top of page
Accredited Dog Trainer Alison Solskis With Two Golden Retrievers


“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen”

ORPHAM PAMUK , My Name is Red


Dogs do speak. Most dog lovers know how much our furry friends enhance our lives, and most of us probably think we’re giving our dogs a pretty good life.  Alison Solski, owner of Hearts and Hounds Dog Training, believes we can do better by gaining a thorough understanding of our dogs and what motivates them, and using that knowledge to help them adapt enthusiastically to our human rules of life.  The result is a better relationship between human and dog.

Alison has loved animals all her life and had dogs as a child and young adult, but life got busy and it was never the right time to have her own dog again until 20 years ago.  She took her puppy to Puppy Socialization classes and was introduced to positive reinforcement training, which was relatively new at the time.  A bit of an academic, she started reading books and attended seminars by the pioneers of positive reinforcement training simply to understand her own dog better.  With her head buzzing with new knowledge, she cringed every time she saw someone using corrections, leash jerks and other aversive techniques on their dogs, knowing there was a better way.  She found herself wanting to educate those people to spare their dogs any more pain.   Alison eventually left the corporate world to follow her passion of working with dogs, boarding, walking and ultimately training them, while studying dog behaviour and training throughout.   

Alison’s methods are based on the latest scientific findings in animal behaviour and cognition, and learning theory.  She uses reward-based training or ‘positive reinforcement training’ in which the dog is motivated to offer a desired behaviour for a chance to receive something she likes while unwanted behaviours are ignored or redirected.  The dog will tend to do more of whatever results in something pleasing and avoid doing the things that don’t.  Alison does not support the use of aversive techniques such as fear, pain or intimidation, nor aversive equipment such as prong, choke, or shock collars, all of which have been shown to increase the risk of stress, fear and aggression.  “Reward-based training is the most humane and effective way of training dogs and addressing any unwanted behaviours.  It does not involve aversive techniques, physical punishment or the assertion of dominance over the dog.” (RSPCA Australia)  To this, Alison adds her empathic style of training, connecting with you and your dog for a fun and productive experience.

Contact us now to discuss how we can assist you with your training goals.

Alison’s related educational background and credentials:

  • Graduate of the DogSmart Dog Trainer Apprenticeship Program

  • Certified by Dr. Ian Dunbar’s SIRIUS® Dog Trainer Academy

  • Certified Puppy Start Right Instructor through the renowned Karen Pryor Academy

  • Attended the BCSPCA Animal Behaviour Science Symposium (both years)

  • Attended seminars by Dr. Ian Dunbar (2), Nicole Wilde, Ken Ramirez, and Kathy Sdao (2)

  • Regularly attends courses and webinars on a variety of topics by noted experts in animal behaviour and training

  • Worked as Assistant Trainer to and mentored by one of Vancouver's most respected dog trainers for four years

  • Member of Pet Professional Guild - an international member organization founded on the principles of force-free training and pet care

  • Member of Behavior Education Network - provides science-based education and information about dog and cat behaviour, behaviour evaluations, and behaviour training and management

  • Certified in Pet First Aid by Walks’n’Wags

  • Insured by PROfur Insurance

Whether through Puppy, Life Skills or Specialty classes; Private Coaching ; or Day Training, Alison's goal is to improve the quality of life for dogs and humans through empathic, reward-based training.

Hearts and Hounds | Vancouver, British Columbia | Puppy Start Right Preschool
Hearts and Hounds | Vancouver, British Columbia | The Association for Force-Free Proessionals - PP Guild Member
Hearts and Hounds | Vancouver, British Columbia | Member of BEN - Behavio Education Network
Hearts and Hounds | Vancouver, British Columbia | Protected by ProFur Insurance for Pet Care Professionals
Hearts and Hounds | Vancouver, British Columbia | Walks N Wags Pet First Aid
bottom of page