I do understand your training methods and the results you get. Believe it or not when I first saw similar pictures, I was a little less than impressed because like you said, I first thought it was simply 'putting' the dog in such a position. However I did try it out, or at least a semblance of it--working with my dog to overcome strange and often embarassing situations, and I've seen a certain improvement towards parts of his behaviour. One example is we cross horizontal logs above ground that, on his own, he can't traverse because he would slip and fall--he has to lean on me to be able to crosss it. I also help him up trees and direct him to cross certain difficult ledges in order to get to a certain location. Unfortunately there is a limit to what I can do with him, being I live in the middle of the city with only manicured lawns and playgrounds to play in, and I'm not strong enough to help him in some situations. Next month I'm taking a trip up the mountains and we'll see how far we go. There's a hanging bridge there too.
I think the point here is I see dog trainers often arguing down to semantics or having an "I do this so I'm better than you" mentality. What people fail to understand is that dogs, people, and goals are all different; hence there is no one training method that is the best for all situations. My head hurts when I see someone put it down to having 'psychic' training abilities or that *their* dog obeys them because they love them. Again, different methods for different situations for different trainers for different dogs. As an example, I've always liked the 'problem solving ability' that clicker-trained dogs are supposed to gain, in other words they start 'throwing behaviours' at you in order to see what it is you want them to do. I do a similar type of training with puppies just for practice, however, I'd be damned if I start carrying a clicker around in the field or 'shaping behaviours'. I just don't have the patience for that. As another example, I can get away with correcting my current shepherd and in fact corrections make him 'faster' and more efficient--my other dog? No way in hell. She would shut down if I do anything apart from tell her "No".
The fact that you can even reach a certain point in training a dog, i.e. I can tell him to go there, sit there, wait there, come here, look for that...is amazing by itself already and showcases the bond between dog and man. I can teach a dog with food until he is overweight, but by the end of the day, he will still follow me to the ends of the earth, which is more than, say, a cat would do, even if said cat has also been trained with treats. I can also train the dog by beating him into submission (though obviously not enough to make him run from me every time he sees me), and he will still follow me to the ends of the earth; do that to a cat and you get your face scratched off.
Training by itself is a way to be able to communicate with a dog, so I don't see why the method should matter as long as you GET there. What's important is the dog learns to respect you and listen to you. He probably already loves you. That's not the issue here, of course. :wink: