A good trainer rarely allows a mistake to happen because the teaching is done in almost fool proof, tiny increments. Every increment learned earns the dog a reward and so the learning process itself turns into a chain that is endorphine producing for both dog and human. The human is happy because the dog is successful, which makes the human successful, which makes the dog proud and happy which makes the human proud and happy. Voila! You are creating a snowball effect of good will, joy and success.
A good trainer teaches the dog in small increments and is very consistent about rewarding only the behaviors he/she is looking for at the moment, or approximations thereof. Never is there a reprimand that the dog is wrong. If the dog does not understand then the onus is on the trainer . The trainer rethinks the way he is presenting the problem to the dog.
Once the desired behavior is taught a good trainer actually generalizes and proofs it. That means: taking the dog into many different situations to teach the behavior even if there are distractions around. This process is also built in small increments of increasing difficulty. A good trainer does not just work with naturally occurring distractions, but works by throwing food, toys or jumping around, purposely using cues that are not a release cue while at the same time as asking the dog to perform the desired behavior. Not just one toy…but anything that comes to mind. Not just treat bits but entire chicken carcasses.
The only way you can truly train a dog to be reliable in 99.999% of circumstances is by teaching the dog that thoroughly.
All this is actually fun and demands great creativity and foresight on the trainer’s part. Trainer/handler and dog also bond very closely and interacting is a pleasure.
If you don’t try it you are missing out!
Who ever said that “training” was boring?