Everyone begins training a dog with a number of unknowns. First, no one can truly know how a dog will react to training and even if you know the breed, there can be differences with each individual breed. Another unknown is the type of dog training that you use. Some dogs do well with food based reinforcement and some do not and owners will need to learn as they go along. While most of the unknowns with dog training can be overcome quickly, many owners make some pretty common mistakes while they are training your dogs. To avoid those dog training mistakes, it is important to be aware of them and that is exactly what I will be doing in this article; alerting you to common dog training mistakes that every owner has or will make at one time.
Mistake #1: Not Setting Firm and Consistent Rules: One of the most common mistakes that owners will make actually has nothing to do with the physical act of dog training and is actually a daily occurrence that usually plays in the background. As every parent will tell you, children require rules and dogs are no different. There should be rules set in place the moment that a dog is brought home. This means that if you have a rule for no dogs on the furniture, then you need to stick with it, regardless of how cute a puppy is. Not establishing those rules right from the beginning can lead to long term behavior problems and your puppy will quickly learn that he can ignore the rules and eventually simply ignore you. It is important that you avoid this dog training mistake right from the start and make sure that everyone in your house will follow the same rules with your dog to ensure the best success.
Mistake #2: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: Okay, this may be a little confusing since dog training consists of the repetition of an action but while repeating an action over again is fine, repeating a command is not. When it comes to dog training mistakes, I would say that this is the biggest mistake that owners will make and I have been found guilty of this little offense myself. It is only natural to repeat a command when a dog doesn`t listen but it is something that you should train yourself not to do. When you repeat a command, you are teaching your dog that he doesn`t have to listen to a command every time. This means that a command stops having any affect on the dog and you end up having to retrain with a new command, which can take time and can be very frustrating for both you and your dog.
Mistake #3: Rewarding Bad Behavior: Although there are several types of dog training available, most trainers and owners will use positive reinforcement training, which consists of treating your dog, usually with food, whenever he does something positive. While this is an excellent way to train your dog, many owners make the mistake of treating the wrong behavior and end up reinforcing bad behavior. Bad behavior in dog training is anything that you don`t want your dog to do. So, for instance, your dog is in the kitchen while you are cooking a meal. At first it may not seem like he is doing anything but spending time with you and that may have been the case in the beginning but when you drop your first bit of food, or you toss him a little snack, he will quickly learn to beg whenever you are in the kitchen. Fast forward a year and you have a full grown dog under foot whenever you go to the kitchen simply because you have reinforced that begging in the kitchen is okay. To avoid rewarding a dog for a bad behavior, don`t praise him, comfort him or treat him when he is doing something you don`t want repeated. So if he barks at the door, don`t praise him for being a good guard dog and if you drop some food on the floor, pick it up yourself and take it to his dog bowl if you want to give it to him. By controlling the environment, you can quickly stop yourself from rewarding his bad behavior.
Mistake #4: Saving it for a rainy day: The last common dog training mistake that I am going to mention is the desire to put off training. Many owners feel that dog training should be done after a certain age but it has been shown time and time again that the longer you wait, the harder it will be to train your dog. Dog training should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home. It starts with establishing rules and house training first and then it quickly moves to basic training such as sit, down, stay. Puppy socialization class usually begins around 11 weeks of age and from there you will quickly start dog training. Never leave training until your dog is 6 months of age or older since many negative behaviors are established by that time. In the end, if you are aware of the dog training mistakes that you can make, you will find that you are less likely to make them and your dog will quickly respond to dog training with only a small amount of fuss.
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