I am constantly amazed how difficult some humans find non human communication to be, when it is the most basic of all communications starting in infancy. Our bodies communicate constantly by our posture, ticks, etc. An infant human, or non human, exhibit the same behaviour, they cling to their mothers, cry when in distress, hunger or bored.
Since this is a blog about canines I will stick to them and humans as the bond between the two is unique and unlike any other inter species relationship.
I was once called by a man whose dog I had trained while she was still in the shelter to make her more adoptable. I train with hand signals because, again, body language is universal. I did teach her about 25 commands and she was highly intelligent so when the shelter worker rang me saying the adopter was returning this beautiful dog I had worked with, I was aghast. I had him ring me and he told me the dog wouldn't do anything they told her to do. He had a thick accent and I asked him what language was he talking in when he gave the dog commands. He said Spanish! Which is fine except I didn't teach her Spanish, I taught her English. I went to visit the family and worked with them using hand signals and used Spanish to give the same 25 commands she knew in English. So she understands English/Spanish and hand signals. The man was not stupid but he couldn't understand that dogs aren't born knowing commands: they are taught and it's easier to teach a dog than to teach a kid.
So, how do you start when you get a puppy or an adult. If you adopt an adult dog from the shelter, ask if they changed the name. If the dog has the name the old owner gave him/her, give the dog a new name; new life, new name. The old name may bring back unpleasant memories or painful ones if the dog was abused or misses his old guardian. Dogs learn in a day but oftentimes, they don't like a certain name so change it. Usually, it should be two syllables, and not harsh. Frankie is better than Frank.
If acquiring from a reputable breeder, please DO NOT BUY FROM PUPPY STORES. Those dogs come from horrible puppymills and you will regret it because your puppy has been breed with no intelligence; he has been bred in greed and may suffer from severe physical and emotional problems.
I rarely teach my dogs sit, stay because they are tiny but they know stop, come here, go out, shut up, quiet, down, drop, come in/out, poopoo, night night.t
The Bolognese are the most intelligent of the small breeds and, because I have a pack, the pack teaches the babies the rules of the house but if you don't have this advantage, then the first two things you need to teach are come which is easy, get on your"come" but you must be consistent. Always use the same commands and every human in the household should use the same words. If you teach sit but your spouse says sit down, the dog may not comprehend so decide what words you are going to use and be consistent. Sit is very easy. Take a yummy treat in your hand and make sure the dog can't get to it, and slowly put it close to his/her nose, preferably in a corner, and raise your hand, still holding the treat, so your dog, by looking up is forced to sit down. All the while lavish praise. Good Sit! Never hit a dog for any reason because they won't know why you are doing it. If they mess your house, unless you catch them at the moment of pooping or peeing, by the time you reprimand them, they will have forgotten and won't know why you are yelling. Also, try to visualize the world from your dog's point of view. Things look quite different from their level and a toddler, staggering towards them with an ungainly gait and waving arms might seem a horrific menace though you may think your toddler is adorable, the dog only sees a monster that is going to attack him/her. A dog's strength is his nose, ears, eyes, in that order. I don't train with treats, I train with praise and petting and it gives better results than giving them treats. As to trainers, in theory I can teach people to be trainers but the problem is they teach the dog and you are there but once the trainer leaves you are left as bewildered as before. You need to understand body language. A dog will follow you with his eyes, knows when you are trying to sneak out of the house, in fact, after a few years, a dog will know when you are leaving the office! If you point at something, his eyes will follow your arm. I have tried pointing with my foot, something the dog has never seen, and they look at what my foot is pointing to. Dogs are extremely intelligent, loyal to a fault but you have to learn dog speak. You don't need a trainer, you need horse sense, common sense which seems to have almost disappeared and with consistency, praise and love you will have a well behaved dog. Also, research the breed you want. If you are a couch potato, don't get a Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog, etc., these are working dogs with high energy, extremely intelligent and if bored will tear your house down in a day. I am always happy to answer questions because I love dogs above anything else and I want them to stay in good, lovng homes. The humans who adopt one of my Bolognese have only to call me and I respond immediately. Also, if you live in the area, I will doggysit if you need me to, all because I am a proud breeder of the rare, enchanting Bolognese.