Top 5 Most Common Dog Training Mistakes

dog training, puppy training, 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 training, puppy training, common dog training mistakes

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.

dog training, puppy training, common dog training mistakesThey 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!

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  1. Vicki says:

    Very well put !!! Reading what you wrote makes so much sense..compairing and giving examples really makes people stop and think……


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you 🙂 sometimes it is difficult to write and I hope I get my ideas across 🙂 so it is nice to hear when I have!


  2. Sarah W says:

    This is so helpful. Thank you. I think I am realising that the flip side of ‘waiting for bad behaviour’ sums up what may happen with a rescue dog lacking confidence – if I don’t click and treat when she encounters and looks at or hears something new it soon becomes something to be afraid of or bark at.


  3. Deegie McGill says:

    Thank you for the tips! Sometimes people just need to be reminded to think!!


  4. Karen Seeley says:

    I have a 3 yr. old mini Aussie,she is very well behaved, but 2 behaviors I can’t seem to break are the
    “Front door fiasco” where she
    runs full steam ahead and barks. 2)Leash pulling,I have a very bad back & she has rehurt me twice already.Shes good if it’s just her&I,but the 2nd someone else walks w/us-uh-oh! Why would a dog bark at 1
    person only even tho they’ve been over MANY Times?


  5. Janet says:

    I have a mixed breed hunting dog .he has a few problems,like chewing everything .barking at everything ,but most bothersome is his over protection of home and people. He has nipped at ppl. It makes me nervous to have any one over .what can I do to stop his anxiety of new ppl .


  6. Charles Speltz says:

    Boy! Do I connect with this info! I try to train my three beagles and my wife works twice as hard to un-train them. You can guess who wins!


  7. Debra says:

    We rescued a 2 year old Irish wolfhound mix. He’s very smart about most things but…. He snaps his jaws, literally, if you touch his ears or do something he doesn’t like. We also have the door fiasco as well barking issues. We’ve had him for a year and I don’t know what to do. I thought he just needed more exercise but that’s not the case.


    Minette Reply:

    To deal with aggression issues, you need a boarded veterinary behaviorist. I can’t see the dogs behavior and therefore it wouldn’t be responsible for me to give you behavior advice.


  8. Darla Walden says:

    I have a 2 year old rescue that was very abused. I’m disabled, now a double amputee. My dog, Lady, is VERY overly protective and can get very aggressive. What can I do?


    Minette Reply:

    I would find a boarded veterinary behaviorist to work with you both, aggression is not something to chance and a behaviorist can see the behavior and help you.


  9. Denise graham says:

    Same here,she doesn’t like us answering the door,goes for our feet.


    Minette Reply:

    Put her on leash and give her a behavior she can do instead, like “down”


  10. Patti says:

    We have 2 Five Year old Shitzu & Biscion loveable boys. For some reason they have both started peeing on the carpet, anything that’s left on the floor etc….how do I stop this?
    I could use a good carpet cleaner to get rid of the smell.


  11. Josey Rosenthal says:

    ur puppy is 9 months old, and we cannot seem to house train him/ He is such a good little guy but we really need help with trAINING. DO YOU COME TO THE HOUSE TO TRAIN, or can you give us some references? Thank you


  12. Susan Whitfield says:

    I have 2 male Boston Terriers age 6 and 8. When someone knocks or rings the doorbell, they charge the door barking and carrying on. They go into a frenzy and have had vicious fights with one another. The younger dog is neutered and the older one is not. They each take a daily tranquilizer but the doorbell behavior continues to be a problem.


    Minette Reply:

    Search our articles on doorbell training


  13. Barb says:

    I have a brother and sister that are 2 yrs old.when it is time to take them out they bark and get aggressive with each soon as I put leashes on and open door they stop fighting and barking at each other.I have another 2yr old female that just looks at them like they are nuts..HELP……


    Minette Reply:

    I would keep leashes on them and teach them alternate behaviors, like going to lay on a bed.


  14. Sheelagh says:

    My puppy 11 months old NEVER wants to come inside home when we go out. help!!


    Minette Reply:

    Go get the dog and reward heavily when the dog comes inside. Condition that coming inside is rewarding.


  15. Tom Salinas says:

    I have a 4 year old Mini Schnauzer and an eight month old Boston Terrier my Boston Terrier is always grabbing his leash or my schnauzers leash and wants to take control and pulled him all over the place how can I correct this?


    Minette Reply:

    look up my articles on leash training and leash manners


  16. Bill says:

    Lots of people and dogs on our beaches….biggest error is people failing to praise their dog when he does the right thing…I tell them “if I’m not saying ‘good dog’ fifty times a day I’m not doing my job…” love your posts!


  17. Marilyn Linn says:

    Hi Karen, When you find the answer, let me know. My dog does a similar thing. Someone told me she was being protective, trying the scare the other person/dog away, but it really seems likes she tries to invite play. However, most people are afraid to unleash a dog with the hope the two dogs will play and not fight. My little darling likes to bark when she’s getting ready to play. At the beach, that’s fine, but in the street, it’s not so acceptable. So she pulls on the lead then. As soon as the stimulation moves on, she’s co-operative again. Job Done, I think.


  18. Kimberly Holiday says:

    Hello , I have a 3 yr old Bernese Mt. Dog. He has Not has any professional training yet! But He has a Terrible problem pulling me all over the place! I don’t know What to do to train him properly! I have been thinking about using a Halty, but when I tried to get it on him, Of Course Not! He puts it in his mouth! I also have been having on going arm & back trouble , which is resulting from Him! Any Advice would Be Appreciated! Thank You, Kim ,,,


    Minette Reply:

    Read this and the articles highlighted within


  19. Mickey says:

    Have a 2 year old SUPER high Ball obsessed Shepherd. She is a very good, obedient dog with excellent manners..EXCEPT when it comes to her Ball. She will actually sit in front of me for hours..STARING….WAITING to go outfront to play ball. She has dogdoor access to backyard, but we only play ball in the front. I have 2 acres.
    Impulse control methods have not worked so far…and I have been working on this for over a year. She is totally focused on going out. She will do anything to bash through the front door and has already taken the storm door off it’s frame by pushing at the bottom to open it.Any advice?


    Minette Reply:

    Use the ball to cap her drive and teach her control. I build my dog’s drive for the toy and then I teach them to control themselves if they want to play.

    I also don’t allow them to play with a ball any other time, so that playing with me is exciting.


  20. I have a 3 1/2 year old Lab. He was a rescrue dog so I have no idea how he was treated the first two years of his life. He has been trained by me to do the sit, lay, leave it and etc.

    He loves to run and will not come to me when I call him. He takes off and I have to get hrlp to get him back. He runs the back yard and he will not come when I call him.He flinches many many times when I try to praise him or just reach out to pet him. He is always sniffing for food and hangs near me when I am eating and I try to sit him down away from me but he gets up and is right there again.He has a bed next to our bed and seemed to love it but recently he is sleeping in our hallway????????????He gets a bone treat every morning & he walks around all over the house with it in his mouth before he finally lays down and eats it. I keep complaing to my wife that he is a very weird dog. Him not listening to my call really upsets form my wife and she really loves the dog.


    Minette Reply:

    search my articles for teaching your dog to come when called.


  21. Cindy Nordlie says:

    These are very good comments. I have a miniature dachshund that is 16 months old and I can’t get him to quit barking. I live in an apartment and I’m sure people get irritated at the noice. Help!


  22. Sylvia Kondorf says:

    I have a 6 month old goldendoodle. We got her at 4 months of age, I didn’t want a young pup because I have a 2 year old goldendoodle who is very active with little dogs. He is 90 lbs and has no idea how big he is. Other than his love for other pups and people, he is well behaved. Anyway, we were doing well with house breaking pup the first 3 weeks, when I fell over the baby gate we used for her and I shattered my ankle. I am non weight bearing for at least 4 months. I have many steps going to my house so the responsibility of the dogs has all been left on my husband who has a bad back. We are crate training, but no longer use the crate during the day. The pup has had accidents in the house, only pee. She is having difficulty figuring out how to tell us she needs to go out. Mike takes her out every 3 hours, but she still has accidents. She is also a chewer. Of everything. I’m stuck in a wheel chair, and Mike has all the household chores so can’t be up here all the time. I’m hoping you have some suggestions.


    Minette Reply:

    I would keep her on leash in the house until these habits are gone.


  23. Becky says:

    We took our Silver Lab to baseball games and everywhere we could think of to socialize her but when she is in the entryway of our house and can’t see who has come to the door she barks like crazy and her hair stands on end like she’s being aggressive but we know she’s really scared. How do we train her to not be afraid of strangers when she can’t see who is coming to the door?


    Minette Reply:

    I would put her on leash and give her a behavior she can accomplish, like the “place” command. Use the search bar at the top of the page to search my articles on how to teach it.


  24. Louise says:

    Josie Rosenthal
    Take your pup out every hour for his potty. After feeding him or when he gets up from a sleep Praise him to the highest when he does and if you want give a treat. Keep him on a leash when doing this or a long line. If you have to you might have to train to Crate train him …feed treats and let him go in, don’t close the door at first then keep doing this and start shutting the door. Close it for longer durations of time . As he gets use to it he will go in on his own then you will be able to close him in for the night. In the morning put him right out for potty. Praise.
    Good luck!


  25. I want to stop my dog from aggressively jumping on and humping people who gettoo close to me. Yes I did. I tried to sign up for “ but could not because I left the letter (l) off of my gmail address. Hopefully I corrected it. I do want to be on your mailing list. I have a beautiful Australian/Boarder Collie who just turned 7 on February 4th. He is so smart. Only thing is, I belong to him and he is not at all happy to share. We have lived together since I rescued him when he was 8 weeks old. We love each other to heaven and back but if I hug my daughters or granddaughters he mounts them hard and starts humping them. This must stop. Please help me. Thank you in advance.


    Minette Reply:

    Put him on leash and don’t allow it. This is also a dog that needs help with impulse control.


  26. Kenya Simpson says:

    I have a 7 month old lab puppy. How can I get him to stop chewing things outside while I am at work? He has plenty of toys to play with, as well as my other lab who is 10. I’m hoping he will grow out of it soon. Any suggestions?


    Minette Reply:

    You can’t do any training while you are not there, this is why crates are essential, they keep dogs safe when you are gone.


  27. Kathy Hall says:

    I have a smaller dog that growls at everything.


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