The quid pro quo method of dog training is one of the most effective techniques going on. By reinforcing good, or desired, behaviors and discouraging unwanted actions, this practice quickly teaches a dog that following commands results in praise and rewards.
Mastering the art of this type of training will likely take some training on the part of the people involved, too. It can take a little while to get used to and it can be a little difficult not to cave into a dog that's batting big eyes and a sad face in its owner's general direction.
The best way to handle positive reinforcement is to make sure it happens right away after the desired behavior is performed. The reward must come instantly and repeatedly, every time the dog does as it's told. Since this is the case, many trainers steer clear of food rewards and go with positive comments or pats and scratches. If food is used, be certain that the treats offered for reward are rather small and do offer verbal praise, too.
When seeking to train a dog to follow basic commands, it's important for a set vocabulary to be assigned. The words chosen should be used every time. For example, sit should mean sit, don't mix it up with down, which should mean lie down. Pick the words that will be used and make sure they are consistent among everyone who will be working with the dog.
Getting a dog to respond consistently to commands and praise will take a little bit of time. With multiple efforts and some patience, positive reinforcement can pay off very big. Still, there are times when a dog will simply not behave in a manner that is acceptable to its owner.
Every so often, actual punishment will be required. This can come in the verbal, physical or even postural form. As it is with rewards, punishment should come swiftly, when the dog is engaged in the act.
It is very important to make sure a dog associates the behavior with the punishment. Harsh language, loud noises and upset posturing are much better choices than actual physical punishment. Physical punishment can result in a dog developing a fear for and aggression toward people.
When loud noises are used, try to make sure the dog associates them with the thing making the noise rather than a person. Use an air horn, shaker can or other object rather than your own voice, if necessary. This ensures the dog will not be afraid of you and also helps make sure the behavior reinforcement stands when you are not at home.
Dog training can take a little time and patience, but it is something almost anyone can accomplish.