Everything about dog training is connected and integrated. Eating patterns, sleeping habits, length and type of activities all affect how your dog behaves. Dogs are masters at reading our body language and humans are generally incompetent at reading and understanding what our dogs are trying to tell us.
Training is important because we need to have a common language with our dogs. If we increase a dog's vocabulary, we have a tool for communication which helps us to avoid repeating, yelling or even harsher methods of either stopping a dog from doing things we don't like, or getting them to do the things we want them to do in order to be civilized members of our households.
In order to achieve a common understanding between dogs and their owners, I strive to teach people to teach their dogs. That sounds like an obvious statement. But my methods are people friendly. Owners must feel competent in order to instill a feeling of trust and security in their dogs.
I work very hard to use training methods that involve the least amount of compulsion possible. I am opposed to any forceful methods being used on puppies or untrained dogs. Dogs must learn skills before it is fair to reprimand them for doing the wrong thing. I include yelling in my list of unacceptable reprimands and teach people to use their voices appropriately.
However, there is a difference between lack of knowledge and disobedience and occasionally a mild physical correction may be necessary. I am not including dogs who are dog and/or people aggressive in this description. That should not be handled with force as compulsion can greatly exacerbate an already difficult situation. Aggression is also an issue which should be handled on an individual basis and not in a group situation.
I generally do not teach people to use clickers in my sessions but certainly do not discourage their use in higher level classes if owners have learned to use them previously. I encourage the use of food to facilitate training and hope that owners stay with lessons long enough to learn to use food intermittently. I encourage a variety of collars and am not opposed to any particular collar if used correctly. I do not tolerate abuse of any kind in my classes and require attention from participants and practice during the length of the session. Given the group setting, I try to give everyone some individual attention during class and make myself available for telephone consultations during the week for special problems.