Most of what a puppy learns about people, he absorbs from his owner. If the two are aligned along a harmonic pathway, the dog will learn confident and calm responses to his world that is critical to his character development.
What you need to overcome in raising and training your puppy isn’t his natural instincts; it is the nervousness caused when these instincts can’t find a harmonic expression. The reason owners run into so much trouble isn’t that dog training is hard; it’s that we spend so much time doing things that don’t work. Dog training is easy, but fixing problems born from nervousness is very hard.
Training a dog is like building a fire. You must ignite the flame of confidence and nurture it with the dry kindling of little successes. Until the fire is blazing, too big a log can’t be added, and neither can the flame be exposed to outside elements. Once the critical point is reached, any size chunk of wood can be handled and any gust of wind will serve to heighten its roar.
Encourage and gratify your puppy’s instincts to help him develop confidence. To maintain the fire of self-confidence and calm learning, you must add a log to the fire. Training is an ongoing process, and intermittent reinforcements are needed over the course of your dog’s life.