With so many centuries of practice under our belts, you’d think that dog training would be a fairly straightforward, almost instinctive, process for us humans. However, more often than not, we make mistakes that cause strained relationships between us and our beloved pups. Tiny errors aren’t typically a big deal, due to the resilient nature of dogs. However, large, repeated mistakes can cause years of frustration for dogs and their owners. Here are five of the top training mistakes that dog owners make, followed by tips and tricks for avoiding them. It’s important to remember that these methods only cover training, and not other imperative aspects of your dog’s health, such as exercise and socialization.
1. Being inconsistent:
You must work with your dog everyday if you expect to see results. Your dog will never learn if you only work on training exercises when you feel like it. Also, you must use the same rules every time. For instance, if you do not want your dog in the kitchen when you are cooking, then you should not let him in the kitchen when you are not cooking either. Also, be sure to use the same commands when training your dog. If you want him off the couch, don’t yell “OFF” half the time and “DOWN” the other half. It is important to stay consistent so as not to confuse your pet.
2. Ignoring bad behaviors:
Unless you train your dog not to jump, chew, or show aggression, they will continue to do so. Contrary to common belief, this is not a phase that your dog will outgrow. Once dogs make a habit of engaging in bad behavior, it becomes the norm. Be sure to nip this in the butt sooner rather than later!
3. Expecting too much:
Just because the dog on TV can do all sorts of amazing tricks, does NOT mean that you will be able to teach your dog to do the same thing. Odds are a ton of money and patience went in to training that particular dog. It is important that your goals are realistic when it comes to training.
4. Failing to reward your dog for good behavior:
As owners, we often have no problem punishing our pups for their bad behavior. So he jumped on your legs again with muddy paws. “BAD DOG!” But what about the good stuff? It’s crucial to reward your dog when he behaves and makes progress towards your training goals. Throw him a bone, treat or nice noogie on the head!
5. Giving up too soon:
The process of training a dog can be frustrating. You’ll get tired and your dog will get distracted, but don’t give up! The biggest training mistake owners make is quitting too soon. It may take some time, but eventually your dog will learn the trick.
Keep these in mind as you tackle the sometimes frustrating, but ever rewarding challenge of training your dog. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your dog makes progress when you avoid these errors. Best of luck to you and your furry friend!
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Dr. Martin is an experienced veterinarian in Lexington Kentucky. He has trained many dogs over the years and had to learn this advice the hard way. To get more pet care tips and advice, check him out on Facebook and Google+.
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