The “Golden Rule” to successful training with your dog is not a rule, or a guideline, but rather a concept… an understanding of the relationship between man and dog. When I have explained this to friends who are are having difficulties with training their dog basic commands and/or acceptable social behavior, miracles start occurring.
A dog’s sole purpose is to serve man. There are a variety of ways in which a dog may serve their man… hunting, herding, guarding, service dog, therapy dog, and, yes, regular ol’ companionship is a form of serving man. This instinct in dogs started developing thousands of years ago when man began using wolves, then eventually dogs, for hunting. Thousands of years of instinct just does not disappear. Use this to your advantage. All the dog knows now is the desire to serve their man and make them happy. When the dog knows their man is happy, then the dog is happy. Then the dog will want to repeat the same behavior which made their man happy. From the dog’s view, they just successfully served their man, which nature tells them to do.
Here is an example of a train of thought from the mind of a dog that just responded correctly to a new command:
“Oh, my human is happy. Yay!!! This is great! What did I do that made them happy? Tell me…. [human gives dog the command] Was it this? [dog responds correctly – human praises] Yes, that was it!!! Tell me to do it again, please, please, please!”
Let the miracles begin. And please remember, the dogs level and speed of learning varies… please be very patient with those who do not seem to catch on as quickly as others.