After focus and bonding you should start communicating with your dog in very simple ways. Remember the 3 c’s of dog communication – clear, concise and consistent. With the 3 C’s in mind choose a way you can let your dog know when you liked a behavior using a consistent trigger as soon as the behavior is observed. The sooner the better.
If done correctly this will never happen!
This is why clicker training works, the click provides an easy way to get a consistent sound at a consistent tone for a consistent length of time. I don’t like clicker training because you always have to have the clicker with you. I find this is not practical or in many cases possible when living with a dog day in and day out. When trying to train your dog and good behavior is observed, not having the trigger with you can confuse your dog. I much prefer to use the voice as it is much harder to loose your voice, you otherwise always have it with you, and it is unique in this world.
The drawback of the voice, is that we all have emotions, making it hard to produce a sound at a consistent tone, length etc… but I find this is something achievable for most people with practice (without the dog at first). You really have to be conscious of what you are doing, respond with proper tones and don’t let emotion get the better of you. The most common trigger words people use are ‘yes’ and ‘ok’. It doesn’t matter what you use though, as long as you stick to the rules.
After you mastered your voice it is quite simple to show your dog that this is a reward word. Classical conditioning works on even us humans. Just say the word, then reward your dog. Do this over and over again. If you are consistent , very quickly the dog will associate that word with getting a reward. Do it in many environments so the dog knows it applies everywhere.
So what you have now accomplished is you can very quickly tell the dog a reward is coming, and indirectly that their behavior pleased you. This is a critical part of training and should not be short cut in anyway. It is the foundation of communication with your dog. As your bond grows you will learn that your dog lives to please you. Now all of the sudden you have a clear, concise and consistent way to tell the dog you are pleased. Together you will become experts at communicating in a very positive environment and your bond