No matter what methods we use to train our dogs, we all have the same objective.
And that objective is a Trained Response.
An automatic response
The Trained Response is an automatic behaviour.
Something the dogs does, in response to a particular cue, without reason or question.
It is not something your dog decides to do. There are no thought processes involved.
You don’t want your dog thinking to himself“Well, he has whistled so I’d better run towards him in case he punishes me like he did last time I ignored him”
And you don’t want your dog thinking to himself
“Well, he has whistled so I’d better run towards him in case I miss out on a piece of that amazing liver sausage”
In fact, you don’t want him to think at all, you just want him to act and be obedient.
The wrong decisions
The reasons you don’t want your dog making decisions when he hears your cue is twofold.
Firstly, decisions take time, and we want an instant response to our cues.
Secondly, once an opportunity to make decisions is up for grabs, there is always a chance that the dog will make the wrong one.
He might decide “chasing that sheep is worth a thrashing, so I’ll do it anyway” or he might decide “playing with this nice boxer, is more fun than eating liver sausage”
So we don’t want any decisions, we don’t want Cue -> Decision -> Response
We want instinctive, gut reactions.
Cue -> Response
That’s it, nothing in between.
Train for it
The only way to get this kind of Trained Response and therefore the desired obedience, is with thorough training, working your way through the five stages in each skill you teach.
This is actually a lot more fun than it sounds, and if done using positive reinforcement, both you and the dog will enjoy it immensely.