The Anti-Aversives Animal Behavior or Training Professional
In addition to possessing the necessary expertise (including depth and breadth of experience, study, and credentials), an anti-aversives animal behavior & training professional is a professional who provides their services 1) refusing to use pain, force, intimidation, or fear to rehabilitate / behavior modify / train. This means the professional will not use, recommend, or condone aversive equipment or methods -- for example, no shock collars (aka e-collars, stimulation units, remote collars, remote communication devices, ultrasonic devices, etc.), anti-bark devices, prong collars, choke collars or other equipment designed to choke, no corporal punishment or other corrections, no shake cans or other startle equipment, no squirting, leash popping, collar dragging, scolding, yelling, etc., AND who 2) believes they must do everything possible to avoid inadvertent aversives for your dog, WHILE 3) helping you to achieve an anti-aversives lifestyle for your dog.
An anti-aversives professional is committed to the positive approach, not an approach based on "balanced" (indicates aversives are used), "pack leader," or "dominance" type beliefs and misconceptions. The "consequences" an anti-aversives professional provides are keeping the dog safe, protected, and happy, helping the animal feel safe and protected, and providing positive, pleasant (to the animal) conditioning since this is what evidence-based research and practice have shown will continue to improve behavior and well-being. An expert behavior & training professional understands that, especially for fearful dogs, consequences do not need to be aversive, nor should they be, and such a behavior & training professional does not need or choose to implement aversive consequences in order to help an animal, least of all in order to help a fearful animal.
While it is impossible to be a truly "fear free" professional, since fear is at least largely an emotion, and emotions of others are not within one's absolute control. Furthermore, The Fearful Dogs Project believes that some practices commonly taught and accepted elsewhere are not actually "fear free"practices. For example, restraining an animal rather than implementing cooperative care and handling will almost always result in fear for the animal, since to restrain is to force, and being forced, especially physically, is very likely to result in fear. Therefore, except in the case of 'life and limb' emergencies, even small aversives such as restraint should be avoided. There are other examples; if you'd like to learn more, contact us, and consider our Fear Abatement Mastery program.