I didn’t read this whole thread so hopefully I don’t repeat a bunch of stuff.
First training has to be tailored to the dog. A really high drive, nervy dog takes a different set of rules than a couch potato dog.
Many years ago it pounded into me by various “ force “ means used on humans that one word, one time was the dog command. So you show the dog wat you want. Patiently waiting until it sinks in so that the dog thinks “ oh he said sit”, if I sit I get a reward. Ok I’ll sit” . “ now he gives me a reward. If I sit faster I get a better reward. I’ll just plop my rear end down hard”. “ wow I got my favorite treat. This is great”
Now you have something to work with. Some dogs figure this out quickly and discover it works on other commands too. These guys are the fun ones to train. The couch potato will try your patience if you are looking for quick response. Even more patience on your part is required.
Where is the force here? Not. You have to get a real bond with the dog before you make big progress in training. Off leash is a long way off. I like to think all commands need to be rock solid before even attempting a long distance recall. I see all kinds of mistakes and blown off recalls in classes. The dog must just be the happiest thing when he is near you. All things good happen close to you.
For my Aussie I only use one word, one time commands. No stay. It’s a double command. The same with the name. Name is a marker or attention getter. I use name the same as “watch me”. I added this after a year of general training. Most of our training is “streetwise” and not competition. However it is just as important to have good control out walking.
I use a short loop tab for very close control heeling. She knows when I pick up the tab that it means stay in heel position and no pulling or other foolishness. It sounds like I use a lot of force but I don’t at all. A simple eye contact is often enough to redirect or be a correction because she wants to be with me. With the tab by commanding “ rightside “. Runtogether word Command, she is to heel close on the right. Follow or lead work the same way with the leash. These are important commands when out walking and unruly dogs are around or we need to work in tight quarters.
So really work on getting a good bond and reward the dog for being close to you.
Tron GSD SCH III, AD, TD. Never to be forgotten buddy
SCH III Club
Samantha, Australian Shepherd, rescued , loves everyone