Psychology can be defined as “the science of mind and behavior.” So, dog training IS a form of science, and science is ever evolving. Force-free science-based trainers must keep up with this science. Once they become professional dog trainers, they must constantly educate themselves on the latest research about dog behavior and training techniques.

This evidence is what is called “empirical evidence”—it has been experimented and retested using the scientific method. “Anecdotal evidence” is based on non-scientific observations. A statement such as, “This worked with my other dog so that’s why I do it,” is a prime example of using anecdotal evidence—it’s based off one or a few personal experiences, rather than scientific data.

We know that cigarettes cause cancer based on empirical evidence. Just because someone smokes cigarettes all of his or her life, and never gets cancer does not mean that cigarettes do not cause cancer. The same concept applies with dog training. Just because Fido responded to something does not mean that Cooper will. This is another reason as to how positive force-free science-based dog trainers can help pet parents and dogs.

There was a time when people did not believe that dogs could think. That sounds insane now, doesn’t it? There was also a time when people did not believe dogs had complex emotions like humans. That has also been proven to be false. Then, there was that long period of time that dogs were believed to be pack animals that were constantly struggling over hierarchy. Dog owners were taught to “dominate” their dogs by using physical force so that the dogs would understand that the humans were “alphas.”

Well, science, has, yet again, proven that dogs are not pack animals and they are not seeking human (and world) domination! We now know that dogs do what works for them—a lot like humans, really. This is why reward-based training is so effective, with no negative side effects—unlike old-school dominance-theory-based dog training.

Hiring a force-free science-based trainer will help you save time, stress, and money. It is always best to be proactive, rather than reactive. Just as it is easier for us to develop a habit than it is to break an established habit, it’s the same with dog training. It is easier to teach Fido acceptable behaviors and reward him for those behaviors, than it is to physically punish him for unwanted behaviors. So, don’t think twice about it. If you have a dog, or you are getting a dog, find a good POSITIVE, FORCE-FREE, and SCIENCE-BASED dog trainer!

Here are a few websites that I recommend to find a dog trainer near you!

Until next time…Happy Training!

Britney Blanchette Pitre, CPDT-KA
Bons Chiens Dog Training, LLC.

a Ruff Life is a monthly column featured in the Jambalaya News and on, read more great articles from these great publications here.