Force free dog training is a type of dog training that does not rely on the use of force or corrections. This type of training is based on positive reinforcement, which means that rewards are given for desired behaviors instead of imposing fear, intimidation, or even pain upon dogs.
Force-free dog training has gained popularity over the past 20 years or so, as more and more research has shown that dogs learn best when they are not afraid or feeling threatened. This type of training is also often seen as more humane, since it does not involve the use of physical or psychological punishment.
Applied behaviorists, veterinarians, and animal welfare organizations all support force free dog training methods. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) has even put together a list of ethical principles that all members must adhere to, one of which is “to never use aggression or intimidation in our work with dogs.”
Fortunately, dog trainers and dog owners have caught on to the fact that force free dog training is the way to go, and there are now many resources available to help people learn how to train their dogs using positive reinforcement. Fewer and fewer trainers recommend using shock collars, physical force, or aggressive behaviors to force dogs into complying with an owner’s wishes.
How to use force-free training
There are many different methods that can be used in force free dog training, but all of them focus on rewarding desired behaviors instead of punishing undesired ones.
One popular method is clicker training, which involves using a small hand-held device that makes a clicking sound to mark the precise moment when a dog performs the desired behavior. The dog is then immediately given a treat as a reward.
Other common rewards used in force free dog training include verbal praise, petting, and even just a simple game of fetch. The important thing is to find something that your dog enjoys and that will act as an effective reinforcement for the desired behavior.
It is also important to keep in mind that dogs learn best when they are in a positive state of mind. This means that you should avoid using any type of punishment, such as scolding, yelling, or physical corrections. Not only is this ineffective, but it can also damage the relationship between you and your dog.
If you are having trouble getting your dog to perform the desired behavior, it is important to seek out the help of a qualified professional dog trainer who can show you how to use force free dog training methods effectively.
Benefits of force-free training
There are many benefits to using force free dog training methods, both for the dog and for the trainer.
Dogs who are trained using positive reinforcement tend to be more confident and happy, since they are not constantly fearing punishment. This type of training can also help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, since it is based on trust and mutual respect.
Force free dog training is also very effective, since dogs are much more likely to repeat behaviors that are rewarded than those that are punished. This means that you will be able to teach your dog new tricks and behaviors more quickly and easily.
Finally, force free dog training is more humane than traditional methods that rely on the use of force. This type of training does not involve any physical or psychological punishment, which can be harmful to dogs both physically and emotionally.
Hebrew Matio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons