There are several common methods of dog training, including classical conditioning, operant-conditioning training (encompassing positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement training), dominance-based training, clicker training, and electronic training.
Classical conditioning dates back to Pavlov – it means learning through association. If one thing consistently leads to another, a dog will associate the first with the second. The long-term result is to create habitual behaviors.
Operant conditioning can be split into two sub-categories: positive reinforcement, where a dog is rewarded for good behavior, and negative, where a dog experiences consequences for bad behavior. The long-term result creates a dynamic where a dog will try new environments or behaviors due to owner prompts.
Clicker training is a very popular sub-category of operant conditioning, where a dog is first trained with treats and corresponding “click” noise, and then gradually weaned to do the same processes for fewer treats but the same amount of clicks.
Dominance-based training is a controversial method that is modeled around the “Alpha dog” hierarchy model, where one creature leads a pack. However, though dominance training has many naysayers, it is the precursor of the iconic “Dog Whisperer” method popularized by Cesar Millan.