Why do you hear of so many trainers opposing punishment based training? Science. Science is advancing the understanding of how dogs learn and how methods affect them. There is even a vet devoting his time to teaching dogs to enjoy the MRI machine. Previous brain scans, because of the sound, motion and size of the machine, were performed with dogs under sedation which does very little to help us understand daily brain function.
We now know that punishment based training can actually inhibit learning in many ways. It also can prevent us from gaining important knowledge about behavior. If a dog barks and barking is punished without determining the underlying reason we lose important information.
For instance, an excitable, outgoing adolescent pup barks with excitement upon seeing another dog down the street. Punishing that bark could cause the pup to think that the appearance of other dogs means a bad thing will happen (sharp correction, shock, leash yank…). What a person has in their mind as an association may not be the same as the pup. Eventually this can lead to leash aggression. Instead, teaching the pup to handle their own excitement (like presence of other dogs) without getting over excited is a life long lesson that can be applied over a multitude of situations.
Kristie Swan, CPDT