"Conditioning" is a somewhat passive training method I like to use. It doesn't require a lot of time or energy or money, but can produce big results in certain areas of behavior.
It's sort of like muscle memory, but more for the brain. Change the brain, change the action, or reaction.
You can not "train" a dog to "react" a certain way. Well, actually, the experts may be able to, but not me! But what I can do is condition him, and put him in to a position of reacting in a positive way.
Let me give you an example.
Happy has always behaved very well in the house. So, we actually do give him roaming privileges at night. Never, ever been a problem.
To "condition" him, I started watching for him to take a nap. I waited until he was in the R.E.M. stage, where they jerk and make little noises. Then, I would get close, always in a standing position, then I'd make a noise. If it woke him, I'd barely touch him on the foot or rear end with my foot. Again, standing. Never lean over them to do this. You could easily get bitten. Repeating this 3 or 4 times a day, every day for months. The whole thing takes about 1 minute. Never show a reaction, other than a friendly word or pet. This makes his experience of being woken, a pleasant one. After a while, he will expect it to be a harmless reason, when he is awakened.
I did the same thing to get him used to other people touching him. He wasn't used to being with a lot of people at once, like at Christmas when the whole family is here. He was a little shy. I didn't want to kennel him during these times, but I didn't want to worry about him biting a child or acting out of fear. I conditioned him.
If I passed him and he was awake, I would stroke him or pet him as I went by, without ever stopping. If he was a sleep, I'd gently bump him with my shoe, or make a little disturbing noise, and then give him a little pet. I touched him on almost every part of his body. I groom him and cut his nails and hair. I clean his ears and eyes. I know his ears are sensitive, he loves his neck and back rubbed. He hates getting his toe nails cut, his feet are ticklish, and he's not real fond of you getting too personal with him, but he will allow it, if necessary. All of this is conditioning. And I believe conditioning makes all the difference.