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A Pawsitive Cultural Shift in Dog Training

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The Inquisitive Canine is a force-free zone.  Albert Einstein once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” We agree – and find that training your dog is a fun way to strengthen your bond through collaborative understanding. We are proud to be part of the pawsitive cultural shift in dog training, using methods that enhance the human-canine bond and help move society forward into a mutually respectful space between dogs and humans. 

Yes, force-free training can teach good manners, but even more importantly, techniques that reward and motivate can also help build self-confidence and enrich the lives of dogs, so they can thrive. A focus on fostering behaviors that you want through positive reinforcement, using whatever rewards best motivate your inquisitive canine, can help teach dogs they have control over their own decisions and the outcomes of their behavior choices. Simply, when dogs are rewarded for behaviors we want, they are more likely to perform those behaviors, while less likely to perform the unwanted ones.

Your dog’s behavior at home and in public is determined by dynamic factors that are often overlooked in traditional ‘obedience’ training. Positive reinforcement, reward-based training methods, on the other hand, are rooted in the scientific methods of animal learning.  This approach is not new by any means. A force-free approach to animal training and husbandry has been around for decades, used successfully throughout the world in a variety of contexts. 

A Pawsitive Approach for Positive Results™ brings out the best in your best friend using learning theory and mental stimulation. Training with your dog, using the most effective, humane techniques possible, enhances your relationship by strengthening the bond you share. When we make learning fun – for teacher and teacher’s pet – training isn’t a chore, it’s enriching for all involved!

We understand that pet parents need to be able to physically handle their dogs and keep them safe. Force-free methodology and philosophy focuses on educating guardians on how to get the behaviors they want using friendly, fun methods. Starting out on the right paw, from the beginning, helps save resources – especially the emotional ones. Teaching dogs what we want and motivating them to make good behavior choices can prevent having to fix things down the road. 

Unlike using an aversive approach, we’ve found the humane, force-free approach is both effective and easy to employ once you and your inquisitive canine are properly trained. “Aversive training methods can be dangerous to people as well as animals and pose a threat to animal welfare by inhibiting learning, increasing behaviors related to fear and distress, and causing direct injury,” according to the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists’ Position Statement  on Humane, Effective and Evidence Based Training. 

Humane Pet Gear

For this reason, we look forward to the day that pet supply providers do away with aversive equipment such as electronic collars, choke chains, prong collars, and citronella sprays. And perhaps that day is not too far off. In October 2020, when Petco announced that they would end the sale of some electronic shock collars, they stated, “Today, we encourage anyone using or looking for shock collars to consider training with treats instead of electricity and partnership instead of pain.” 

In today’s cultural shift, guardians seek positive and nurturing ways to reinforce behaviors they want, while limiting and preventing inappropriate behaviors — without dogs wearing uncomfortable devices. Choke, prong, shock, and Citronella® collars are considered “correction-based” devices that place emphasis on the behaviors you don’t want. They can result in injury, pain, and fear-related behavioral side effects. In other words, aversive methods can backfire. One day a dog might not tolerate it and turn around and retaliate, leading to a bite — and an unraveled bond. 

It’s encouraging to see more and more pet parents empowered to make choices that keep dogs safe and comfortable. And, this month, we celebrate Responsible Animal Guardians, like you, who join in our social mission and use humane, force-free products and techniques when interacting with your canine companions. With a focus on understanding canine behavior, you provide for the overall physical and mental well-being of your pets. 

Dedicated to strengthening the human canine bond, force-free methods help us work together to make the world a friendlier place for inquisitive canines. 

Thank you for joining us in being a voice, hero, best friend, and advocate for all the dogs out there and thank you for being a responsible animal guardian!

Resources and References

ASPCA – Definition of Responsible Guardian

Elephant Aid – Target Training [Video]

May is Responsible Guardian Month

Stop the Shock: Petco Ends the Sale of Electronic “Shock” Collars, Firmly Establishes itself as the Health and Wellness Company for Pets

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) – Position Statement on Humane, Effective and Evidence Based Training

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