What would you say is the best training method for dogs in general ?
I am trying to decide on a training method. Some seems to be a little too "rough". Since none of my friends have dogs, I was wondering if anyone is experienced with various techniques or would recommend one over another
Positive reinforcement, positive reinforcement and positive reinforcement. There are many training methods. I find the best methods are based on praise, treats and rewards and working on small steps. There are obviously harsher methods. Some with good results (ex: guard dogs) but is that really the type of relationship you want with your dog ? I think its more about trust, communication and affection. Give your dog the love he deserves, praise him when he does something right, give him a reward and he will learn to repeat the behavior. Choose to be patient, consistent and kind in training. Never respond in anger.
Some people use clickers as a training aid. I have seen good results with that as well. I feel like your relationship / trust will not develop with such a method. As a lifelong dog "owner", I find that praise and consistent verbal cues work best.
I have trained small dogs (Dachshunds) to large breeds (doberman) by positive reinforcement techniques. Treats, consistency, clear directions and lots of praise have always worked. Show your dog that you love him and he will learn quickly.
I agree with Benoit, positive reinforcement is the best method - and the less severe method. There are many positive results from positive reinforcement. one of which is that the methods based on punishment are likely to mess up your relationship with your dog. by giving your dog treats and praise, you are not only training him but also building a relationship, a trust. This goes a long way.