Alberta Force Free Alliance

"For the love of dogs, sign the pledge!"

About

Our Story

My name is Carol Neil. I am a trainer and applied dog behaviour consultant through my business Soul2Soul Dog Training. I have a dream to create a resource and directory for dog owners who are passionate about ensuring their dogs are trained and handled in a loving, force-free and humane way. Many of us have a backstory as to why we switched over from old school punitive and alpha-based training and handling methods. Mine is my beautiful dog, Cash. I was completely unaware prior to obtaining an education in the science of dog behaviour, of the devastating negative behavioural fallout and aggression these types of methods can cause in dogs. The hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life is euthanize my beloved boy. Now, my life's passion is dedicated to educating others so they do not have to follow in my footsteps and experience the same heartbreak I did. The Alberta Force Free Alliance is dedicated to Cash. Our logo is a silhouette of his profile.

Our board

I am not taking on this task alone or with a lack of education. I am a part of a small handful of people in Alberta certified as Applied Dog Behaviour Consultants under the now retired Ivan Stewart of Natural Dog who has his Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour. In addition, I have participated in classes and workshops with Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Jill Goldman, Nicole Wilde, and Grisha Stewart. Joining me, Colleen McCarvill of Diamond In The Ruff has been training force-free for many years, long before it became common knowledge that science has repeatedly researched and documented the negative side effects of training with aversives and a "pack leader" approach. Our other board members are all knowledgeable in their own rights as well as highly passionate about force free training and handling. Every one of us has had either a similar experience in the past as my own with my dog Cash or seen the devastating results first hand of what alpha, force and punitive based training and handling can do to a dog. The other board members are Dana Horniak, Donna Watts, Linda Osland, Andrea Goldsmith and Sheila Gunston.

How The Alliance Works

Dog trainers and dog related businesses can become a part of the alliance by signing the appropriate pledge (found on the pledges page). In signing this pledge, they are agreeing that neither they nor their employees will use techniques or promote training tools or trainers that inflict pain or promote physical, psychological or emotional intimidation of dogs. Once they have signed and are approved, they pay a nominal fee to join the alliance and will be listed here on our Force Free directory for consumers to make informed choices on behalf of their dogs.