Top 5 Most Common Dog Training Mistakes
It is true, you can make mistakes while training and raising your dog!
And, these mistakes will make the training process longer and more tedious for both you and your canine friend!
Here Are the Top 5 Most Common Dog Training Mistakes:
5. Rewarding the Wrong Behavior
You can reward the wrong behavior.
Actually, it happens all the time.
Interesting to note, it doesn’t usually happen while you are actively “training”; it usually happens because the dog is the one doing the training!
When your dog barks and demands to be fed at 4:45 a.m., and you feed him because you tire of his barking, you are rewarding the wrong behavior.
When your dog’s ball rolls under the sofa, and he barks and you retrieve it for him, you are rewarding the wrong behavior.
When your dog jumps on you, and you pet him, you are rewarding the wrong behavior!
If you are fairly consistently seeing a bad behavior crop up, ask yourself if somehow you are inadvertently rewarding it!
4. Waiting for Bad Behavior
This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to raising and training a puppy!
You should not sit around waiting for bad behavior to show up and then decide to deal with it.
Once the bad behavior becomes a habit, it is much, much more difficult to change!
The truth is that you should be rewarding GOOD behavior.
I don’t understand how most people don’t realize that dogs need to be told and rewarded when they are doing something right!
I mean, how does your dog know that lying down on his dog bed and chewing a bone is something that you want him to do if you don’t praise and reward him when he does so?
Literally, I think people are lying in wait to catch their dog doing something bad. 🙁
I recommend that you catch your dog doing something good.
Did you know, that if you reward him for good behavior (things you like), he will likely begin to choose those behaviors because he knows you like them?
Doesn’t that seem a lot easier than waiting for him to form bad habits?
3. Using Corrections
I will admit that every dog probably is going to need his behavior corrected at some point or another.
But, many people rely on corrections as a means to TEACH.
When I was a young dog trainer, I was educated and taught how to issue a swift correction.
Prong collars were put on all incoming dogs or puppies, no matter the age, and a swift leash pop was given with a command.
I realize now just how unfair and terrifying that must have been for those dogs, but especially the puppies.
If I went to another country and someone was trying to teach me a new language and job, I wouldn’t want them to teach me in this fashion.
I would want to be actually helped and educated.
I would want my appropriate behavior and attempts to be rewarded.
And, I would want my teacher to understand and notice if I was truly trying to learn.
When I struggle, I want to be helped and not have pain introduced.
I think that goes for all of us.
Why, then, do we think it is acceptable to teach animals in this barbaric manner?
2. Reluctance to Manage Your Dog
Soooooo many people refuse to manage their dog or puppy.
They bring a new dog/puppy home and release it into the great abyss which is their house.
The dog/puppy is allowed to wander and chew and have accidents without ever being noticed.
Bad behavior develops and begins to condition.
When really, it is so much simpler to manage your dog and his environment than it is to follow him around and clean up after him.
I would rather avoid puppy potty training accidents and clean the carpet efficiently.
I would rather avoid my dog eating my computer or underwear.
Plus, avoiding these behaviors means the dog is not learning to sneak away and show these bad behaviors!
All it requires is a leash, a baby gate, or some kind of way to keep the dog in the room with you.
It also requires a bit of your time and commitment.
But, trust me when I tell you, this time is much less than the time you will devote to cleaning up the destruction if you do not!
1. Not Training at All
This is the BIGGEST mistake anyone can make.
Some people think that dog training is somehow mean for the dog.
Making the dog listen, giving the dog rules, is somehow unfair??
But, these same people don’t (hopefully) feel the same about their kids.
I mean, you wouldn’t keep your kids home and never educate them, would you?
You wouldn’t allow your children to live with no rules!
Dogs need rules too.
Rules keep dogs safe.
Dogs also need “school” and training.
Training stimulates us all mentally.
Mental stimulation is crucial to healthy living.
And, although we humans can fairly easily mentally stimulate ourselves with books, TV, social media, our phones, computers, going outside, games, friends, family, etc., your dog doesn’t really have those options.
If you don’t mentally stimulate him… he is going to find a way to stimulate himself and that typically isn’t a good thing.
Dogs dig, rip, shred, eat, and otherwise destroy as a means to mentally stimulate themselves.
Imagine having a toddler and not providing him/her with some kind of stimulation, or school and learning?
Dogs need mental stimulation and training just as much, if not more than, people!
Do your dog a favor and get to training!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.