When you bring your dog or puppy home for the first time you are starting from a clean slate. The most important thing you can do for your dogs’ obedience is to build a bond with him, if you have a strong, healthy bond with your dog, training often becomes much easier.
Playing with your dog is probably the best thing you can do to build a strong bond. Find games that both of you enjoy playing and make time each day for it. Play should be enjoyable, if either one of you become upset or stressed the play should stop. Playing with your dog releases feel-good hormones in both of you and also aids in learning. Play will also make you so much more attractive to your dog and increase their attentiveness to you.
Feeding your dog from your hand could be the easiest way to build a strong bond. Ration out your dogs daily allowance of food and take from this ration whenever you want to reinforce good behaviour. Take your ration of food on walks and use it to shape behaviour that you love in your dog. This way your dog will be receiving all of their food directly from you, how much more important will you be to them now?
You must have confidence in your rules, decisions and ability to be consistent if you want to have a strong bond with your dog. Think about what behaviours you want from your dog and what behaviours you find completely unacceptable and guide your dog down the correct path. If you do not want your dog to jump on visitors train them to sit and watch you with mock scenarios of people coming through your front door. If your dog sees you as consistent and predictable you will be far more attractive to them.
Training your dog will also help strengthen the bond. Training is time spent communicating with one another. The more you can communicate appropriately with your dog the deeper your relationship will be, you will find that you and your dog will then have a strong partnership. Training should be enjoyable for both of you.
When your dog is calm and relaxed, perhaps late at night, spend time massaging and stroking him or simply make some physical contact with him. We all know that humans gain a huge amount from physical contact, and this is a great way to relax for both of you. No matter how much of a rascal your dog has been through the day, quiet physical contact washes away any stress. My dog loves to lay on my feet, I love the feeling of this too, and it is a good way for us to be close and strengthen our bond.
All relationships need tending, including the one with your dog. Before obedience, must come bonding, enjoy this ongoing process, it is probably the main reason you brought a dog in to your home.