Around 69 million U.S. households own a dog.
Are you giving your dog the best training you can? You must be doing something right if you are even training your dog. Don’t allow little hiccups to stand in your way. You might be shocked to hear that certain variables can impede your dog’s progress, despite the fact that they might appear inconsequential.
Here are some common dog training mistakes that people make the most frequently. Use the following information in this article to learn how to avoid these blunders during your next dog training session!
1. Delaying Training
Regardless of age, training should start as soon as you bring your dog home. Don’t hold off until he ages and picks up undesirable behaviors. Dog training and behavior management are not the same things. The purpose of dog training is to mold your dog’s behavior and teach him how to react to particular words and phrases.
Although young puppies might not be prepared to master complex skills, you should start working on housebreaking and fundamental instructions. You and your dog will develop a stronger bond over time. He will develop and become accustomed to the training session schedule.
You can then experiment with entertaining activities like dog tricks and advanced training, such as agility or animal-assisted therapy.
2. Not Training Enough
There is no such thing as a one-time training session. Even when your dog has learned an action or cue, continual training will yield the best results.
Hold quick training sessions at least twice or three times a week, focusing on one project at a time. Find entertaining new skills to impart to your dog, but occasionally go back to the fundamentals.
Your dog’s training is never fully complete. Ideally, you’ll continue to train your dog as he gets older. Regular training can help maintain your dog’s proficiency. Training sessions are also enjoyable for your dog and a wonderful way for the two of you to develop a close friendship.
3. Taking a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach
Don’t assume that after reading one book on dog training, you know everything there is to know. The same is true when speaking with a buddy who is knowledgeable about pets.
There are numerous effective dog training methods and strategies available, but no two dogs are alike. You may occasionally need to seek assistance from a variety of sources and use all of the data to create your own training program.
With your dog, try trying a few different techniques to see what works. To create a strategy that works for you and your dog, combine various training philosophies. Even trying out a couple of different training classes might be a good idea. While you shouldn’t give up too soon, you should also not be scared to try something different if it doesn’t work.
On all levels, teaching a dog requires consistent reactions. Your dog becomes confused when you utilize inconsistent training methods. Additionally, you could unintentionally reinforce undesirable behaviors.
Let’s imagine you establish a rule prohibiting your dog from sitting on the couch. Soon, for one reason or another, you find yourself occasionally making an exception and letting him up there. He won’t understand why it’s okay one minute and not the next if you turn around and yell at him for sitting on the couch.
Another instance of this error is begging. Your dog won’t start begging if you never give him food from people who are eating. At first, he might attempt it a few times, but telling him to “go to your place” or constantly ignoring your dog will deter him. If someone does give him some food, he will begin to equate begging with a reward and will continue to beg in the future.
Rewarding your dog when he “kind of” does something is another illustration of inconsistent behavior. When your dog’s entire body is on the ground and you are teaching him to lie down, you reward him.
In the future, you will be acting inconsistently if you offer him a reward for “lying down” before his entire body has touched the ground. He can become confused and repeat the unfinished version if you say “lay down” to him again.
Different types of dogs learn at different rates during dog training, which takes time. Don’t let your dog’s lack of understanding cause you tension or frustration. Your dog may become stressed or irritated as a result, which can only make matters worse.
If your dog is having trouble picking something up, think about whether or not now is a suitable time to start training. Has the meeting lasted too long? Always remember to keep dog training sessions brief (10 to 15 minutes) and to wrap up with praise.
Alternatively, you may attempt segmenting the behavior into smaller components and training them separately. For this precise reason, the action/cue “roll over” is frequently practiced in phases.
Check the time the next time you start to get impatient. If it’s been too long (or if your dog appears frustrated or uninterested), just end the session with a simple task, you know your dog can carry out. Even if it means returning to the sit cue, be sure to end on a high note.
You can afterward attempt to divide the training into smaller portions.
Another illustration of impatience is this: Your dog refuses to sit when you ask him to. As a result, you keep saying “sit,” and after three to five repetitions, he sits down. After that, you give him a reward. In essence, you are teaching him that waiting until you utter the command five times before sitting is OK.
Say the command only once consistently, and then watch for the outcome. If your dog does not respond right away, you should wait a few seconds and then restart (getting his attention first).
6. Harsh Discipline
The majority of contemporary dog trainers concur that employing punishment to train dogs is not particularly successful. Positive dog training often increases the likelihood that dogs will perform well for their owners.
Mild aversives (such as a spray bottle or a penny can) can be used in particular circumstances and are generally not harmful.
However, additional factors can result in perilous circumstances. Yelling, hitting, alpha rolls, looking down, gripping the scruff of the neck, and pulling the leash are all examples of harsh discipline. Consequences may result from these activities.
- they might make your dog act aggressively
- they might make your dog frightened
- your dog might suffer physical injury
You are doing this incorrectly if you believe that strict punishment is required in order to “establish authority” over your dog. Because of erroneous canine and wolf research, the idea that humans serve as “pack leaders” is out of date.
Do your homework and discover the best ways to treat your dog with respect. It’s not a bullying session; training should be an enjoyable approach to strengthening your relationship with your dog.
7. Getting the Timing Wrong
Unless you communicate with your dog in a way that he can comprehend, he won’t know when he has done something well. Here’s where timing and encouraging reinforcement come into play.
To signal desired behaviors, many trainers advise using a clicker or a brief word (such as “yes”). After that, give a reward right away to make sure it’s connected to the clicker or word. Make sure everything happens swiftly (within a second or two). If the incentive is given too soon, your dog can associate it with something else.
Early in the training process, when you are trying to get your dog to link actions to cue words, positive reinforcement is extremely crucial.
The same holds true for training your dog to stop engaging in undesirable habits. Make sure to introduce the unpleasant when the action is happening if you decide to utilize it (aversives should be light and kept to a minimum or avoided entirely).
There is little you can do if your dog is urinating inside the house and you don’t catch him until he is finished. Any subsequent punishment will be connected to something else (NOT the action of peeing in the house). Your dog may learn to feel scared when there is pee on the floor, but until you catch him in the act, he won’t learn to stop doing it.
Avoid These Dog Training Mistakes
You have read books, watched videos, and attended training sessions. Your dog still doesn’t appear to enjoy training with you, though. In circumstances like this, an owner frequently unintentionally ruins the training sessions.
Avoid making these dog training mistakes the next time you and your pooch sit down to train! To read more about training your dog, click here!