I use purely positive reinforcement training with my parrot and it works beautifully ... I have no objection to people using it ... when done properly. What I have an objection to is people using food as a bribe to get the dog to do what they want ...
How many of you have seen people at a park calling their dog 20 times waving treats in the air and the dog is still in la la land? Or how many times have you seen some one say SIT SIT SIT SIT and when the dog finally sits they give it a treat? This is the kind of behaviour (from the people) and training (or lack there of) that I am referring to.
Oh, absolutely - I don't think anyone is going to disagree with you there! I think what some people have been saying, (and what I was trying to get at, perhaps in a clumsy way,
) was that there IS a way to use food that is not a bribe, and does not lead to the sort of behavior you're describing. Fodder says it very well in her post.
I do disagree with you on one thing though, that the owner can create
what's most motivating to a brand new puppy. I think we can build on what's already there, of course, but we've still got the genetics of the puppy as a big factor. As I said earlier, Halo seemed to come genetically pre-wired to engage. If she hadn't, I would have had to work harder than I did, but instead I simply reinforced what she was already offering spontaneously.
And to me, it doesn't matter if I'm so important because she LOVES FOOD!!! and I'm the bringer of food, or she LOVES BALL!!! and I play ball with her, or she LOVES HER TUG!!!, and she only gets it when she's playing with me, or if it's ME, me, even without any of the many things that float her boat. I'm not sure how I'd tell the difference! Halo is very affectionate, and will bring me a bone to hold for her while she chews it, she'll bring me an Orbee ball to take away and give back to her before she lays down to chew on it (obsessively of course, because that's how she rolls!), she'll come over and sit in front of me, staring into my eyes in an apparent mind meld attempt, where I have no idea what she's trying to get at - but the point is, that she actively seeks me out even if I don't have anything for her at the moment. It's the interaction she seems to want. And I'm not even her special person - that would by my husband, she's a total daddy's girl. I accomplished that at least in part, by using a lot of food when she was young, but I don't need to have food on me now in order to get that same level of engagement.
What I did a lot of is that capturing of behaviors that I mentioned earlier - either with a clicker or verbally, and then rewarding with a treat, whenever puppy does something I like and want to encourage more of. The more I reinforce something, the more puppy offers it up. Later, I name that stuff and put it on cue. But it also builds default behaviors, which is something I really like. Not only do I want my dogs to do what I tell them to do, I want them to be responsible to know the house rules, and what kind of behavior gets them the things they want and value, without having to always ask. I control the resources. That's where real life rewards come into play, such as with NILIF, which I also do. It teaches them to make good choices. Jumping up and down like a loon makes me stand there and do nothing, sitting calmly and making eye contact makes me open the door so we can go out to the garage for dinner. No nagging necessary.
Keefer worships me and always has. I didn't really do anything special, he just does.