This is all good stuff.It's a myth that treating can enforce anger or fear in a dog. Dogs cannot feel two emotions at once. A dog is either happy about getting treats or angry/fearful, but not both at once. Using treats shifts the dog's emotion from angry/fearful to happy. Besides, a dog caught up in fear or anger won't take treats, anyway. You have to work "under threshold", so you're reinforcing behavior/emotion that isn't fully engaged fear or anger, rather the calmer emotion/behavior you want.
Yes, you can reinforce behavior you don't want with poorly timed treating, but you don't damage your relationship and you can always retrain the correct behavior. If you mess up with corrections, it's hard to fix. I'm trying to add back verbal commands, (see my previous post in this thread) and its not going well. Kabota associates "sit" with something scary and getting past that association is proving to be difficult. Mind you, I have never corrected him, ever. I can't imagine how hard this would be if I had been the one whi scared him in the first place.
It's impossible to be 100% positive. The idea is to practice reward based methods. In otherwords, we're dealing with adding or removing appetitive stimulus to make behavior happen or to stop behavior. By dealing with appetitive stimulus instead of aversive stimulus, we run minimal risk of hurting the animal. It's a matter of ethics. If you were able to equally effectively teach a dog to sit using either food or by pulling up on a choke collar, which would you choose to do?My question is this: why use only the positive in absence of the negative?
The other thing is, people who use aversive punishment tend to become addicted to it. When the dog is misbehaving, we want to make it stop, so if we use a quick punisher and it stops, it's a very rewarding process for us. Because it was so easy to do and required very little forethought to pull off, we will tend to use it more in the future. As the dog becomes accustomed to pain or yelling, the less effective it becomes, and the harder your punishers have to be to stay effective.
Dogs are in fact, not pack animals. That is a myth that still lives on.Also why is dominance theory so denigrated, dogs aren't wolves but they do have pack hierarchy. Shouldnt we be trying to communicate with dogs in a "language" that is most natural to them?