I read about the 4 quadrants with interest but because of the contradictions? confusion? pointed out in some previous posts stopped spending time over it pretty quickly. What is and isn't positive also seems very individual. For instance, one of the all-positive trainers I've been following is an advocate of head halters, but I believe if the one dog I tried a head halter on could have talked, she would have shouted that she'd rather wear anything
else. I'm making that assessment by her attitude and reaction. She had all the recommended conditioning, didn't avoid it or fight it, but produced massive amounts of drool every time.
As to competition, my guess is if you went around the grounds at any trial and polled all participants, you'd get some very different answers. Breeders do it to show temperament and ability of their lines. Trainers do it to demonstrate they have the expertise to advise and teach others. Club members do it to support their club. People like me do it as a hobby, and hobbyists come to it from many different beginnings, but we enjoy getting out and about among other dog people for a day as much as the few minutes in the ring.
My own start was in carting, and I admit I did it for no reason other than I was absolutely besotted with my dog and thought she would look irresistibly fitting
with a cart. Rottweilers were historically used as draft animals. What I found was the training and competing produced a bond deeper than I'd ever had with a dog, and that was what hooked me. I don't see myself getting out and training almost every day and training beyond sit, down, come, wait
if I didn't do competitive stuff.
As to abuse in the hunt for glory, I saw enough of it to repel me in the horse world. You have to figure that people are willing to take dangerous drugs like steroids themselves to enhance performance, so of course some are equally willing to do ugly things to animals, and I don't know how you eliminate that downside. Education when it's from ignorance. Peer pressure against it. Banishment by organizations when they're caught.
As to particular sports, I agree with 3GSD4IPO - when the only dog competition I was aware of was Obedience, it held no appeal for me. The rigidity put me off. Can't smile at my dog because it would be a second command? Pft. Agility? I started too late in life, and my knees were already too shaky.
However, when I first saw Rally, I thought, "Aha! Something for me." And it was and remains so. A good Rally run is like dancing with the perfect partner. Disappointing runs? There's always something good or funny, and it's always my fault one way or another. As it turns out, once you do enough Rally an Obedience CD isn't much of a step, and then you have an old dog who shouldn't jump and gets gimpy when moving faster than a walk but is upset if she doesn't get her turn at training, and you think, "Hmm. Maybe Nosework." And so it goes, horizons expanding.
For me, if I can't train and handle myself, and if I don't enjoy it and think my dog enjoys it, I'm not doing it, but I also admit if I'm doing it, I want to do it well, and winning is evidence that I've done it well, but it's not like I think the whole world is like me or should be. And it doesn't mean when I say if it doesn't work I'm not continuing to do it I'm running out and buying a cattle prod.
This picture is from my first dog competition ever - carting with my darling dog girl Schara, gone 5 years now. Rottie carting is like Rally with a cart. I was so nervous my hands shook during the hitch and load, but as usual Schara's confident attitude settled me by the time this was taken between required maneuvers: