Pets don't naturally do obedience. Obedience and manners are human rules. We want our dogs to go to the bathroom outside. We want them to walk nicely on a leash. We want them to leave food on the dinner table alone. When visiting with people, we want them to sit politely.
In a dog's world, none of these would be considered an issue. Wild dogs don't do obedience. Dogs simply do not bark out obedience commands at one another. The skills they do learn are generally not accepted in pet homes.
They learn to hold onto food and bite if approached. Dogs learn to step clear of other dogs that have food. They learn to sniff each other's butts.
It is an owner's job to teach their pet to fit into our world - not the other way around.
Technically speaking, there is no natural way to do obedience. But if one method comes close, it is food based training.
All animals work for food. Squirrels search for nuts. Cats hunt mice. Frogs catch bugs. Dogs scavenge for food. That is their job.
Food based training capitalizes on this drive. Animals willingly work for their food. Of course animals must get their full daily ration of food. There is no need to deprive an animal to achieve results.
There are many ways owners can enrich their pet's day by using food. Treat balls and busy toys can be filled with a portion of the dog's daily food. Kong toys can be smeared with peanut butter or cream cheese to assist in crate training.
A portion of the dog's daily diet can also be used for training basic skills in an area free from distractions.
Special treats do have their place in positive reinforcement training. When working in distracting environments bring out the good stuff. Food is an excellent motivator. Make sure the dog is getting something it wants to earn.
When the dog enjoys its job, owners will find that new skills come quickly and easily.