Keep in mind that dog training has evolved enormously in the last 15 years, but there remain 2 primary schools of thought. They often appear to be at odds, although it is not uncommon for two trainers with extremely different ways of describing behavior to actually follow similar procedures for behavior modification.
On the other hand, the theory a trainer operates under tends to predict the solutions they will offer. Pack leadership-focused trainers often suggest establishing leadership through more assertive training techniques, while “reward based” trainers tend to look for solutions that focus on acknowledging behaviors that are increments towards, or favorable to their goals.
Both programs, when taught by experienced handlers, can help owners.
While we believe all training should begin with positive, teaching/coaching and help to assure the dog understands the desired behavior, there remain cases where a firm consequence can then be used to strengthen the reliability of that behavior. On the other hand, many pet owners find that once the foundation work is done, the behavior is sufficiently in place that reliability is acceptable and repeated rewards can maintain the behavior while avoiding more assertive techniques.
This is largely a personal decision. And there are many excellent training programs in the Hidden Fence Company’s service area. Many of these programs are noted on our NJ Dog Professionals link on the lower left side of this page.