin to associate pain with other dogs - this is one of the ways that we accidentally create leash reactivity and aggression!

The Alberta Force Free Alliance's position on slip leads:

"It has come to our attention that there seems to be some confusion and misunderstandings in regards to our position on slip leads or slip collars. First, let's be clear...if you understand the quadrants of operant learning in animal learning, they are most definitely NOT positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a consequence immediately following a behaviour that sees that behaviour stay or increase in frequency because it is perceived by the animal as something wonderful it likes. Slip leads may (and this is rare) see the behaviour of pulling on leash stop, simply because they tighten on the dogs neck, restrict the airway and cause discomfort. This process is defined in operant learning as positive punishment...a consequence that occurs immediately following a behaviour (in this case, discomfort to the neck when the dog pulls) that should see the behaviour decrease or stop. This is most definitely not positive reinforcement. Slip leads used to stop pulling are often ineffective as many dogs will be too excited and continue to pull, despite the discomfort. This can often cause physical damage to tracheas and thyroids and can cause ocular pressure which can all lead to permanent physical damage. In addition, if dogs experience discomfort when they are pulling towards something, they can learn through classical/Pavlovian learning that those things (dogs, people, etc.) predict discomfort and they can become fear reactive to them. The Alberta Force Free Alliance does not support the use of slip leads of any kind (rope or chain) for walking dogs in general or for corrections in training. They are to be used as momentary and temporary transport devices at times of moving dogs from one place to another when there is a flight risk, for example rescues, daycares or kennels moving dogs from one location to another and even then, there should always be caution used and a safety stop in place so the slip lead cannot over tighten on the dog's neck. We are aware there are a few approved businesses within the AFFA that use slip leads and martingale collars for the temporary purposes described above and we have approved the use of these tools within these businesses for the above described purpose only."

With that said, I have decided to help my wonderful clients to try a force free approach by offering a 10%  discount on my services if you turn your choke, prong or ecollar in to me!  Book a private session OR group class and I will be happy to give you your discount and help you to learn how to teach your dog with zero force or intimidation. Let's help our dogs to WANT to learn with us, not do as we say because they are simply avoiding a painful correction.

Have a look around and if you have any questions at all, please see the contact us form.

Check us out on Facebook for Training Tips and articles, as well as upcoming events!