Pawsibilities in the Watershed

Donna McLaughlin is the owner and founder of Pawsibilities Professional Animal Training, a business that trains people, dogs, horses, chickens and more. Donna's interest in animals and the natural world began as a young child visiting her grandparents farm in southern Saskatchewan. Her grandfather, Hugh McLaughlin, was a self-taught naturalist and was passionate about learning and teaching natural science. He was particularly interested in wetlands and all the plants and critters in and around those areas.

Donna has fond memories of accompanying him on trips to observe birds and collect various kinds of insects and fish. He taught about the important functions these areas played in the environment of the prairies. Although Hugh made his living from farming, he never placed profits ahead of his concern for the environment and was sometimes frustrated by farmers who altered a creek's flow for the benefit of their crops. The time spend on the farm learning about the science of the natural world and the respect it deserves has shaped the direction that Donna has gone today.

Donna is passionate about learning and behaviour and enjoys teaching it as much as furthering her own knowledge. She trains animals using positive reinforcement and behavioural science. She believes that animals are highly intelligent and complex - and that punishment and force are unnecessary and should be avoided in training. With these methods people can be like Dr. Dolittle and talk to the animals, and, in turn, it engages the animal to communicate back.

She has trained humans and animals (dogs, horses, chickens, cats, llamas, etc) for over twenty five years for TV and film, obedience, tricks, tracking, herding, skijoring, carting and more. She has taught thousands of people the principles of behavioural science and given seminars in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. She has learned from many of the top trainers and animal behaviourists in the world. She has gone to Chicken Camp to train chickens in Sequim, WA in 2008 and Baltimore in 2013 to learn from Bob Bailey - a former colleague of B.F. Skinner and a legendary animal trainer.

She has a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary's University and a Diploma of Business Administration from the University of Regina. In her 'day job' she has worked in management and human resource positions at the University of Regina, Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge and the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

The goal of Pawsibilities Animal Training is to show people how intelligent their animals really are and to help people with problems that they are having with their dogs and/or to help them prevent future problems with their dogs through communication, education and training. Going further, this company exists to teach how an understanding of the same principles of reinforcement used by animal trainers can be applied in other situations such as classrooms and workplaces.

Donna has developed an engaging presentation on how the behavioural science methods that animal trainers use, can be used in the classroom and workplace. She and her dog recently gave this presentation to faculty and staff at Lethbridge College and she is looking for other opportunities to present this material. In the near future she plans to create full day chicken training workshops to give people a 'hands on' opportunity to learn about positive reinforcement and behavior.

Pawsibilities Professional Animal Training has donated a one hour private lesson for dog, horse or chicken training to the OWC as a prize for the Annual General Meeting.
One of our hard-working volunteers will be the lucky winner!

Thank you, Donna!

To contact Donna:
Phone: 403-715-6847