It was how I trained before drive training came to town. Those were the Dark Ages, long before the internet, and even long before VCRs. Unless you lived next door to some kind of dog trainer, there was only one way of gaining information, outside of a book. Ask the dog. This is the main way I honed my agitation. If what I did, did not get the desired results, then I was doing something wrong. The idea of "ME DOING SOMETHING WRONG", has given me the largest insight into the workings of dogs. As opposed to the many today, that blame the dog, when he does not respond to the only tool they know.
The two largest influences on my childhood, was Barbara Woodhouse, in writing No Bad Dogs. She had this crazy notion that the majority of problem dogs, were the OWNER'S fault.
The other influence was William Koehler. He was tasked with making war dogs YESTERDAY, after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He used family pets that had been donated. His methods were from a time, that he either churned through the dogs, or more soldiers died on the front. It was a harsh time, that required harsh dogs, trained by a harsh man.
"Are more dogs capable of success with this method?"
Again, if you take the blame when things don't go as planned, you have a MUCH larger success rate. The dog has dog genetics. With those genetics, I can piss him off. That is the sum total of special genetics that I need. Finding dogs with dog genetics, leaves me a much larger pool of dogs to choose from.
If the dogs ever quits you, then the training is over. That has to do with heart.
"Can they be started earlier?"
Can you piss off a puppy?
Many things will be done from day one, to build confidence with respect to humans. Building the confidence up front, finishes the dog much faster. The other thing that can be done from day one, is to remove trust of humans at your house. A PROTECTION dog must always be alert at your house. After that, then you get to choose all the places that your dog will be social, or mistrusting. In the bed of my truck, my dog loves everyone. In the back seat of my truck, my dog will kill you for breathing his oxygen. That gives me the flexibility to protect anything that needs protecting, and the ability to take my dog everywhere without him scaring people. Dogs ONLY look for evil doers, in the places they have been agitated.(IF socialized in other places at the same time) It makes exactly the kind of dog you choose, to fit your lifestyle.
"Any downsides to this method?"
YES!!!! A working dog, is not a pet. You must be ever present of mind, to anything that might trigger your dog. You must have total CONTROL over this animal. Getting drunk in the back yard, and deciding to wrestle with your drunk brother, will have a very messy outcome.(true story about a Dumbass) I do things from day one at the house, that teaches the pup to be hyper vigilant at the house. This is done, by not acting normal, to key his attention. Henceforth ... ANYONE not acting normal, will key the dog. My dog views a cane as a weapon, and the elderly person using as an evil doer, because they are not walking normally. This is where you see the guy with the cane first, and you turn your dog OFF, before he even sees the guy. With CONTROL, we have one trump card. I being the Leader of our pack, can turn the dog OFF. OFF means no aggression is tolerated at all. I am now 100% in charge of PROTECTION. It shares no meaning with OUT.
"Why do more people not speak out about methods other than those used by competitors?"
Drive training is ALL ABOUT the method. You do A, B, C with the dog, and you remove his ability to choose his action. You do not have to know squat about dogs, just know A, B, C. That makes life real simple for the trainer. The MOST critical tool that an Agitator MUST HAVE, is the ability to read dogs. In spite of my best efforts, I cannot teach someone how to read dogs. They either can, or they can't. I can teach them how to hone that skill, but I cannot bestow it on someone.
By reading the dog in front of you, it allows you to continually learn more about dogs every day, as well as provide what the dog needs from you right now.
There are some younguns that are honing this skill. They are generally attacked by diarrhea of the keyboard, if they post on forums. Instead of trying to beat their heads against the wall, they just keep to themselves. They have places where they can talk in peace. They agitate each other's dogs. They try to get together once a year or so, to drink beer, and make fun of each other.
JWV is one such Dumbass. He is just a slower learner, about posting on public forums.
I am too old and stubborn, to give a rat's ass what others say.
Training your PROTECTION dog, starts day 1. EVERYTHING you do, is for the single purpose of the end result.
E-Dog - 2012 WPBTCA National Championships
The time when screech owls and Bandogges howl and spirits walk and ghosts break up their graves.
Act I, Scene IV of William Shakespeare's "King Henry VI"