Are you making these dog training mistakes?
Whether you’re just starting to train your dog, or you’re looking for more expert advice to speed up the process, there’s a few easy mistakes, that if avoided, can really help speed up the training process.
Below are the 5 most common mistakes people make when training.
MISTAKE NUMBER 1
Repeating your command more than once
This is the most common mistake among dog owners. I can almost guarantee we have all done this - me included!
Let’s say you are trying to get your dog to sit—you tell him to “sit” and he doesn’t sit.
So what do you do? You'll probably tell him to "sit" again. You might end up saying it three or four times before he responds and sits.
If you say "sit" three times before your dog sits, and then reward, he will think that he doesn't have to do something until you tell him three times. You don't want this to become habit so you should really only ask your dog once.
You want your dog to listen to you first time, so make sure that in training and practicing commands, you enforce this rule of only saying the command one time.
If your dog does not listen to your command after the first time, or gets distracted, try using his name or the “kissy sound’ to re-focus his attention back to you while using the hand gesture for that specific command.
MISTAKE NUMBER 2
Scolding Your Dog By Using His Name
You catch Bandit chewing his bed (thanks again for that B), so you immediately tell him 'Bandit! No!'
It is natural for us as humans to say their name when they are misbehaving but we really shouldn't! We want your dog to think is name is something positive, we want him to like his name as we will end up saying it a lot!
You want your dog to look at you or come to you whenever you say his name—not to run away! For this to happen, your dog must think that something positive is going to happen when he hears his name.
If your dog starts to associate his name with being in trouble, why would he come to you when you call his name?
If you have been doing this, don’t worry! It is definitely not too late to fix it.
Start saying your dog’s name in a positive tone all the time—at home, on walks, at the park—and reward your dog with a treat, or just simply pets and praise for looking at you or coming to you after saying his name.
MISTAKE NUMBER 3
When working through behavioural issues, it is so important to be consistent with what is appropriate and what is not appropriate behaviour.
For example, if you are trying to get your dog to stop begging, if you ignore him 20 times, but crack, and give in to his puppy dog eyes once, he will only remember that one time you did give in.
Yes, it will get to be repetitive, and often times you may think it is easier to just give him some scraps off the table to get him to go away.
However, that one time you give him something, all the progress you have made with correcting the issue will go right out the window, so it is extremely important to enforce the appropriate behaviour consistently!
MISTAKE NUMBER 4
Only Telling Your Dog “No” After Misbehaving
Everything we teach our dogs has a meaning, "sit" means butt on the floor, "stay" means stay there until I get back, but what does 'No' actually mean to our dog? We need to tell him what we do want.
If you tell Alaska "no" when you catch her chewing your shoe (why?!) she is thinking well why should I stop? Instead we need to tell her no, and redirect her to an appropriate before such as a chew toy.
Redirection is very, very important in dog training. With any behaviour that you don’t want your dog exhibiting, you need to teach your dog what is appropriate to do instead, rather than just telling him “no.”
MISTAKE NUMBER 5
Making Training Anything Other Than...Fun!
Training should always be a fun experience!
Creating a training environment that your dog enjoys is so incredibly important. If you find something too hard, do you enjoy doing it? Probably not, and neither will your dog!
The fun part is when you understand and catch onto something and then get rewarded. Dogs are very similar in their motivation by rewards, so the more you reward them for doing the right thing during training, the more they will enjoy training.
Rewarding a dog for doing the correct thing is called positive reinforcement. I am a huge advocate of using this method, and making training fun for you and your dog!
You must also have fun with training too. It is easy to get frustrated when your dog isn’t catching onto something you are trying to teach him, but it is important to not exert that frustration onto your dog.
Dogs can always sense human feelings, and they feed off of those feelings—good or bad.
If you are frustrated, your dog will know, and this will make training the opposite of fun for your dog. If your dog is getting too confused or you are getting frustrated, move onto the next part of the training session and continue to have fun with it!
Always try to end on something your dog knows, so it ends on a positive too!
After reading through this, you might seem a little overwhelmed with how much can actually go wrong when training your dog.. but that’s okay.
Nobody starts out as an expert; everybody is going to make some mistakes!
To help you out I run free advice sessions on zoom so keep an eye out for these on my page.
I also offer puppy consultations for new dog owners, as well as 1-1 training sessions and also group classes.
Thanks for reading!