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Training classes and Behaviour Counsults
using Positive (Force Free) Training

What does "force free training" mean, and why should we use it?

 

I am very clear about the training methods I use as Woofers on this website, and on social media. 

 

I call myself a “force free trainer” (positive trainer).  The reason I feel confident in using that title is that I will never ask you to do anything with your dog that causes him fear or pain. I will never ask you to manhandle your dog and force him to do something. I won’t suggest you use tools which are designed to cause pain to get a dog to comply.   The only "punishment" your dog might experience during the use of force free training is the withholding of a treat if your dog doesn't perform a cue as asked.  He will not experience any physical or mental trauma because of that.  He will not be jerked on the leash while on a prong collar, or zapped with a shock collar. He won't be yelled at or intimidated either. Positive training is based in science.   Your dog will not be "bribed" with treats which is a myth that some non positive trainers like to put out there.  Food is often the strongest reward your dog will decide upon.  However, some dogs will be reinforced  by toys, or mere praise instead.  It is the dog who decides what the reinforcement is, not us.  Once a dog has learned the behaviour we are teaching, then we aim to phase out the food reward as soon as we can.

Zoo keepers can train dangerous predators in their care to cooperate with them for medical checks, procedures and for enrichment purposes using positive training only.   Science tells us that every species learns in the same way, be it dog, human or any species you care to mention.  Therefore, if we are using the science of dog training, there is no dog that needs "tougher methods" in order to train it.  A modern, educated trainer never needs to use physical punishment of any kind because using science, then there simply is no need.   There are dozens of scientific research papers and articles written by acknowledged animal behaviour experts including veterinary bodies and various animal centred organisations which are available online. All this research shows that using punishment to train dogs is damaging to a dog’s physical and mental wellbeing and the relationship between dog and owner.  It also shows that using force free training is the most humane and effective way to train animals.

 

There's a saying that "punishment begins where knowledge ends". In dog training, this is sadly true.

This is a biologist called Soham Mukherjee who specialises in reptiles.  He trains crocodiles using positive training only.  All he has is a large chunk of meat as a reward, and a target stick. He doesn't need a shock collar or a prong collar to train a predator that could kill him easily. He's so relaxed, he's not even wearing shoes!   Click on the photo for a short video of him training crocodiles.