Our philosophy

ARF Ontario believes in the use of positive reinforcement training only.

Positive reinforcement is when you give a dog something they like in order to increase the possibility of future behavior.  For example, you can give a dog a cookie for a sit, or give them praise and attention for resting quietly, or throw a ball for a great recall.  The dog learns what you want them to do.

Positive Punishment, and Negative Reinforcement are NOT endorsed or practiced by ARF.  Although people may have had success with methods that incorporate their use, it has been widely proven that the use of aversive carries a significant risk of side effects and behavior problems.  Examples of these methods include leash pops (corrections), muzzle grabs, alpha rolls, prongs, ear pinches, yelling, shock collars, squirt bottles, penny cans etc.  Examples of potential fallout include fear, desensitization to the aversive, stress induced behaviors, learned helplessness, aggression and retaliation.  For example, if you want a calm dog that enjoys baths and showers, a squirt bottle used as punishment may create a dog that associates water with punishment.  You may solve the initial problem, but be prepared to have more work in the long run – no matter how mild the punishment appears.  These methods are NOT to be used on ARF canines during their stay in foster care or after their adoption.

To learn more about positive reinforcement training, see our Training Tips page.


ARF is a group of volunteers that endeavors to provide the best care possible for our rescues during their time in foster care AND after they are adopted.

One of the ways in which we have reduced the revolving door syndrome of returned dogs that so many shelters/groups face is to REQUIRE all adopters to attend training classes.

Click here to learn more about training support after adoption.