TIP #1: TAKE CARE OF THE PEARLY WHITES
Has your dog suddenly changed his behavior? Growling, snapping, avoidance? Whenever behavior changes will always suspect an underlying medical condition as a possible source of that change. These often can be related to a dog's mouth.
Most dogs who have bad breath also have gingivitis - swollen and inflamed gums, usually bright red or purple, which bleed easily. Unchecked, these bacterial infections in the gums slowly destroy the ligament and bony structures that support the teeth (periodontitis). Because of the ample blood supply to the gums, infections in the mouth can also poison the dog systemically, potentially causing disease of the heart, kidneys, and/or liver.
Always consider pain or discomfort as a source of behavior change.
- excerpted from the Whole Dog Journal
TIP #2: SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION
In its most basic sense, successive approximation is a series of rewards that provide positive reinforcement for behavior changes that are successive steps towards the final desired behavior.
So for example, if you can’t quite get your dog to lie down, break the exercise into smaller steps. First mark and treat him for following the treat to the ground, then for bending an elbow, then for bending both elbows. Make sure you mark and treat liberally when you get a full down.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI