What is Fear-Free Training?

Also known as positive reinforcement, the fear-free method is a reward based approach to animal training.

This technique is based on rewarding desired behaviors rather than punishing unwanted ones.

Developed by Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian, and a team of experts in animal behavior, training, and veterinary medicine. The approach emphasizes the use of positive reinforcement to achieve cooperative and willing behavior from animals.
Focuses on creating a positive, stress-free learning environment for animals, rather than relying on fear, pain or intimidation to force compliance.
Accredited Research has shown that animals learn better and retain information for longer when trained with positive reinforcement techniques. This training method encourages animals to learn through positive experiences and rewards, which helps bound confidence and trust in their trainers.
Positive reinforcement training has proven to strengthen the animal-human bond through building trust, communication and mutual respect.
Fear-free training avoids the use of aversives, which reduces the risk of aggression and helps to promote a more peaceful and harmonious relationship between animals and humans.

Key Principles and Why it Works.

Prioritize the emotional well-being of animals to reduce anxiety, fear and stress.

Positive Reinforcement

A focus on rewarding desired behaviors, encouraging animals to repeat those actions willingly.

Gentle Handling

Prioritize tender and respectful handling of animals, reducing fear and anxiety.

Stress Reduction

Minimize stress and fear triggers during training or handling, such as; calming techniques, providing a comforting habitat or allowing the animal to have control on choices whenever possible.

Tailored Solutions

Prioritize understanding the emotional needs of the animal. Respecting their individual characteristics; tailoring training programs to suit the needs and personality of each unique case.

Safe and Calming Environment

This is crucial and may involve using pheromone diffusers, low-stress handling techniques or providing a quiet area where the animal can feel relaxed.

Counter Conditioning

Gradually exposing animals to previously fear-inducing stimuli in a controlled and positive way. This helps them to develop a positive association with their triggers.

Fear-Free methods of training can be applied to all aspects of pet companionship, from having a more peaceful visit at the vet or grooming sessions, to everyday training, socialization and overall care.

By promoting positive experiences and reducing fear or stress, this method of training helps create a trusting and cooperative relationship between animals and their caretakers.

What are some common signs of behavior issues?

To observe, evaluate and identify the root cause of the animals behavioral concerns starts with understanding the symptoms. Some common issues can be:
  • Barking excessively or reactively
  • Hard staring, lip curling, air snapping
  • Nipping or biting
  • Shaking, pacing, whining, or barking,
  • Cowering, hiding, or freezing,
  • Snapping, growling, or biting
  • Chewing on furniture, shoes, or other objects,
  • Digging in the yard, carpet, or couch,
  • Getting into the trash, ingesting potentially dangerous items
  • Chewing, digging, or destroying objects,
  • Barking, howling, or whining,
  • Urinating or defecating indoors
Understanding this helps us build the foundations to develop and implement the most effective behavioral modification plan which addresses the specific challenges the dog is experiencing.
If you’re not sure, we’d love to help answer any of your questions. Schedule a quick call with one of our qualified trainers today.
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