This is a question my boyfriend wanted to ask the forum:
Do dogs tend to be more obedient with firm, aggressive training?
My opinion and experience suggests ...confidence is the name of the game.
If that entails firm, aggressive training then so be it. I have watched over the decades the differences in which our GSDs have responded, interacted and obeyed the two of us. We have only ever had one shepherd at a time so what I have witnessed over the decades has some validity to it..IMHO.
What I mean by confidence is, you fully EXPECT your dog to obey your instructions not HOPE she/he will heed your request. Once a dog is competent and has demonstrated the learned response to a command, it has shown you it gets it....no two ways about it. Hoping a dog responds to your wishes, once it knows what to do is almost destructive in a dog's education. I watch my wife "ask" our shepherd to do this or that and in the fashion that she asks, not only can I tell she is hoping but the dog knows it just as certainly. It's almost by "asking" you are now giving a dog a choice where none should exist.....hence it does not enhance the dog's performance. The confidence required cannot be faked as I truly believe a dog will see right through the charade.
I purposely have my wife feed the dog and ask my wife to run the pooch through some drills while the food bowl is on the floor awaiting. The dog will do anything and everything amazing well for her. The lesson to this is to show my wife that the dog completely understands every command flawlessly and that the dog is completely capable of executing the commands. So, I tell my wife....now that you see how easily the dog understands...EXPECT her to do this each and every time....there need be NO ASKING and HOPING. The confidence you have in your dog to comply to your instructions is contagious but if the human is lacking in confidence, it's a tall mountain to climb.
So, if firm and aggressive training is how one displays their true confidence then go for it. Dudes Mom said it spot on...."..... consistent, confident and fair."
One last important thought.....leadership and confidence go hand in hand. Give your dog what she/he craves... leadership....confident leadership.