TIP #1: LIFE IS A REINFORCER
Every minute you are with your dog you are training him. Your everyday interactions with him are the most powerful training tools you have.
Your dog depends entirely on you for all of his needs. Every time your dog wants something, that something can be a reinforcer for something that you want him to do. If you are going to give your dog something he wants or needs, that is an opportunity for you to ask for something in return.
If you do things for your dog without asking him to do something for you, you have trained him to not work to get what he wants. You have trained him that he is free to ignore you until you signal that you will be gratifying one of his desires.
If you ask him for a behavior in exchange for doing things for him, you have trained him to work for you to get what he wants. You have trained him that he had better pay attention to you because you never know when a reinforcement opportunity might arise.
- excerpted from When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs
TIP #2: COMFORT DURING THUNDER
If you pet your dog while she quakes during a thunderstorm do you think you are rewarding the undesirable behavior? Don't worry, you aren't. What we are dealing with is an involuntary, emotional response. Your dog is learning about events and their predictive relationship with other events. Voluntary behavior (sit, down, etc.), on the other hand, is all about rewards and punishment.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI