What is LIMA?
In 2018 the three leading professional dog training organizations, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) published a unified Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics statement. Within the text they define LIMA and the Humane Hierarchy as the ethical anchor for all dog training to avoid undue stress on the dogs.
LIMA is an acronym for Least Invasive Minimally Aversive and describes the industry standard philosophy for training methods.
So what does that mean?
LIMA requires trainers/behavior consultants prioritize the use of positive reinforcement techniques and minimize the use of techniques that use pain, discomfort, fear, or intimidation. It does not allow for a trainer to use methods or tools that utilize pain, discomfort, fear, or intimidation when other, more humane methods, are available and have not been fully and completely exhausted.
According to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and the International Association of Behavior Consultants:
"LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. In the vast majority of cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal's environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counter-conditioning."
Read the industry-standard joint Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics
To learn more about LIMA, please check out the IAABC's LIMA position statement.
To read a thorough assessment of the joint statement and it's importance in the training industry, check out this Rewarded Behavior Continue's blog post.