Lima (Not just a city in Peru)
What is LIMA?
LIMA or Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive is a newer term in the pet industry that more eloquently describes what many of us have been proponents of for years.
Often used in conjunction with Fear Free Force Free and Positive Reinforcement, LIMA is the natural progression towards loving care for pets in all aspects of their lives.
What does it mean in our pets’ daily lives?
For trainers and pet professionals like sitters and walkers, this means we give pets as much choice as possible and only use positive reinforcement to get the behaviors we desire. If a dog pulls while walking, we don’t slap on a prong collar and call it training. We have the dog properly fitted for a tested harness like a Freedom Harness. Our next step is to slowly introduce the dog to it so they become comfortable with the motions of it going over their head and fitting snuggly across the chest and belly. Then we use in in conjunction with treats and other positive reinforcers to work on loose leash walking. We believe a properly fitting harness is the least intrusive and aversive dog walking equipment, even more so than a standard flat collar which presses on the important structures of a dog’s neck. In teaching loose leash walking, we are rewarding the dog for staying close by instead of running to the end of the leash every time. Hey
Only the pet can determine what a reinforcer truly is. For many it is the stinkiest treat we’ve got in our bags. Other prefer the most awful squeaky toy ever. We are happy to oblige either choice. For some dogs, allowing them to sniff a little longer at the fire hydrant is a powerful reinforcer. It is important to understand your dog, to accurately employ LIMA and positive reinforcement.
Giving pets a choice
As far a choice comes in to LIMA an example I like to use telling people to stop dragging their pets to the dog park. This is not for all dogs. Some are perfectly suited to happily play with any person or dog they come across. Many are not. If your dog is spending more time overly aroused, growling at others, getting into minor squabbles or hanging out next to your side avoiding others at all costs while at the dog park, they are trying to tell you something. “I am uncomfortable in this environment.” Listen to them. Maybe it’s a one off and they are having a bad day. Take them home and try a different time. If it happens more often than not, it’s not for them. Don’t make them go. Many people seem to believe their dog is only a “good dog” if she is ecstatic to see every person and dog she comes across. This just isn’t the case. You wouldn’t make your child go to a play date with a child you know is mean or sometimes bites or hits your child. Don’t make your dog do the same.
For more help implementing LIMA principles in your pets’ life, let us know! We love to help!