Jun 2, 2016 4:48 PM

Seacoast dog whisperer: '70 percent human training, 30 percent dog'


Terence Kirby is the Seacoast's own “dog whisperer.” For the past two decades, he's helped hundreds of dogs, and their owners, overcome their behavior issues.

"I'd say it's 70 percent human training and 30 percent dog," Kirby said while showing us his training center in Hampton.

Since the TV show starring dog trainer Cesar Millan became a hit, dog behavior therapy and psychology have become very popular. It's a growing profession for people who want to work with animals.

Kirby prefers to use positive reinforcement training in his practice. This involves using verbal cues, hand signals, treats and toys to reward good behavior.

On the other side of the training spectrum, Millan uses an "Alpha Dog" therapy which relies on fear. This technique includes leash jerks, kicks, snapping of the hand, restraint, and using choke or prong collars.

A recent report found this type of training can be dangerous. The Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) want the choke and prong collars banned. If used incorrectly, they can seriously injure a dog’s trachea and can cause puncture wounds.

Kirby says most of the dogs he trains in Hampton have problems with aggressiveness.

"I'd say 95 percent of the aggression that comes through the door is fear based.

I think it comes from lack of proper development, a result of trauma, and sometimes it's genetics where they're not wired right and can be fearful and anxious," Kirby explained.


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