You really only have two options- proactive and reactive.
With anything- business strategy, healthy living, parenting, things go much better when you put in the work upfront. The same goes for being proactive when it comes to your dog. This might be about the the time you're thinking, "Well that's great and all, but how??"
If you start anywhere- start with teaching the place command. I can't even express how great of a thing it is for your dog to stay in one place no matter what is happening around them. I just met with a new client that was telling me about all the issues she was having with her dog. Obviously there is more involved than one simple fix but truly, everything she was dealing with could be solved, managed or dramatically reduced by teaching her dog a solid place command. This is the real deal, friends.
Other ways to take control of how things go on a day to day basis:
1. Make things super clear to your dog what they can and cannot do.Take away all the gray area of sometimes they can get away with it but other times they have to listen.
2. Don't let those cute little eyes rule the house. Instead, those cute little eyes should be looking to you for direction. And when they do look, make sure you have a good answer.
3. No more free-feeding. We take away their sex drive by fixing them and we take away their food drive by giving them easy access to food all day, every day. Make them work a little harder for it- they enjoy the "hunt" even if it just looked like being hand-fed or coming when called or playing hide and seek in the house. Your dog wants to be engaged and challenged. Have a little fun with it!
Start with these suggestions and build from there. In my own experience, the embarrassment caused by my dogs rushing the door or sniffing my guests private areas or the fear of seeing my dog run across a busy street is enough of a motivation to do the hard work upfront and spend a little time each day training them on new things AND keeping them accountable to what they already know.
The real key to long-term success is to find your "why" of keeping up with training. When you think about your dog's behavior- what is it that makes your shake your head, or cry or feel like throwing in the towel? Keep that feeling in the back of your head and how you want to never feel that way again when you want to skip a session or let them get away with something "just this once." Then, think about what it would look like to have your ideal dog and let that be your driving force for all the day to day moments. After all, those slow and stead, consistent day to day moments are what makes a biggest difference in the long run.
You really can have the dog you always wanted. Be proactive and watch the magic happen.