Have just come on to this thread, and I do know I am waaaaay late... but having read through all 32 pages, I just had one thing to add that (I think) maybe noone has said yet. Well, I have two dogs, both Dobermanns, and both came to live with me over the age of 6 months. On both occasions I knew I had a dog (or dogs) that needed training and who also came pre-programmed with his or her own bad habits. I rang a number of trainers (Steve at k9 being one) and spoke at length about the different tools and methodologies available to me. But I had one priority: communicate effectively with the dog so that the lesson could be taught/ learnt in the most efficacious way. Why? Because I think that constant ineffective fiddle foofing around trying to teach a new skill or change a current habit is akin to being cruel as it simply confuses the dog. Pop on a check chain and teach "heel" to a leash puller? Yeah, maybe, but only if you are going to be 100% consistent, never ever allow the leash to go tight, never ever allow the opposition reflex to kick in, and deliver the "check" with enough intensity to make the dog go "Oh, ok, won't do that again.... it's possible, I wont say it isn't... but your timing bettter be damned good! So, I elected to use a prong collar under guidance from Steve- and I have taught both my wayward mutts how to walk nicely on a loose leash with a training program that uses correction AND praise, is high on respect for the dogs needs/ desires/ motivation as well as ensuring the dog receives as FEW corrections as possible in learning the new modus operandi. Yep, I thought it looked bloody awful to begin with, too. But beauty and efficacy are different and once in a while they come together, but often not, lol.... What I have done is to show my dogs how I expect them to behave in a social situation, which has in turn led to them experienceing greater freedom due to being able to go for lovely long relaxing walks (not the kind that end quickly because my arms and voice are tired) which has then increased the dogs enjoyment of life.
Prong collar? Yep. Remote trainer? Yep. Flat collar? Yep. Treats? Yep. Positive reinforcement? Yep. Social understaning of acceptable beahaviour? Yep. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour? Yep. Happy owner? Yep. Happy dogs? YEP!
I think the one tool every dog owner needs is an open mind. If I had brought home an 8 week old puppy, I'd use a different method because I would have that flexibility. But, I think my main point is this: don't leave an effective tool (whatever it is) to being a last resort- how cruel to just keep "nagging" at your dog- why not use the appropriate tool for the job and get it done, and get on with being happy!!!
I hope that made sense- 32 pages is alot to read and there have been some GREAT comments and some awful ones but I don't want to get in the argument, just add that little bit.