A lot of formal obedience training seems to focus only on making the dog 'do stuff' … kind of a one-dimensional approach that limits the owner's ability to really connect with the dog.
I think a better approach is to focus on the balance in the relationship so that the dog sees you as someone worthy of trust and obedience. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
Are you calm? Are you acutely aware of space and contact? Do you respond to changes in energy immediately and appropriately? Are you clear and assertive without being abusive? Does your dog respond to your movement and respect your personal space? Can you give your dog affection without inviting him to become disrespectful?
When you can answer these question with "yes", your dog will trust you. When your dog trusts you, formal obedience is a cooperative dance; training is 'teaching' and the dog is a happy, willing student.
Who you are to your dog is everything …
Much of 'modern' popular dog behavioral training seems to be focused on changing, redirecting or struggling to understand why dogs develop behavior issues, and treating the symptoms of those issues. In my opinion, far too much of the emphasis is then placed on changing the dog and not enough on changing the way the human owner relates to and behaves around the dog. In my experience, the most common behavioral issues tend to be created or exacerbated by the humans' input or lack thereof. For better or worse. The posts in this blog share my views on the human-dog relationship and how to effect it in a way that creates balance, calmness, fulfillment and obedience.