Initiative for force-free dog training



“This dog needs a firm hand, otherwise he'll dance on your nose” or “Your dog doesn't obey because he has no respect for you” - have you heard such statements? Maybe a trainer even advised you to give your dog a tug on the leash or threaten him with body language and you actually didn't have a good feeling about it? Then you are right here. Because your feeling was right (if you want to know why - you can find background information here). It is neither necessary nor effective to intimidate dogs and inflict pain. On these pages you will find information about scientifically based training and dog trainers who meet our code of conduct.


Photo: Anita Ziegler


The aim of the Initiative for Force-free Dog Training is to make available to a wide audience a science-based, ethical and empathetic way of living and working with dogs, above all during their training. The Initiative for Force-free Dog Training is a combined effort (see position paper and code of conduct) by qualified professionals, whose methods correspond to current scientific knowledge (756 people to date, 04.05.2024), together with international organisations such as the Swiss Veterinary Society for Behavioural Medicine, The Pet Professional Guild, The Pet Dog Trainers of Europe, Foundation for the Animal in Law (Stiftung für das Tier im Recht) to name but a few.




Our aims in detail:


  • To sensitise the public to the use of force in training, and to the way dogs are treated in daily life: to recognise where force begins, what forms it takes and why it should never be used - even, and most particularly, in cases involving behavioural issues.
  • To spread knowledge about the methods used by trainers, such as well-known TV trainers, in their broadcasts and videos. The intention is to enable individuals to make informed decisions, based on facts, about choosing to support this treatment of dogs or not (such as not buying tickets to events or purchasing publications.)
  • To lobby the authorities in countries where several aversive tools are forbidden by law (e.g. Switzerland, Germany and Austria) to prohibit such trainers’ public shows, as they patently violate these laws as is clear from the content of the videos.


Introduction to the initiative for force-free dog training

Photo: Michael Magee