Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley promotes force-freeĀ animal training and discourages the use of pain, fear, or coercion to modify or manageĀ animal behavior. Our team exclusively uses and teaches reward-based, positive reinforcement training techniques. Our goal is to provide pet guardians with training strategies that provide engaging, safe and effective interaction between pets and people. We rely on positive reinforcement for manners training and utilize force-free behavior modification and managementĀ strategies for dogs and cats in need of rehabilitation.

To ensure happy and healthy relationships between pets and people, we rely on positive, reward-based training techniques to encourage appropriate behavior and foster a foundation of trust and enjoyment. At the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, we use a variety of rewards including treats, playtime with favorite toys and other animals, and opportunities for outdoor play to encourage appropriate behavior. We believe this is the most efficient method for teaching polite behavior and ensures a successful relationship between you and yourĀ animal companion.Ā  We wholly believe thatĀ training should be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you!

Our Technique

In pet dog training, we encourage behaviors we want (sitting when neighbors visit) and fade-out behaviors we are less thrilled about (jumping when neighbors arrive). The dividing line between traditional ā€œold schoolā€ training and a progressive, positive-based approach rests on the decision to use either aversive, forceful techniques and tools, or non-aversive, engaging techniques and tools to accomplish our training goals.

Truly positive trainers embrace non-aversive training methods and rely heavily on positive reinforcement to encourage and promoteĀ desirable behavior ā€“ sitting for greeting, chewing on appropriate chew toys, and any number of ā€œobedienceā€ type behaviors.Ā Since theĀ advent of positive training methods, there has been a scientific recommendation andĀ culturalĀ mind-shift away from intimidation and force as a method to achieve compliance. We have changed our focus from ā€œhow do I get my dog to stop this behavior?ā€ to ā€œhow do I get him to start doing this instead?ā€. Positive trainers have learned to reframe their expectations of pet dogs (and cats and all other mammals)Ā with the goal of teaching dogs to work cooperatively and enthusiastically with the guardian. Armed with this knowledge, you are now equipped to make training decisions that will determine the future of your relationship with your dog.

Positive, force-free training does not use:

  • Fear, intimidation or coercion.
  • Pain or pressure.
  • Shock, choke, pinch or prong collars.
  • Hitting, yelling, throwing or shaking things (like penny cans) at the learner (animal).

Positive, force-free training is:

  • Humane and based on rewards, respect and choice.
  • Empowerment through managing the learning environment.
  • A mutual conversation between the teacher and the learner (animal). The learner is allowed to say “no”, “not right now”, “I can’t”, or “I’m overwhelmed”.
  • Productive and science-based – we get results!
  • Fun for ALL participants – both trainers and learners.

HSBV is committed to positive-reinforcement, reward-based and force-free methods for all shelter and community animals we serve.