I am about to commit dog training heresy. Let me start by saying that the three main principles of dog training are repetition, timing and consistency.
However, sometimes even the best dog owners have periods of inconsistency. This is even more likely if there are multiple people training dogs in the house. For example, it can be very difficult to get kids to be consistent (this is nothing compared to getting husbands to be consistent).
But even with inconsistency, it is possible to get a well trained dog. It may take a little longer, but if you give your dog a chance to figure out what you want, you’ll get there. For instance, my husband Dick sees nothing wrong with occasionally giving a dog food from the table. I find it a really annoying habit. The result in our house is that our older dog Sitka will sit and stare at Dick every time he eats. On the other hand, if I’m eating Sitka doesn’t waste his time – he knows there will be no payoff. Dogs are capable of learning contextually and that’s has happened here. We have a dog that has successfully navigated the mixed messages we’ve sent and we’re both satisfied with the result.
This is not to say that consistency is not important. I do agree it’s vital to good dog training and the more you and your family are consistent, the easier the training will go. Nonetheless, don’t give up if everybody in your house is not on board. The journey is just a little rockier.