What is a force free trainer?
Force free trainers are professionals who are committed to results using science based, force free methods. A force free trainer will never use a shock or e-collar, choke chains, prong collar, physical punishment, force, fear, or compulsion when working with an animal. Many of these professionals are also members of an organization called The Pet Professional Guild. This organization helps to educate pet owners and professionals about humane and science based ways of training. They offer numerous webinars each year on a variety of topics.
Being a force free trainer and member of PPG myself, I believe that science based, positive reinforcement training methods are the best way to work with an animal no matter their size, breed, behavioral issue, etc. When I use these types of methods I am able to break through with some very fearful and aggressive pets in order to gain their trust which is essential in the training process.
Building a relationship with a pet will help training be much smoother and help to prevent future problems. You may be asking why we need to build a relationship with our pets. Think about this: if you did not have a good relationship with your partner would you respect them and do what they ask of you or do things for them just because you want to? You may if they use fear tactics, but you will also be unhappy, emotionally damaged by them, as well as stressed when they are around. That state of mind is not healthy for anyone and especially not for our pets who are not able to walk away and get that break from whatever is causing the stress and fear when needed. Without a positive, healthy relationship with someone you do not have any level of respect or trust. Pets are my friends and family members so I believe it is essential to treat them with the same type of kindness as I would with any of my human friends and family members. Using positive reinforcement, force free methods, as well as making sure we are meeting the animals’ needs are essentials in my training toolbox.
Being a force free trainer is something I am proud of because I know I do not need to use physical force, fear, or intimidation when asking my pet to perform a cue or when stopping or preventing a nuisance behavior.
Always make sure you are asking questions of a trainer or behaviorist before working with them to make sure you agree with the methods that they are using for training and that any methods or tools used will not damage your relationship with your pet. If you are looking to find a force free trainer in your area visit The Pet Professional Guild website and use their search tool.