LIMA is a position statement jointly adopted by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). It establishes an ethical standard for working with dogs, and states that methods should be effective while also minimizing side effects and aversive experiences for the animal. Although LIMA includes and is often associated with the Humane Hierarchy, it involves much more than just the Humane Hierarchy. LIMA also sets a competency standard and states that “trainers/behavior consultants [should] work to increase the use of positive reinforcement and lessen the use of punishment,” that protocols should be “maximally humane,” and that trainers and behavior consultants should achieve and maintain a level of education that allows them to change behavior both effectively and humanely by minimizing any stress or aversive experience to the animal.
What is the Humane Hierarchy?
The Humane Hierarchy is a set of humane and effective practices for working with dogs. It sets up a suggested approach for effectively creating behavior change while also minimizing stress and discomfort to the animal. The Humane Hierarchy is listed below, in order from first line of treatment to least desirable choice.
1. Wellness: Nutritional and physical
2. Antecedent arrangements
3. Positive reinforcement
4. Differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors
5. Extinction, negative reinforcement and negative punishment
6. Positive punishment
Each step in the Humane Hierarchy should only be considered when the previous steps have been implemented to the fullest extent possible, by an individual who has the expertise to implement those methods effectively.
As a Professional Premium Member of the APDT, we are committed to the LIMA approach.
Review APDT’s LIMA Position Statement here.