Most high-performance dog sports and occupations, such as, agility, competitive obedience, herding, scent detection, protection/bite work and service work, are all embracing positive training methods. But, despite the amazing results and proven effectiveness, gun dog training still remains deeply set in traditional, punishment-based training philosophies.
Zoo keepers train gorillas, tigers, hyenas and other serious animals to cooperate in their own health and upkeep using reward-based methods. Imagine the dangers involved in trying to punish one of these animals for not performing! The U.S. Navy has training programs in place that teach dolphins and other marine mammals like sea lions, to swim through schools of fish (their food source), and mark the location of mines tethered to the ocean floor or buried in sediment...even attach demolition explosives to them. They cannot force these animals to do anything they do not want to do, but with positive methods, these animals want to. And what they do, is far more complex than anything a gun dog will ever be asked to do! Yet, traditional gun dog trainers still continue to use harsh training techniques based on outdated information about what motivates dogs — who learn the same way the above animals do.