I will start with a couple disclaimers - I train for 'pet/companion dog' purposes only. I do not trial or compete with my dogs and have no desire to ever do so.
I have owned & worked with personal dogs for over 30 years, and way back in those dark ages, punishment based training was pretty much all there was. I've used choke chains, prong collars and even e-collars (shock collars) because that was what was available & "known to be effective". In the last 10 years I have learned better, more effective ways.
I am not a professional trainer, but I have extensive experience (thousands of hours) working with shelter dogs as a volunteer who, for several years, headed up a volunteer run training program (that I created) for some of our more 'at risk' dogs (ones with behavioral issues that were creating roadblocks to adoption) I worked directly with the dogs as well as trained the volunteers how to work with & train the dogs. I constantly read & learn modern training methods and about dog behavior via self-study, webinars, etc... (really excited about the CU virtual conference coming up at the end of this month!!)
So, what is my current 'training method'? I guess, simply put, teach the dog what you DO want them to do and make it very worth their while. Make the sound of your voice create the same feelings in your dog that the sound of the ice cream truck creates in children. Form a relationship with the dog that makes being with you & doing things with you the absolute best thing on the planet.
Remember that relationship is a two way street - if I expect my dogs to listen to me, I have to listen to them. If I ask my dogs to do something, and they don't comply, it's my responsibility to figure out 'why', not immediately jump all over them & demand/force compliance. I'm not perfect, and yet they cut me a lot of slack - shouldn't I be as understanding with them? Somehow, the more slack I cut them, the less I need to. Does this mean I never tell my dogs "No"? Of course not, I'm human & that pops out of my mouth occasionally. But is it a 'training method'? No - it trains/teaches the dog nothing
, so I follow it up with "let's do this
instead". Then resolve to do better next time.
Always keep in mind that dogs (every living thing, really) are constantly learning. Every single solitary waking moment that you spend with them is teaching them something
. It is in everyone's best interest to make sure it's something you want them to be learning. "Formal" training sessions are fine for fun or specific skills I might want to instill, but honestly? I very, very rarely have them with my own dogs. (In working with the shelter dogs it's different, because I'm only there for a specific, limited amount of time, so things have to be 'scheduled') We just live together & I'm constantly reinforcing what I want to see & preventing or redirecting what I don't want to see. It's like having toddlers - you're always in "Mom mode", at least at first. After a while it just flows like a dance - we move through life together knowing pretty much exactly what the other one is going to do & respond in sync.
I guess someone should ask my dogs what THEIR training methods are - they seem to have me wrapped around their paws....