Equine are cognitive, intelligent creatures that experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, and joy.
All animals are subject to the same laws of applied behavior analysis (ABA.)
While tactile cues and safety equipment are a realistic necessity of caring for and training animals, any stimulus not paired with a positive stimulus is, at best, neutral and, at worst, frightening and/or painful to the animal.
Animals who learn to exhibit behaviors to escape or avoid fear or pain have by definition been subjected to an aversive stimulus.
Avoidance learning is very real, and the threat of pain is just as capable of inducing stress, fear and emotional damage as the pain itself.
If you know better – please do better!
Section One PPG Non-Negotiables.
To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Members Understand Force-Free to mean: no pain, no force, no fear and no compulsion methods are employed to train or care for an equine.
PPG promotes the use of positive operant and respondent training protocols. PPG believes that all training and behavior change programs should be conducted in a manner consistent with our Guiding principles as they promote physical and emotional well-being in pets . More information on our positions can be found in the PPG Position Statements.
Definition of Force
Any definition can never be so expansive and explicit that every possible situation is addressed. This is seen everywhere in life and most obviously in the US legal system where very often courts cannot agree on a single interpretation of what terms and definitions mean, including physical force.
Recognizing this we understand, in the context of our guiding principles and as a general framework, physical force to mean “any intentional physical act against a pet that causes psychological or physical pain, harm or damage to the pet.”
Certain equipment would be considered not appropriate under our Guiding Principles and clearly the use of many (most?) head halters, (non-knotted rope halters) and bit-less bridles would not be considered physical force under this guiding definition if 1) they are used consistent with our guiding principles, 2) they are used as intended and designed and 3) they are not used in a way that is contrary to their design and intent, i.e. not used in a manner which would cause psychological or physical pain, harm or damage."
You can also read this document here on PPG's recommended Best Practices
Section Two PPG Member’ Professional Ethics
The Pet Professional Guild Vision
A world where people and pets can live together to their mutual benefit and where pets can live and function free from physical and mental pain, stress and fear as valued family members.
The Pet Professional Guild Mission
Our mission is to help make every pet a valued member of its family and improve the relationship and the quality of life people share with their pets by:
The Guild’s Key Values