No, I’m not one of those people who bickers about dog training constantly, nor do I object to tools like head halter collars, prong collars, choke chains, or even shock collars. Of course, I might complain or roll my eyes if the handler is not using the tool properly. Far greater damage is done to an animal with poor timing and general lack of skill and knowledge of dogs and their body language than by using any particular training method.
That said, there are simply some things that I cannot imagine accomplishing with any method other than shaping and marking (clicker or not). Among them would be the accomplishment that is this seemingly silly image:
Willow, a mere eight months old in this photo, is performing five different commands at once. First, I asked her to put her paws up on a log she’d never seen before. I rewarded that and gave her a stay command. Then I dressed her up (no command there, just socialization and handling to this and many other things). The third command I gave her was take (the wand), then the fourth was to hold the and. Finally I backed away and then asked her to put her head down on her paws. This angle showed off her fairy wings best. She didn’t drop the wand, break her stay, or try to shake off her crown.
Not only does she do these things, and many more, she does them with a grin and a wagging tail (including in this very photo).
Most of this is just good fun, but these commands could also save her life some day, as well as making her an awesome working dog, fun pet, and great subject to take photos of.
Magic? Nope, pure science, like most things that appear magical. Happy training