Our Training Approach

At ThinkDogs Training & Behaviour, we pride ourselves on using the most progressive and humane dog training techniques. We will never use methods that rely on fear, discomfort or pain with your dog, and are committed to ethical, modern dog training.

As recommended by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour, we use reward-based training methods which are not associated with detrimental effects to animal welfare. There are many risks associated with using coercive training, including creating fear and aggression.

A Merle Shetland Sheepdog catching a treat out of the air
The first task in training any animal is finding out what motivates it. No motivation, no training.
- Jean Donaldson

Training You Can Trust

We are proud to advocate for humane training techniques that are not only kind, but proven and effective. As members of the Pet Professional Guild, you can be reassured that we use a force-free approach and that your pet will feel safe and happy during the training.

Dogs learn by consequences. There are two main types of consequences that can be used to motivate dogs and change their behaviour: good stuff (rewards) and bad stuff (aversives). Some trainers use aversives as motivators in training, but this is at the risk of creating fallout such as anxiety and aggression. At ThinkDogs, we only use reward-based techniques. Using rewards that the dog likes in training creates positive associations with both the training process and you, the trainer, and does not carry the risks of aversive methods.

Choosing a Professional

If a trainer claims that the dog is behaving out of respect, leadership or dominance, there is a hidden motivator that has been used in the training, and usually in these instances it is fear, discomfort or avoidance. Dog training is an unregulated industry, so it is important to make sure when hiring a professional that they are qualified and committed to ethical training practices. Dr Zazie Todd writes about How to Choose a Dog Trainer on her blog Companion Animal Psychology.

If you see an animal trainer offering any guarantee to ‘fix’ your dog, proceed with caution. Behaviour can be improved significantly with the implementation of good training, management and behaviour modification, alongside treating any medical issues and ensuring the animals’ needs are being met, but there are no 100% guarantees. An ethical trainer will not make these claims.

A dog's paw next to a person's hand

For further reading on why we opt to train without the use of force and aversives, you can read the AVSAB position statement on humane dog training here

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Logo