Every time you are in the company of your dog, one of you is teaching the other one. I try to be sure it’s me who is teaching my dog and not the other way around. So the answer to those questions at the top of the page is — you’re always training and teaching your dog. If not, your dog is training you!
My dogs all know the basics like sit, touch, and watch me. I’ve practiced in lots of different situations, trying to vary the circumstances so it’s easy for my dogs to do what I asked no matter where we are or what’s going on around us.
Once my dogs have the basics down pat, I can then use those basics every day as a way for my dogs to earn their goodies. What are their goodies? Whatever they like, whatever they enjoy. All my dogs get fed twice per day. They all get to go outside. They all get to get on the sofa with me. They all get scritch-scratched. They all get lovin’ and smooches. None of that changes.
What does change is they have to give me a sit (or touch, or watch me) before they get those things. If they don’t give me what I ask for, they simply don’t get what they want. No punishment, no lectures, no guilt. It’s really that easy: I ask them for something easy and then they can have the goodie, be it lovin’, running out the door, or hopping up on the sofa.
This keeps me smack in the middle of their world. They get used to "asking" for things and looking to me for permission to do the things they love. It’s never a battle between what they want to do and what I want them to do. They are happy to do what I ask, because they know it always leads to what they want.
So, make a list of all the things your dog enjoys — mealtime, play time, snuggle time, etc. And then start inserting a request before you do each of those things for your dog. Let me know how it’s going!