In a perfect world, our pets would be able to come with us everywhere! Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. But we can still dream, right? When you have to leave your pets at a pet resort, boarding facility or even with your trusted vet, your pet may experience fear and anxiety.
Who is Fear Free?
Thankfully, in 2016, Fear Free was founded. Fear Free is an online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, and pet owners. You can find courses that have been shaped and written by some of the most respected veterinary and pet experts from around the world. Through the use of careful listening and industry expertise, Fear Free has become one of the most transformative initiatives. You can learn more about Fear Free education materials and how you can become a Fear Free professional or home.
What is Fear Free?
Fear free is a positive reinforcement program that redirects negative behavior through positive reinforcement, bonding, and lots of patience. This approach has been proven to relieve anxiety for pets and pet owners.
Why Should You be Interested in Fear Free?
Fear Free is a unique and special program but why should you care? Becoming Fear Free certified allows you to grow your business by providing a competitive advantage in a continuously competitive market. Fear Free education, certification tools, products, and services help you care and provide for better in a way that is better for you and other pets.
Fear Free Elements
Like any relationship, a positive and healthy relationship is built on trust. The bonding element of Fear Free allows you and your pet to develop a rapport with a new pet care professional. How do you react when meeting new strangers? Just like humans, pets put up walls when it comes to new people coming into their home or being around them. Pets do best with familiarity and routine and the bonding element of Fear Free helps establish healthy bonding between pet care providers, you, and your pet.
As you know, pets don’t always do what we want them to do! But do you always do what you’re supposed to? No. So, have some compassion and patience! The patience element of Fear Free helps eliminate the negativity and fear that comes with disobedience. Through patience and high-value rewards, the Fear Free approach eliminates the anxiety that comes with activities like medication time, going potty, interacting with new people or other pets, etc.
Your pet is your furbaby and while you very much consider them your child, they’re still an animal; and with that come certain behaviors and actions that are difficult to reprogram. Fear Free helps train you to anticipate that negative behavior and redirect to positive behavior. Behavior mitigation or redirection can cause aggression in some pets. This is a perfectly normal reaction. To redirect, Fear Free recommends distraction that is more exciting than whatever else is going on. Move into your pet’s line of sight, offer high-value treats, use your doggy voice (you know the one), and give physical cues that you want to play instead. Behavior redirection is all about redirecting the reactive energy into a positive reaction.
Pets don’t have the duality thinking comprehension that humans do. Yet, somehow, in some ways, they still manage to outsmart us. Which is exactly why we love them so much! When your pet is acting up a mix of negative and positive reinforcement will only prove to confuse your pet. Only engage in one form of reinforcement at a time and never fall to negative reinforcement. Your pets are learning every day and they can’t speak and say sorry. Positive reinforcement looks like treats, extra scritches, and words of positive affirmation. Neutral reinforcement is when you turn away from a pet that won’t stop jumping on you. You don’t engage with the negative behavior in a negative or positive manner. You simply remain neutral.
Fear Free Kinn Kleanbowl
Did you know that owner and founder Alex McKinnon is certified Fear Free? Additionally, Kleanbowl is Fear Free recommended and the only pet food and water bowl they recommend. Learn more about the Fear Free benefits of Kleanbowl here.
Finding Fear Free Near You
Whether you’d like to find a Fear Free facility or want to become Fear Free certified yourself, you can learn more at www.fearfreepets.com.