Training your dog to a level that allows him to be taken anywhere, under various distractions, without any doubt in your mind that your dog will listen to you every time, is a lot more than teaching your dog the commands and holding a treat to his nose.
Let me explain the three different types of trainers out there.
#1 "The Beggars and the Bribers." This type of trainer tells you that they can train your dog with absolutely no correction whatsoever. Their only way to get a dog to do things is to offer them a treat or a toy in return for doing a behavior. The problem with this method is, that if they are faced with a distraction that has more value to them than the treat, they will not listen. For instance a dog may sit in your living room for a hot dog, but would they do it in the front yard if a cat runs by? Probably not, and thats the problem with this method. This method however, does work for very select few dogs. Some dogs are very naturally obedient. They want nothing more than to please you. But I'm assuming if you are reading this your dog does not fall into the "naturally obedient" category!
#2 "The Yank and the Crank trainers." This type of trainer is old school. And when I say old school I mean OLD SCHOOL. For instance, they take a dog that doesn't know anything whatsoever, and tell him to sit. If the dog doesn't sit they give him a hard leash correction by pulling the leash up forcefully with a prong collar. After a while the dog learns that in order to avoid the correction he needs to get his butt to the ground as soon as possible. Now this method works fast, and that is why a lot of trainers use this method. But there are so many things wrong with this way of training. For one, its abuse in my opinion. The dog never has an opportunity to learn the command before they get corrected for not doing it. The second reason why this method isn't good is because you take a nice happy dog and turn him into a dog who is scared and unhappy. I'm sure you've seen it before. A dog who is cowering, most dogs that have been trained with this method end up looking like this after they have been trained. Very few dogs can be trained with this method without getting their spirit broken.
#3 I call the 3rd type of trainer the "Fair but Firm Trainers." Which is what we are. When we teach a dog new commands we do so in an environment with no distractions at all. We use toys and treats to inspire the dogs to learn the commands. For instance, we tell a dog to sit, if they don't sit we lure the dog in a way that gets him to sit down. Once their butt hits the ground we give them the treat. After a few times of doing this the dog learns that in order to receive the treat he must sit. Thus teaching the dog the command. There are a lot of little things you must do also, but for times sake I simplified it for you. We do the same process for all the commands. Once the dog has learned everything 100 percent we start to introduce distractions. If its the type of dog that would rather have the distraction than the reward we introduce a light correction. Now the level of correction is VERY important. All dogs require different levels of corrections. Depending on how sensitive the dog is determines how firm the correction should be. If the correction is too light the dog won't respond to it and will continue to go after the distraction. If it is too firm it will break the dogs spirit. So to figure out which level of correction is right for the dog we start out with the lightest correction possible. If the dog stops going after the distraction FANTASTIC! If they continue to go after it then we give them another correction at a slightly higher level, and we continue this process until the dog responds to the correction and stops going after the distraction. The form of correction we use is with a leash and a training collar, depending on the dog and how sensitive they are determines the type of collar we use.
When it comes to training we have found out the best method for the dog. If the training doesn't work for the dog in the real world then you do not want to take them places as often, and will never be able to let them be off-leash, to run and play like dogs should be able to do. But we also want the dogs to enjoy training and love their time with us, so we take some extra time assuring we don't rush the dog into doing the commands around distractions until they know them for sure! Our training method is the perfect balance that allows the dogs to live the happiest life possible.
The saddest thing in the dog world is a dog that's sole purpose is to sit in the house and live life alone in the house, yard, or kennel.
I rarely have to ever correct my dog anymore because he always listens. And he is one of the happiest dogs because I take him everywhere being he is such a joy to have with me. No chains, no cages, freedom, thru off-leash obedience training.