Public Policy: Acceptable Training/Behavior Modification Policies, Training Aids and Methods

Public Policy: Acceptable Training/Behavior Modification Policies, Training Aids and Methods

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) advocates the use of reward based training techniques that emphasize positive reinforcement, humane treatment of all animals and the least aversive practices possible. These are accepted practices, widely endorsed by the humane community and animal behavior professionals.1

Training and behavior modification should be a positive experience for the animal and the human, and ARL works to educate the public on alternatives to the use of force, dominance, pain or fear. Science has proven that the theory of dominance in dog training is invalid and often employs aversive techniques. Trainers should use positive practices that are soundly based in the scientific and objective study of animal behavior and knowledge of learning theory. The use of aversive techniques should be reserved for situations in which consistent reward based methods have failed and the welfare or life of the animal is at risk. In these cases, the least invasive form of aversive training, training aides, or methods are advocated and should be administered only by a professional experienced in humane training practices.

Therefore, the Animal Rescue League of Boston will:

• Educate our staff and volunteers so that our animals receive the best behavioral care possible, while practicing positive training methods with all of our shelter animals.
• As an organization, continually employ or seek guidance from a person educated in the behavioral field and that ARL continues to stay current in the application of animal behavior within the shelter environment.
• Continue to provide high quality community training classes so that owners of dogs can learn how to train their pets in the most humane and effective ways possible.
• Support other organizations, training clubs and associations that follow similar philosophies.
• Educate the community and clients on how to best train animals with a humane and scientific approach.

View ARL’s full list of Animal Welfare Policy and Position Statements

[1] https://avsab.org/resources/position-statements/