Each member organization must have a clear, transparent, and publicly available document that speaks to the acceptable methodology, equipment, and philosophy to be governed by the leadership of the individual organization.
PIAI organizations have a philosophy to not only “do good,” but to “do no harm.” Because of this ethos, PIAI organizations agree that the following equipment is, by design, intended to manipulate, change, and manage behavior by an approach using pain, force, or fear and as such is deemed non-negotiable. Shock collars, prong collars, and choke collars are not used in any way and for any purpose in the training or care of pets.
Organizational members also recognize the fault in approaching training as just a systematical operant or respondent procedure, without taking into consideration the pet’s emotional, physical, and environmental wellbeing, is counterproductive to ensuring a behaviorally sound and empowered pet.
Organization members are informed by science, guided by empathy, and governed by ethics. ® The PIAI does not promote any individual humane hierarchy but allows each professional the autonomy to determine their methodology of choice. The PIAI recognizes that organization members have pledged to approach behavior, training, and care using humane, ethical, and force-free procedures. The preferred and most prevalent approach is the use of Positive Reinforcement-based Operant and Respondent Conditioning. This approach recognizes that animals are sentient beings and that there is a powerful need to protect and safeguard their emotional, behavioral, and environmental wellbeing at all times. PIAI members choose not to use any training approach that works through pain, force, fear, or by eliciting a startle or alarm reaction
No definition can ever be so expansive and explicit that every possible situation is addressed. This is universal in its application. A good example is 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, in the context of its ethics and as a general framework, the PIAI defines physical force as “any intentional physical act against a pet that causes psychological or physical pain, harm or damage to the pet.”
PIAI organizations provide information to the general public regarding why their members choose not to use training equipment that works through pain, force, fear, or by eliciting a startle or alarm reaction. Certain equipment is covered above in the Non-Negotiables. Clearly, the use of many (or even most) harnesses, head halters, collars (non-choking), and leashes would not be considered physical force under this guiding definition if 1) they are used consistently with our 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.