We are committed to using only force-free training methods that will not harm your dog or your relationship with your dog. We actively oppose the use of aversives such as slip leads, electric shock collars, spray collars, and choke or prong collars, and avoid the use of punishment in our training.
Force-Free dog training is all about building communication with your dog, using sound scientific principles based on operant and classical conditioning. These principles were developed by world-renowned psychologists, Pavlov & Skinner, and can be used to teach behaviours to any mammal or bird.
There has been a serious misunderstanding of the nature of how dogs learn over the last several decades, and dominance theory took hold, teaching us that we had to show our dog who was 'the leader'. I grew up being taught these theories too, but luckily for our dogs we now know that we can simply show them what we want, rather than forcing them into submission. A relationship based on fear and intimidation will never give your dog the life they deserve.
It wasn't really until my university years that I began to properly understand the psychology of learning; I completed my Bachelors of Psychology in 2010, which included both basic and advanced courses in Neuroscience and the Psychology of Learning. In these classes, I taught rats to press buttons for food, walk a tightrope, and even play a tune on the piano! When I went home to my dogs, I could apply the same principles of learning to teach my dogs their manners, as well as various tricks; our learning sessions were so much more enjoyable (for all of us!) when we used these force-free methods of shaping behaviours than when I had previously tried to teach them using dominance and submission.
I have continued my learning over the years and received my accreditation from the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) certifying that I am a qualified force-free dog trainer. I am also a member of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter and UK Sniffer Dogs. I am fully DBS checked with an Enhanced DBS, have an up to date certification in Canine First Aid & CPR and am covered by a suitable insurance policy.
Enriching our dogs' lives
Our hope is that all dogs will lead long, happy, active, and enriched lives with their loving and doting humans. Enrichment activities are a wonderful way of introducing activities that stimulate our dogs' minds and bodies.
Enrichment activities draw on basic dog behaviour and create acceptable opportunities for them to practise this behaviour. While most of us would be devastated to see our dogs tear apart and eat a small animal, we can allow them to practise this behaviour with treats wrapped up in cardboard, or let them de-stuff their soft toys. We can allow them to sniff by taking them on 'sniffari' walks - following them wherever their nose leads (as long as it's safe and legal!), or by playing 'find it' games with treats and toys. If your dog is a chaser, we create this outlet with ball games or flirt poles. If your dog is a digger, you can provide sandpits or a specified flower bed that they can dig in, and hide special toys and treats in their designated digging area to encourage them to continue this behaviour in the desired spot.
Enrichment isn't complicated, but it is crucial for your dog to have a positive state of mind! Check out some enrichment activities on our Enrichment page.
Improving your relationship
At Better Buddies, our most basic premise is that we want to improve the relationship between yourselves and your dogs. We do this by improving your ability to communicate with your dog, improving your ability to read your dog, and helping you understand and create safe outlets for all of your dog's most primal needs.
We want to provide a space where you can learn new activities together, teach your dog your expectations, and most of all, have fun together!