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Join the Alberta Force Free Alliance!

Becoming an Alberta Force Free Alliance member is a commitment to using force free handling and training methods in all aspects of your business. By joining, you are pledging that you and your staff will not intentionally harm or intimidate any animal in your care and will update your education in scientifically based, force free methods for companion animals.

All members must electronically sign our pledge and continue to operate as force free businesses for the duration of their membership. Members are expected to maintain professional conduct with their peers and clients. Specific requirements for approval are listed below. Once approved, you will be invoiced for your annual membership fee. The cost of membership varys based on which level of membership you choose and renewal dates are the 1st of January.


MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA

Veterinarian

  • You and your staff have completed the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA
  • Your veterinarians and staff have completed Dr. Marty Becker’s Fear Free Certification Program
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • You and your staff do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training or trainers who use these methods to your clients


Behaviour Consultants & Trainers

  • You and your staff have completed a science-based course/testing from:
  • Trainers and their staff who are unknown to the AFFA may be required to complete the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA, as well as possibly spend time shadowing an approved AFFA trainer in their area prior to final approval.
  • You and your staff do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training, including: yelling, pushing, scruffing, flooding, yanking, or anything that causes the dog to learn by being uncomfortable.
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • With devices such as head halters or martingales, clients are taught how to fit them properly and humanely, as well as introduce them slowly to create a positive relationship with the equipment.


Retail

  • You and your staff have a good understanding of how dogs learn (science based)
  • Management staff have completed the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • You and your staff do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training or trainers, behaviour specialists, boarders, or groomers who use these methods to your clients
  • Devices such as head halters, harnesses, muzzles, and martingales are sold with instructions for proper fitting so as to create a positive relationship with the equipment


Groomer

  • You and your staff have completed the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA
  • Your groomers and staff have complete Dr. Marty Becker’s Fear Free Certification Program for groomers
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • You and your staff do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training or trainers who use these methods to your clients


Rescue Organizations

  • You and your staff/volunteers have completed the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA
  • If the rescue learns that aversive or dominance-based methods are used in a foster or adoptive home, the rescue will immediately investigate and gently counsel and remind the foster/adoptive home that the rescue only supports force free, humane approaches. The rescue will recommend the assistance of a force free trainer or behaviour consultant, and remind them that insistence on using aversive techniques may result in the dog being pulled from the home.
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • You and your staff/volunteers do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training or trainers/behaviour specialists who use these methods to your clients


Day Care/Kennel/Dog Walker

  • You and your staff have completed the half day Why Force Free seminar with the AFFA
  • All staff are instructed on and expected to adhere to the use of force free handling with dogs
  • Redirection and positive attention are always applied first. Spray bottles, loud sounds (cans of pennies, air horns), and forceful techniques are only used in the case of immediate danger.
  • You do not sell or recommend aversive devices such as: air correctors; vibration, prong, or shock collars; shock mats; or any devices which emit citronella, ultrasonic or high pitched sounds, or shock to deter behaviours.
  • You and your staff do not recommend aversive or dominance based approaches to training, including: yelling, pushing, scruffing, flooding, yanking, or anything that causes the dog to learn by being uncomfortable.


The pledge

As an approved member of the Alberta Force Free Alliance, I pledge that I and my employees/volunteers are educated in or will upgrade our education through the AFFA in the latest science-based, force free methods for companion animals.

We will not intentionally harm or intimidate any animal in our care. This includes: alpha rolling, pinning, yelling, poking, scruffing, leash jerks, flooding, or the use and promotion of alpha based methodology. Aversive equipment such as, choke/prong/e-collars, electric fences, or ultrasonic bark deterrents are NOT acceptable equipment, as outlined by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. We will not promote trainers and other businesses who use and adhere to alpha-based and/or aversive methodologies.

FORCE FREE: 95% of the methods utilized with companion animals do not utilize positive punishment (anything that intentionally causes fear, harm or pain). The remaining 5% accounts for emergency situations where an animal or person could be hurt as a result, and an aversive technique may be the only way to prevent immediate harm, e.g.: a day care using a horn or fight board to break up a dog fight.

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