Death Before Discomfort?
Tyler Muto gets it right.
There is a silent killer in the dog training world. It is not a virus, not a piece of equipment, not a bacteria.
It is an idea.
It is the idea that all dogs, in all situations, should be trained with nothing other than rewards, and without ever the use of aversives. “Reward what you like and ignore what you don’t” is the mantra that is preached, and all will be well in the world. In the dog training community this philosophy goes by many names, some call it Pure Positive (which is not an accurate description), some call it Progressive Reinforcement, some call it Reward Only, but for the purposes of this article I will refer to it as Aversive Free or AF.
Aversive Free (AF) Training can be defined as training which involves only the R+ and P- quadrants of learning. When I refer to Aversive Free (AF) Trainers in this article, I am not referring to those who simply choose this approach for themselves, but I am referring to those who vehemently oppose the use of aversives for any dog in any situation.
Let me be clear, what I am referring to is not the idea that reward only techniques are good, and work in some cases. What I am referring to is the dogmatic belief that this is the ONLY way to train a dog, or deal with behavior problems. The aversive free philosophy is that any type of consequence other than simply removing the reward, is cruel, inhumane, and barbaric.
Read the whole thing.
As noted, it's not a question of being mean or excessive -- it's a question of simpy drawing a line and sticking to it, and when push comes to shove there may be measured but predictable and immediate consequences that may not include simply ignoring the bad behavior or rewarding some other kind of behavior.
In the real world, not all consequences are positive.