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"Imagine for a moment that you and your friend are returning to your car after a movie one night.  The parking lot is dark and you have your keys in your hand - but as two men in dark jackets separate and move to flank you, you realize your keys won't be a bit of help.  One man has a knife in his hand, the other points a gun.  You're seventy feet from the theater door and no one else is near you.  Your heart is racing, your breath is catching, your mind is whirling. 

And then your friend asks, "Hey, what's seven times eight?"

Under normal circumstance, you'd be able to answer this question in reasonable time.  But in this situation, you're likely to ignore the friend completely (if you even hear the question), or perhaps even snap that it's a stupid request as such a dire moment! ... 

... That's what's happening inside the agitated dog." -- Laura VanArendonk Baugh KPACTP CPDT-KA (Author of Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out)



My training style follows a force free, emotion based approach. 

Force Free trainers strategize their training protocol based on a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a behavior change in dogs. In the vast majority of cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal's environment, physical and emotional well-being and operant and classical conditioning such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counter-conditioning.

The short version: I don't use pain to train, I use science.

Forceful methods may work in the short term but research has shown them to cause more harm than good, and can ultimately make the problems worse.  The risks associated with painful and fear inducing methods, like pinch, prong, and choke collars, dominance rolls, shock collars, etc, lie not just in the pain (and these devices are painful no matter what anyone tells you. If they weren't painful they wouldn't work at suppressing behavior) but in the associations created. A dog may be pulling on a walk but the question is why? If he is pulling because he wants to play with a group of children down the street and he is met with a painful pinch around the neck we have no way of controlling whether he will connect the pain with the pulling or the children. There is a 50% risk the dog may wind up associating kids (or other dogs, or cats, or even humans in passing) with pain resulting in a crippling anxiety and reactivity issues. These methods work great at suppressing behavior but they don't do much to treat the cause of the problem to begin with. And there's a good chance the behavior will just re-emerge later in other ways.


Force Free training is scientifically based and has been proven effective through years of research, not just with dogs, but with most other animals too (including fish!) Using reward based training makes the whole process fun for everyone involved. When we see a behavior we want to change we ask why. We find the root of the problem. And we treat the cause, not the effect.

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