It’s hard for dog owners to decide where they should train their puppy or dog, because wherever you look trainers are using words like engagement, balanced training, reward based training and training with kindness, or in some cases dominance based, pack leader training.
What does all this really mean?
It can mean all sorts of things. For example, trainers could say they use reward based training, but before they give the reward they also use punishment. When looking for a dog trainer what dog owners really need to look for are trainers that use ‘Force Free Training’.
What is Force Free Training?
Force free training means exactly that, no force or punishment is used to train your dog. Force and punishment can be defined as yanking or checking a lead, using verbal or physical punishment, or even worse using training collars that buzz, make a noise or give the dog an electric shock. Even so called ‘training collars’ and choke chains are a punishment for your dog because every time these collars tighten your dog will feel fear and panic as it impedes their normal breathing routine. When thinking about how to train your dog, anything that causes your dog pain, discomfort or fear is deemed as using Force.
Why is force free dog training better for you and your dog?
Our dogs are our family, so none of us would ever chose to make our dog feel fearful or worried or in any discomfort. The good news is, that’s where force free dog training can help you.
Imagine you’re a dog! I ask you to sit and when you do, I give you your most favourite food or toy in the world. Are you going to sit when I ask you again? OF COURSE, YOU ARE!!!
Force free training re-enforces good behavior using the things that your dog loves the most. These tend to be Food, Toys and affection!
Force free trainers will use a food lure to shape and train the behavior first. Once your dog understands what they have to do the food lure becomes a verbal or hand signal cue and the food follows after a marker word like ‘good’. It’s as easy as that!
Why is force free training more effective than other methods?
Imagine this, your dog is happy, free of fear, force, pain or discomfort, relaxed and enjoying training. All of those things mean your dog trusts you and you have a fantastic lifelong connection that will grow stronger over time. Combine this with food, toys or affection as a reward and your dog is definitely more likely to want to do the behaviour you are asking. Most importantly they will do the behaviour because they genuinely want to. Not because they are worried about the consequences if they don’t.
For example, if someone forced me to put my bins out each week, I would hate doing it. I would feel pressurised or fearful of what might happen when I don’t do it. If someone asked me to put the bins out and didn’t force me and then rewarded me with chocolate when I did do it. I would be running to put the bins out every week without question!!! This is how your dog feels when they are trained force free!
Force free training not only creates a great relationship with your dog, but it also gives sustainable lifelong training that WORKS!