8 Common Dog Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Posted: May 01 2018
8 COMMON DOG TRAINING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Although dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, training a dog is not as simple as you would think. Raising a good canine companion doesn’t come naturally to every dog parent, which is, unfortunately, one of the reasons so many unlucky pups are relinquished to animal shelters each year. While most dog parents are responsible enough to commit to dog training, we often develop bad habits without realizing it and slow down the training process. We’ve listed eight most common mistakes people make during dog training so you can avoid them.
1. Waiting Too Long to Start Training
Some people think that puppies don’t start learning until they are six months to a year old, but this is simply not true. Training should begin the moment your puppy comes home with you as they might pick up bad behaviors on their own. Puppies might not be able to comprehend advanced actions right away but you should begin to work on house training and basic commands immediately. This will help develop a bond with your dog from the start.
2. Not Training Your Dog Often Enough
You will get the best results if you train your dog regularly. Instead of “training then forgetting,” keep your dog’s established behaviors sharp by working them randomly and regularly, several times each day.
3. Training Your Dog for Too Long
Time spent on a training session should reflect some positive result; as soon as you attain some obvious level of success, reward, then stop. Don’t extend the training session and start teaching a new trick. It’s a lot for your dog to take in and they might get bored. It is recommended to have a 10-15 minute session every day than having a half hour session every week.
4. Expecting Too Much Too Soon
This is the biggest mistake most dog parents make during training. Never assume that your dog can complete house training in a week even if they seem bright. Remember that every dog learns at their own pace. What works for other dogs might not work for yours. Try out a few different things with your dog and find the best-suited approach.
5. Not Following Through
Dog training is all about consistency. Don’t change the rules at different times and expect your dog to adapt as easily as humans do. For example, let’s say you have a rule that your dog is not allowed on the couch. But sometimes you like to cuddle with them on the couch. If you turn around and get mad at them for being on the couch on their own, your dog won’t understand why it’s okay one moment but not the next.
6. Repeating Commands
If your dog doesn’t respond when you say “sit” or any other command, it’s usually because they haven't mastered it, or your dog is distracted. Do not repeatedly ask until after the fifth or sixth attempt the dog finally sits. Because your dog might start to think that “sit, sit, sit, sit, sit” means “sit.” In other words, you may accidentally train your puppy to sit after you say “sit” for the fifth time. Once you are sure your dog knows a command, ask only once. If they don’t respond, go back to basics and re-teach.
7. Getting the Timing Wrong
When your dog responds to your command the right way, it is crucial that you must praise him in that instant. Many trainers suggest using a clicker or a short word such as “yes” to mark desired behaviors. Then follow up with a reward right after that (within a second or two). If you miss the moment, your dog will associate the reward with another action.
The same thing goes when it comes to correcting your dog’s undesired behaviors. If you come home after a long day to a mess made by your dog and find your dog lying in the kitchen, the natural response may be for you to get mad and want to punish your dog. However, if you don’t catch your dog at the exact moment when he’s doing something wrong, he won’t understand why you are angry, or he will think that you are mad because he is lying in the kitchen.
8. Yelling or Using Physical Corrections or Punishment
If you want a balanced, well-mannered dog, the way to achieve this is with positive reinforcement behavior training, not punishment-based training. If you show anger at your dog, it will only cause your dog to avoid you at all costs. Remember, getting frustrated is normal, but don’t take it out on your dog. Make sure to simply wrap things up when the training session has been long enough and end the session with a success, even if it means going back to “sit.”