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Force Free Training: Why?

09 Mar, 2023

Humane Animal Rescue was founded by Grace Gibson Cain & Jay Brennan, who worked in several large Animal Rescue’s & Shelters in Australia and experienced first-hand dog behavioural trainers using force on animals.

Force or ‘balanced training’ methods are often used as they have quick results. However, this form of training changes behaviour through fear, intimidation and harm, which can leave long term behavioural trauma. As Dog training is an unregulated industry in Australia, this form of training is ongoing.

Vets, pounds and science-based research does not support ‘balanced dog training’ as it is outdated and can cause ongoing long-term issues.

What is Force-Free Dog Training?

Force-free training is the most up-to-date, science-based training approach. Simply put, it is the method of training dogs without using force, coercion, threats, intimidation or inflicting pain on the animal. This involves avoiding punishments or anything that will invoke fear, panic, cause pain or harm the dog in any way.

Force-free dog training is not only an especially effective way to train your dog, it also builds a strong bond of trust between the two of you. However, it requires time, patience, commitment and in particular repetition for the approach to succeed.

Why use Force-Free dog training?

You may see trainers achieving quick results with intimidation, the use of force as they invoke fear, panic and punish the animal. So, if we get results with balanced training, why change? Not only is balanced training inhumane and an outdated method, but it has also been proven to see short term results that do not last.

When positive reinforcement is used, dogs learn to connect a desired action with rewards (food, treats and toys) and/or praise. By providing dogs with consistent rules and a fixed structure, they’re being taught to understand what’s expected of them. By promptly rewarding them for any desired behaviours, it greatly increases the likelihood of them repeating those behaviours over and over again in the future.

Force-free training also involves teaching dogs proper manners without pain, threats, intimidation, force or coercion. It’s accomplished without the use of choke chains, pinch, prong and shock collars, physical manipulation to change their position, pushing or pulling them by the leash or collar, and kicking or hitting them with an object, a foot or a hand in a misguided effort to win their compliance.

Negative punishment: the process of ignoring or correcting unwanted behaviours — is also an integral part of force-free training. For example: Ignoring a dog’s persistent barking for attention lets them know that their behaviour won’t get them either the attention or the reward they’re seeking. Shouting at them, on the other hand, actually rewards and reinforces their barking. Time-outs are also a form of negative punishment, as are turning and walking away when a dog jumps up. If a dog’s accustomed to being rewarded for good behaviour, the absence of positive attention “tells” them that they’ve done something wrong.

Force Free Dog Training Does Not Use:

  • Fear to overwhelm and bully a dog.
  • Pain to cause a dog to shut down emotionally.
  • Anger to break your dog’s trust.
  • Bribery (only) to make working with a dog easier.
  • Allowing a dog to run wild and do what it wants because ‘it is having fun.’
  • Quick fix methods that do not correct the behaviour.
Force Free Dog Training Is:
  • You and the dog learn together.
  • You are both accountable for your actions and reactions.
  • Training is a lifestyle.
  • The dog is allowed to say ‘no please’.
  • It is based on respect, humane expectations, and relationship.
  • Based on repetition until the dog ‘gets it’.

Article supplied by Humane Animal Rescue Australia

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