1. Decide what "well trained" means to you
Everyone's definition of a well trained dog is different. Maybe it's that they get along with other dogs. Maybe it's that they know their basic commands like "sit" and "stay". Maybe it's that they walk off leash without running away. Decide what it means to you. For us, we wanted to develop a really strong "sit". Wherever Jenny is, we can yell "SIT", and she typically sits regardless of what she's doing. She stays in her "sit" until we tell her "okay", releasing her to get up. We also wanted Jenny to be able to walk around off leash and come when called. Her knowledge of "wait" (our version of "stay") was also something we emphasized. We never taught her to roll over, play dead, or speak because those weren't important to us. Decide what's important to you and work on those specific skills.
2. Be consistent
This is the best advice we have ever been given about dog training. Everyone in the house has to be on the same page. Parker and I are equally tough on Jenny and both expect the exact same behavior from her. If one family member is strict but the other is lenient, it will quickly undo most of the training you are working towards. Dogs are smart and realize what they can get away with.
3. Use a different voice for "happy" and "upset"
If Jenny does something she isn't supposed to, we both lower our voices to a quick, deep tone. This lets her know she is in trouble. If we are praising her, we use a higher-pitched voice with a lot of inflection. This lets her know she did something good. As much as we like to think it, dogs don't speak English. They rely on our voice inflection. If you use a happy voice to say "Don't do that!", you might as well have just said "I am so glad you did that. Do it again!". Switch up your voice so your pup knows when they are being praised and when they are in trouble.
What are some of your favorite tips for dog training?