Using a balanced training approach
I always start with a motivational approach first. I have found if the dogs think it is their idea and they enjoy doing it they will learn it much faster. This approach must be balanced with the dog understanding that if I give them a command it is important to me that they do it.
It is also critical that the owners develop a clear and clean communication system. Often people make the mistake of trying to communicate with dogs like they were another person and do not understand that dogs do not learn using the same methods as people. It is not unusual that I hear people say “He comes when he wants to or He knows how to do it or He knows he should not potty in the house. Or he did it because he was mad at me.”
After a few lesson with me the owners begin to see and understand that dogs do not think or act in those ways. Once I can get the owners to understand why their dogs are acting this way and how to be more effective at communicating what it is you want, we often see a quick change in both their relationship with their dogs as well as the dog’s behavior.