Training classes and Behaviour Counsults

using 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.


I’m transparent because I want prospective clients to be able to understand immediately the kind of training methods I use so they can make a decision about whether they want to hire me without having to first call and ask if I use positive or punishment based methods.

I believe that most people who are looking for a trainer have in mind what sort of training methods they want for their dog.  Therefore, it’s important I feel, that a prospective client should be able to find that information from a trainer’s website without difficulty.


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 to 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 will 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 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.


If we ask the dog to perform the cue several times and he doesn’t do it, then we can safely say that we have not taught the dog the cue well enough in the first place. We NEVER  blame the dog for what is our mistake.  Punishment based training assumes the dog is at fault and when he doesn’t comply, he is usually physically punished.  Positive training is about setting up your dog to succeed at all times.

There's a saying that "punishment begins where knowledge ends".  A modern, educated trainer never needs to use physical punishment of any kind when training an animal.   Science tells us that every species learns in the same way, be it dog, human or any other animal you care to mention.  If zoo keepers can train dangerous predators in their care to cooperate with them for medical checks and procedures using positive training only, science tells us that training a dog is the same.  So if you hire a trainer who says "your dog needs a tougher training method" or words to that effect, it's my belief they are in need of further education in the subject of dog training and behaviour modification.

This is a small dog maybe a Boston Terrier, wearing a large shock collar, for what purpose I cannot fathom. If a trainer does not know how to train a small dog like this without the use of force,  then they don't know how to train.

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 and you will see that if someone says they can't train a dog without the use of tools, then basically they can't train.