Force free dog training

A lot of people believe that force free dog training, all-positive, reward only, treat based training is the only way to train… the be all and end all… it’s not.

For some dogs just giving them treats isn’t going to work! It’s not going to stop them lunging at other dogs, pulling you to the side to sniff or pee on a tree… For some, it would be near impossible to train through an entirely positive all reward, force free training system.  The reason is, we have and live with our dogs in a place of distractions.  All-positive training is derived from animals that were in controlled environments… labs, tables, boxes, swimming pools… That is why most (if not all) dogs ‘listen great when they are at home’ – but as soon as you take them out, they have selective hearing!

Does positive force free dog training work? YES! And we recommend everyone to train with food from the beginning! But will it work when a dog is distracted and more interested in playing with another dog? Only to a degree!  If the dog’s distraction level or desire to do something else is greater than their desire for food, they won’t listen for the food… simple as that.


The contrast to force free dog training, is NOT force.  Certain equipment is not a bias to a method, pinch collars & e-collars is just a form of communication for owners to have in their toolbox to maintain control with their dog.

Absolutely, and at G3 Dogs we always start with this – food, treats, play and lots of praise.

The differences is that we can are capable of training dogs that have no interest in eating treats outside, or playing with toys.  At the same time, these methods do not require starving the dog, or only feeding the dog’s meals out on walks.  The dogs, and owners, can maintain their normal schedule and perform all the training during their daily routine and walks.

As dog trainers, we don’t get many calls from people who have dogs that are highly motivated for food… because, these would be the dogs that are more willing to listen, more focused on the reward at hand and therefore less distracted… There comes an age though, around 8-12 months where many dogs start to mature and enjoy chasing, running, and scenting more than they like food.

Rather than going into a debate about what is ‘ethically’ correct, force free dog training vs everything else, this article below is from the CO-FOUNDER of ‘clicker training’ – Gary Wilkes.

The term clicker training over the years has come to popularity as an all-positive force free type of training, assuming (and in some ways deceiving people) that this method can deliver results in the real world.  The fact is, some dogs that have highly undesirable behaviours are better trained with the experience of ‘aversive control’, because in many circumstances a treat just won’t be able to ‘stop’ or redirect the dog.