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Advocates for the Use of Force-Free Training and Pet Equipment

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The Inquisitive Canine and TransPaw Gear are proudly participating in Project Trade, an advocacy program that promotes the use of force-free pet equipment. Recently, Inquisitive Canine founder Joan Hunter Mayer and fellow Pet Professional Guild member Pam Shultz chatted about this partnership and what it means for dogs and the people who love them.

PS: Project Trade is the Pet Professional Guild’s international advocacy program that asks pet guardians to “swap gear to make a kinder world for pets.” Why are you participating in this initiative?

JHM: One reason I became a trainer was because I wanted to bring humane, force-free methods to dogs and the people of my community. I founded The Inquisitive Canine to help raise awareness and be part of a cultural shift. Can aversive methods work to decrease certain behaviors? Well, yes, they might, sometimes. But, at what expense? There are too many side effects. Not only that, but they don’t teach the dog what you want! How can we say shocking dogs teaches them the right behavior?

Dogs are very good at communicating with us, but they also need a voice – people who will stand up for them, speak on their behalf, and help bring about change to help them thrive.

PS: That’s very inspiring! How can dog guardians participate in Project Trade?

JHM: Any pet parents who want to swap out their (unneeded, unnecessary, unwanted, outdated) training gear that is designed to change behavior or care for pets through pain or fear is invited to participate. At this time, we are accepting choke collars, prong collars, shock collars (aka: e-collars — not to be confused with Elizabethan collars), and bark collars.

PS: What is your trade-in incentive for these items?

project-trade-pet-professional-guild-flyerJHM: Well, say people had chosen those types of collars because they were having issues with walking their dogs. If we ask them to trade in the old equipment, we need to offer a better alternative that is incompatible with training with force, fear or pain. Since guardians will need walking equipment, we’ve partnered with our sister company TransPaw Gear! Those trading in their old items will receive:

  • A 15% discount on the Happy Harness 2.0 (*15% coupon max per person per order, no matter how many items are traded in)
  • Plus 5% off a “Leash Walking and More” training package, which is three training sessions, including:
    • The initial consult
    • Two additional sessions (to be used within one month of signing up)
    • A training plan and handouts
    • Email support between sessions

Ultimately, we want to set up dog parents for success and not leave them floundering! So, let us help you teach your dogs to learn the skills needed for everyone to feel comfortable, safe and successful!

PS: Amazing! So participants can get rid of their old shock, prong or choke collars and get discounts on humane gear and force-free training sessions. That’s a lot! Are there any other  benefits to people, their families and of course, their inquisitive canines?

JHM: Yes! Teaching dogs through humane, force-free methods is the ideal way to work with animals, as it enhances the human-canine bond. Training without force, fear or pain  promotes a stronger bond, based on love and trust. Modern, scientifically based, training techniques and tools teach dogs skills they can use throughout their lives. This approach even broadens the number of opportunities for where dogs can go and who they can spend time with. Research has shown (see Resources) that animals who are trained using humane, force-free methods are happier, have lower levels of stress, are more social, learn more willingly and easily and enjoy doing more things in and out of the home. These methods allow pets to thrive in their environments and learn independence because they have more self-confidence and trust their people and their surroundings. This resilience can make life easier for everyone involved, including members of the community.

PS: So then, regarding public safety and dog bite prevention, are there benefits to swapping out aversive gear?

JHM: As stated in the PPG position statement on the use of pet correction devices, using aversive techniques can cause a variety of unwanted side effects including redirected aggression as displayed by biting. This can occur when the owner least expects it, as dogs will likely, at some point, reach their threshold of tolerance.

PS: Good to know. Project Trade sounds like a great opportunity for pet parents looking for a responsible, safe and fun way to train their dogs. How did you hear about this idea?

JHM: Being a member of the Pet Professional Guild, I became aware of this program through their announcements. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to be a part of their cause for change. As a profession, when it comes to training with aversive gear, we know better so we should do better.


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