Positive reinforcement is the most powerful tool available for shaping or changing your dog's behavior. In short, it means we’ll use rewards (treats and praise) to reinforce behaviors we want, while redirecting away from behaviors we don’t want. There are several key elements to positive reinforcement training, including correct reward timing, consistency, and patience. The basic idea is to begin using treats, as food is almost always the easiest way to begin training, and then gradually transition to verbal and physical praise.
When considering a trainer and training method, I encourage you to think about how you prefer to learn something new. Would you like your teacher be positive and encouraging when you do something right, and understanding when you don't do it perfectly at first? Would you prefer someone scream “NO!” or send you a shock when you make a mistake? Which would lead to a stronger bond with your teacher? Which might lead you to be anxious, fearful, confused, or angry? Which would lead to more trust and respect in the relationship?