I think for most of us training is a path we set out on, even if in the beginning we think it's definite knowledge and techniques. For instance, I was lucky to start out when Koehler (very force based if you haven't heard of it) was still in style at a lot of training centers in this area. I signed up for a class in all ignorance other than the literature from the place said they used the Koehler system, and when I went for the first class, the trainer turned out to have some personal problems and couldn't do the course. Since I had my first Rottie puppy then and was beginning to doubt I'd be able to deal with her and wanted help fast, I signed up for another course across town that was food based, although with corrections.
Over the years I've been exposed to and adopting more and more of the positive training philosophies. Clicker training is a fast and painless way to teach an adult dog in rescue that knows nothing to sit and down, for example.
Right now I'm researching smaller dog breeds than I've had and considering trying all positive training. I'm not sure I can do it, but I've been reading books and blogs by successful all-positive, reward-based trainers and plan to give it a try. A big obstacle for me is - me. When I go from rally to obedience I have a terrible time making myself shut up and stop with body language (in case anyone reading isn't into these kind of competitions, rally allows talking to the dog throughout the course and body language such as shoulder, head, and hand movements; except for specific situations, obedience only allows one voice command OR hand signal and no body language). Since I love Rally and do Obedience pretty much because why waste all that training, I do far more Rally and cost my dogs all sorts of points in Obedience throwing in a Good Girl when I shouldn't, moving my shoulder in a way that's considered an extra command, etc. So am I going to be able to stop myself from a collar correction when some behavior I don't want happens? Probably not.
The other thing is I too have trouble with the concept that for certain unwanted behaviors merely distracting the dog to something else can ever be enough. It seems some things are just so self-rewarding that if there's never any negative consequence, no matter how often the dog has been redirected, the minute there's an opportunity, he's going to try it again. I've watched every one of Susan Garrett's podcasts, and one thing that strikes me is she controls her dog's environments rigorously and to a far greater extent than I've ever done. You can keep a dog from Bad Things that way for sure, but do I want to? And what happens if he gets the opportunity to do one of those Bad Things sometime down the road? I suppose the theory is you have an adult dog that's so well trained he isn't going to do it at that point, but I have trouble with the concept.
As to equipment, I've tried head halters and didn't like them. My dogs always drooled a lot in them, and since Rotties aren't droolers, I took that as a sign they were stressed just wearing them. I've used a pinch collar and would again with an untrained large dog where there was a danger of me being pulled off my feet, which is what led me to use the prong in the first place.
Sometime ago, I abandoned using slip or choke collars and started using martingale collars. I've never used a harness except on puppies and sure see a lot of posts in other forums about how much their dogs hate having their harness put on, which seems to me to mean the dog hates the harness. I've done a lot of carting and drafting with my Rotties and none of them have ever shown dislike for their harness, though.
My dogs don't wear collars here at home, and when I bring one out, they shove their heads in happily because it means we're going to train or going somewhere, and they're always keen to go somewhere.