I don't know enough to know I am in over my head when it comes to actually "training" a dog - but I have learned a lot of stuff the hard way.
I have two Germans, the boy is about 110# and the girl is growing fast and is probably around 60#.
Needless to say, when they want something, they are a handful until they get it. And it doesn't matter if it's outside, in my lap when I am trying to type on the forum or just dinner. They are VERY persuasive.
Anyways, I was looking for some help in getting them to behave a little better and believe it or not, I found from that Caeser/Dog whisperer fruitloop. I personally can't stand the guy and think he is making gazillions of dollars doing what anybody that surrounded themselves with dogs for 24 hours a day could do.
I was channel surfing and saw he was talking to a guy with a Mastiff and the dog had some traits that were far worse than mine were, so I was intrigued.
He was saying that a lot of times dogs will go against their commands to get attention, even if it's negative attention. One of the ways to counter that is to exercise them regularly, with you, so they get that bonding, but also get tired.
We started a strict regime of every morning we play fetch with the dogs before we leave for work. When I get home first during the week, I play fetch with them. When the lady comes home about 50% of the time she plays with them, then before bed we both play fetch with them.
Every session takes about 10 or 15 minutes, but the dogs are running the whole time and they get exhausted.
We have been doing this for about 2 months now, almost every day, and the dogs have been a lot better. No more chewing on stuff, no more being bad for the sake of being bad. They listen much better than before, though they are hardly ready for any competitions, and they are generally better mannered.
This weekend was a classic example of the opposite. It was raining, cold and miserable, so neither of us wanted to take them out on Saturday morning. We had got up later than normal, fed them and turned on the fireplace. Sure enough, dogs running amock and being a pain in the ass.
20 minutes in the rain later, they were asleep on the foor and happiness was restored.
Odd as it sounds, playing fetch was WAY better for them than nightly walks on the leash and it truly worked for my two.