Everybody loves to pet their dog and so do we. Although we pet our dogs regularly and frequently, you need to keep in mind that petting tends to get your dog all excited. For example, when you are training your dog to sit on command and he sits, you vigorously pet him for responding to your command, chances are he is going to forget about the sit and get up. What you want him to do is concentrate on the “sit”, so keep your hands off the dog and verbally praise him with “good dog”, so he understands that is what you want.
By the way, dogs don’t like being petted on top of the head anymore than you did when you were a child. Perhaps you can remember the times when relatives would pat you on top of the, or worse yet, pinch your cheek. Get into the habit of petting your dog in a massaging motion under his chin and down the shoulders.
Praise is verbal as in “good dog, your are doing what I want you to do.” It is not an invitation to change position or move.
The release is when you tell your dog it’s OK to move. Door manners are an example. When teaching your dog to sit at the door before going out, the release word is “OK” (or any other word you choose), meaning “you can go out now.”