Although I've been promoting the Gospel of Groove for some time, I always find it reassuring when scientific studies reinforce what I've discovered is the key to having a fulfilling relationship with our canine companions.
According to this British study, the aversive training methods espoused by such notables as Cesar Milan and "Barkbusters" may be more detrimental than effective.
In their survey of 53 dog-owner pairs, researchers found that dogs whose owners use punishment-based training methods (choke collars, alpha rolls, etc) tend to be more fearful in new situations and less interested in play than those whose owners use positive approaches to dog training.
From the study abstract:
A total of 53 owners were surveyed about their preferred methods for training each of seven common tasks, and were each filmed interacting with their dog in a series of standardised scenarios. Dogs owned by subjects who reported using a higher proportion of punishment were less likely to interact with a stranger, and those dogs whose owners favoured physical punishment tended to be less playful. However, dogs whose owners reported using more rewards tended to perform better in a novel training task. Ability at this novel task was also higher in dogs belonging to owners who were seen to be more playful and who employed a patient approach to training. This study shows clear links between a dog's current behaviour and its owner's reported training history as well as the owner's present behaviour. High levels of punishment may thus have adverse effects upon a dog's behaviour whilst reward based training may improve a dog's subsequent ability to learn.
Pavlov and Skinner nod approvingly.