The number one reason dogs are turned into shelters across the U.S is a lack of training. We can't tell you the number of times we've gotten a dog because the owner
has never trained him or her. Of course, that's not the way the former
AC-CEN-TU-ATE THE POSITIVE
There is a t-shirt that has a cartoon dog on it. The dog's word bubble says, "Hi! My name is 'No No Bad Dog'. What's Yours?" While humorous, it points out an unfortunate truth: Most of us tend to train our dogs by telling them everything they've done wrong. However, they will learn more and learn faster if we take the time to tell them when they've done something right. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!!
One thing you should be sure to do is praise your dog when he does something right, and praise him like you really mean it! Mumbling "good dog" in a quiet monotone will not make the same impact as saying the same words with a happy voice and lots of enthusiasm.
Praise is good, but when teaching, it may not be enough. It's no different than with us - while it is nice if your boss says you did a good job, it'd make more of an impact if s/he gave you a raise to go with it! Be creative about your rewards. The obvious choice is food rewards, but there are other options as well and varying them will help keep training interesting. Make a list of 10 things your dog really loves - treats, a good scratch in just the right spot, a game of fetch, etc. Knowing these ahead of time will help you make a game plan that will succeed!
When you do use food rewards be careful not to give your dog too many treats; keep the pieces small, so a) he doesn't gain weight and b) you don't have to break your training rhythm for him to chew. A small piece of a biscuit will mean as much to him as getting a whole biscuit - he won't differentiate between the two; all he'll know is he was rewarded. Also consider using baby carrots, pieces of his regular dog food, or tiny pieces of ham, chicken, freeze-dried liver treats, rather than relying on commercial treats which are loaded with fat, sugar and salt.
If you do a lot of training and your dog is starting to gain weight, cut back the amount of food you give him at mealtime. Learning manners should be no excuse for his getting fat!! As your dog gets better/more reliable with any particular exercise, reduce the treats and rely on praise instead. Not only will this keep your dog from gaining weight, but it will also help the behavior become more automatic. Afterall, you don't want to fall into the trap where your dog will only do something when you have a treat.
BASIC TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL TRAINING