Even with the best dog training programs such as Brain Training for Dogs, there is still so much you need to do to train your dog successfully. Although most dog trainers will ultimately get the basics down, there are many potential training mistakes that can set the progress of your dog back. Others are so serious they can interfere with the ability of your dog to learn cool new tricks. If you are not an expert, dog training won’t come naturally, and it’s okay to make mistakes. But by knowing the common pitfalls when training your pup and finding ways beforehand to correct them, you will have much easier training sessions and ensure the experience is enjoyable for all parties. Here are the top 9 mistakes you need to avoid when training your dog.
Common Training Mistakes
1. Being Inconsistent with your Commands
One of the worst mistakes, and unfortunately one of the most common ones, that dog owners make when training their puppies is inconsistency about the commands. Wavering with training causes your dog to continue with the undesirable traits since it becomes confused about what it is permitted to do. For instance, if you don’t approve of your dog going to the house, you need to be firm about this rule. Don’t allow it sometimes to jump and at other times you forbid it.
2. Repeating Cues
This is also called command nagging and is another big mistake that pet owners make. Repeating the command several times continuously without your pet performing the action you desire of it will make it to know that it needs not to listen to your command at the first time of asking. It will get the notion that the repeated command is the real request. Your dog won’t respond to the first command in the future.
3. Over-relying on treats and ignoring praise and esteem
Treats work wonderfully when it comes to complimenting your dog for pulling off a desirable behavior. However, too many treats can be counterproductive. This is why Frisbee, hunting, law enforcement, or agility dogs are not offered food rewards when being trained. The reasoning is that treats break the focus of dogs and affect actual performance. You can also include other muses like praise and brief playing time with its favorite toy.
By all means, give your dog treats when introducing new behavior. However, once Scamper has learned the behavior, use play praise, and praise instead of treats. Surprising treat rewards often sharpen a dog’s behavior contrary to frequent predictable rewards that slow focus and performance. You also need to understand that you are a reward for your dog. When you respond happily on your dog doing well, it has more effect than a treat.
4. Having Long Training Sessions
Dogs have short attention spans and so cannot concentrate for long spells of time. Any training that goes longer than 10 minutes will not be effective. By having shorter training sessions, you will avoid the frustration that you feel when your dog doesn’t get the command right.
5. Not Generalizing Obedience Behaviors
If you want to teach Furry the “sit” command and you do so in your family room, it’s the only place your dog is going to reliably sit. This is common mistake dog owners make. They fail to generalize a behavior in several different parts of the home with varying conditions. You also need to subject it to different distraction levels to ensure she responds to your obedience as best as possible.
To generalize a behavior, you will need to teach it at home first where there is no distraction. After that, increase distractions gradually. Turn the TV or even train it in the presence of another person nearby. Once you have perfected this, you can train it the same command out in the yard or add another person. The aim is to move to busier environments until he is able to perform the commands consistently.
I always like the way that Brain Training for Dogs program by Adrienne Faricelli introduces the idea of behavior training. It’s one of my top-most recommended programs.
6. Associating Behaviors with Negatives
It’s extremely important that, when you start training your dog about a new command, you associate it with positive reinforcement. This is crucial as it is what keeps your dog coming to you over and over again. However, if you teach your dog to come and then you put it in an unfavorable situation, for instance in a bath, there are chances that it might begin resisting the commands. It will fear or be wary about the outcome of the command.
7. Harsh Discipline
Another big mistake you can use during training is to discipline your dog harshly. It has been proved that punishments such as yelling don’t necessarily lead to desirable behaviors. More often than not, when you punish your dog during training, it only leads to anxiety or fear. Also, it can stimulate aggressive behavior from your dog. All these are harmful to you and the relationship you have with your dog, not to mention that they hamper training progress.
8. Taking Fido Home Too Soon
During the first 8 weeks of a pup’s life, she gets precious nurturing and care from her mother and also learns priceless social skills. Sadly, some shelters and breeders allow puppies to be separated from their mothers too soon. This cuts short the process of social imprinting and can result in ingrained problems.
When puppies are released before they are 8 weeks old, they will struggle to learn appropriate bite inhibition. Also, they find it hard to interact with people or other dogs normally. They can become fearful toward fellow dogs and skittish with strangers. Choosing a puppy that’s been with its littermates and mother for at least 8 weeks will help you to avoid these lifelong problems. If possible, wait for it to be 12 weeks old before you pick it.
9. Delaying Basic Training
When you bring an 8-year old puppy home, you can proceed with training it right away because she is completely capable of starting learning. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize this and erroneously think that the only training the dog should get is housebreaking. But nothing can be farther from the truth.
By starting to teach it simple obedience commands like stay, sit, come, and down among other things, you will it a head start and foster a sense of enthusiasm and focus which are vital to having a well-mannered dog. As long as it is at least 8 weeks old, proceed with training right away. You will thank me later.
By avoiding these traditional blunders, and also being reliable and caring mentor your new pet, you will easily navigate that difficult first year and also increase the chances of raising a confident, calm, and happy adult dog. Meanwhile, remember to check out the Brain Training for Dogs program. It is a pdf-based guide that teaches you everything you need to raise a good dog. It is written by a certified dog trainer and an avid dog lover who is completely passionate about hounds. You are also sure to love the fact that it’s way cheaper than hiring a dog trainer or enrolling your pet into a puppy class, but just as effective, if not better!