Old-fashioned training methods can work. Decades of well-behaved dogs and the owners who loved them can attest to that. So why should they bother to cross over to the positive side? The short answer is that positive training works, it’s fun, and it does not have the potential to cause stress and physical injury to our dogs through the application of force, pain, and intimidation. It takes the blame away from the dog and puts the responsibility for success where it belongs on human shoulders.
In the old days, if a dog didn’t respond well to coercion we claimed there was something wrong with the dog, and continued to increase the level of force until he finally submitted. If he didn’t submit he was often labeled defective and discarded for a more compliant model. With the positive paradigm, it’s our role as the supposedly more intelligent species to understand our dogs and find a way that works for them rather than forcing them into a one-size-fits-all mold.
The longer answer is that it encourages an entire cultural mindset to move away from aggression and force as a way to achieve goals. The majority of dog owners and trainers who have fun (and success) using positive methods with their dogs come to realize that it works with all creatures, including the human species. They feel better about training and find themselves less likely to get angry with their dogs, understanding that behavior is simply behavior, not some maliciously deliberate attempt on the dog’s part to challenge their authority.
For more details and advice on positive training, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook, Positive Training Basics.