Training a dog new commands is much easier when you have increased their obedience – that is their willingness to do as you ask.
Learning new commands can be frustrating for dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, as they can sense when they are not doing something right. You need to keep your dog motivated and eager if you want to be able to work with your dog.
There are several ways you can increase the bond you have with your dog and by doing so you will motivate him to want to please you.
In the wild dogs move together as a pack. Where one dog goes the others will follow as they move out to hunt. This is a bonding session for them before the rigours of hunting and it strengthens their unity as a pack.
When you take time to walk with your dog you are experiencing new situations with him and guiding him through them. This will help to increase his trust in you and develop his desire to be with you. Also if you are the one who takes him for walks then you are his best source of excitement and new experiences, again, reinforcing his need to stay with you.
The pack leader makes the decisions, the subordinate dogs listen and obey. A dog which has dominance over the handler is difficult to control as they see you as the subordinate. You should be doing what they want; not the other way round. To be the pack leader you need to show you are the one who decides what happens and when. Show him that you decide when he eats by always eating your meals just before he has his and never give a dog food from your own plate. If you do; not only will you be reinforcing begging behaviour but you will also be showing him he can take things from you – which makes him more dominant.
Remember though the fastest way to lose your dogs trust is to try to force him in to a subordinate position with harsh punishment rather than by earning his respect.
Most dogs will do pretty much anything for food. The rarer and more valuable the food the harder he will be willing to work and the more obedient he will be. High value foods are those which he really likes such as cheese, sausages and chicken but this will vary depending on your dog. Low value foods are those which he sees every day such as dog food kibbles.
Not all dogs are enthusiastic about food and you will need to work with your dog to find out want is the best reward for him. For example dogs which have been bred to be lap dogs, such as the Shih tzu, often want nothing more than lots and lots of praise and fuss while fighting dogs may prefer to play tug games.
It all depends on your dog, if yours doesn’t seem interested in food then try something different.
When you are your dog’s source of guidance, excitement and treats you have basically become his world. He will want to be with you and do as you say so that you want him you too.