Training dogs means something different to everyone. Some people consider it a horrible way of bossing your dog around; they prefer a more free spirited "do what you want" lifestyle. Others take it to the other end of the spectrum and compete in the sport of obedience. When a dog does something that we do not approve of; many say that they are a bad dog. No so, they are not being bad, but in fact they are being a dog. It is our job as our dog's guardian to instill life lessons; an education on how best to live in our human world. There are certain behaviors that I think make living in our world easier; such as sit, down, stay, come etc. etc. They don't need a lot but they should have at least the basics. But as far as flourishing in our world; they need much more than an understanding of the basic behaviors.
Life, they need to experience life and everything in it. When a puppy joins a new family; they are as many say, a blank slate. That slate is blank as far as living in our human world. They may already have much knowledge; but depending on where they came from it may only be about being a dog. Funny how we get a dog and expect them to act like a perfect human. Think about that. They live with their littermates and mother. Perhaps they hang out with other dogs in the house or around and then plop; they are set into a human world. They have much to learn and it is our job to teach it all to them.
What to bite and not to bite, what to ignore, how to deal with annoyance, where to go to the bathroom. The list goes on and on as far as our world and being appropriate in it. Slapping a leash on and heading out into the world with no regard to how and what your dog is feeling about it all is very human of us. We need to connect with our dogs as one. When you achieve that connection with a dog; everything else falls in place. Training and life lessons are still required but it becomes easy with that connection.
This means that you must learn all about your dog. What makes them tick, motivates, scares and puzzles them. I was driving down the street the other day and saw a large scary Halloween figure on someone's front yard. I immediately thought "Elsa would not like that," because I know her. An ominous figure standing frozen and staring? No, she would not like that at all. There is a learning curve involved when you get a new puppy or adult dog for that matter. The more you watch and pay attention; the faster you will know your dog. So many people walk their dogs and never actually give their dog a second thought.
Every single dog is different, just like us. We look at the world from many different points of view. Dogs are the same way so knowing how to approach your dog's education requires that you know your dog. Training becomes so easy when you get up close and personal.