Dog training does not have to be difficult.
Are you training your dog in the best way possible? Don’t be too hard on yourself, the fact that you attempt to train your dog means that at least you are doing something right.
However, there are a number of dog training mistakes that most pet owners make. You may be shocked that the small things that you ignore are the ones that actually hinder your progress making dog training seem like a difficult task.
Here are a few common mistakes that most dog-owners make. Read on to find out whether you are guilty of any.
1. Taking your furry friend home too soon
I know that feeling of bringing your new puppy home can be very exciting. However, you need to exercise some bit of patience here.
It is important for your puppy to get proper care from his mother during first eight weeks. It is in these first eight weeks that he receives the nurturing and also his littermates imparts social skill in him.
It is very unfortunate that some breeders out of greed allow the puppies to leave the litter too soon, probably before they reach eight weeks. Such early separation might lead to social dysfunctions in your puppy later on in his life.
You might realize that puppies that leave their mothers and littermates too soon, before eight weeks, may have a problem interacting with other dogs and people.
When adopting a puppy, make sure that your ball of fur is at least past eight weeks of age.
2. Failing to start basic training immediately
This is a very common dog training mistake that dog owners make. A puppy that is past 8 weeks is old enough to begin training.
You need to start teaching your puppy some of the easy basic commands the minute you bring him home.
It is absolutely necessary to start teaching him manners and some of the most basic commands like “Sit!” “Stay!” “Come!” “Wait” and others that are easy for him to grasp at that tender age.
You will be surprised to see how intelligent your dog is and how quickly he can understand your commands. Remember to start training right from the first day.
3. Failing to make your home puppy proof
Puppy proofing your home is mandatory even before you bring your canine friend home. Anything he finds in his path he is likely to shred it to pieces.
Put away all your socks, shoes, books, children’s toys, remote controls and tuck in the wires safely. Make sure all these things are out of your puppy’s reach.
The situation may become worse if he is exposed to live electric wires, detergents, toxic cleaners and other poisonous plants. You need to replace all these things with interactive dog toys and chews that will preoccupy your puppy. Puppy proofing your home is a must.
4. Failing to come up with a routine
As I mentioned earlier, training your puppy ought to begin immediately you bring him home. This therefore means that you also need to come up with a routine for your dog.
Dogs love routines because it not only gives them direction but also a sense of security.
When your dog knows his meal times, his potty time, playing time and exercise time he grows into a happy dog. He will always have this confidence and a healthy anticipation of the day’s events which include his training sessions.
Once you have a routine, make sure to stick to it so as not to confuse your dog.
5. Failing to socialize your dog
Dog socialization is important when training a puppy.
In his first eight weeks, your puppy’s social life is just limited to his littermates. However, when you take him home, it is now entirely upon you to begin training and socializing him with other pets and people.
Dog socialization reduces chances of him becoming aggressive when he is around new dogs or other people he is not familiar with.
To maintain a happy and social dog, invite friends with puppies over regularly, take him out to the dog park when he is already vaccinated and probably at least 6 months of age.
6. Making training sessions tooooooo long!
Puppies just like kids have a short concentration span. When you make your training sessions very long, your furry friend is likely to get distracted and bored.
Make your training sessions short, simple and fun. You can include some interactive dog toys and puzzles in between the training sessions to make them livelier. Make sure to have a bag of his favorite treats as well for motivation.
ALSO READ: How To Train A Stubborn Dog (12 Easy Tips)
7. Not training enough
Training is a process and not a one-time event. You can’t train once and say that you are done.
In order to get best results, you need to train your puppy more often. You can train for 10-15 minutes every day making sure that you teach him new things regularly.
Be consistent in your training and you will get good results.
8. Taking a one-size-fits-all-approach
There are no two dogs that are exactly alike. Therefore, you can’t get training advice from a friend who has had dog training success or a professional dog trainer and assume that everything will also work out for your dog.
Get to know your dog’s personality and find out what works best for him. That way you can easily develop your own training program and use what works best for your dog.
9. Being impatient
Successful dog training requires you to exercise patience. It takes time to teach your dog the basic commands for instance.
Each dog has his own pace of understanding concepts. Therefore don’t compare your dog’s progress with other dogs. Each dog is unique in their own way.
Don’t be frustrated and impatient if your dog is catching up slowly. Try to understand, maybe he is just not interested in what you are teaching or how you are training. Research and improve your training techniques.
10. Harsh discipline
Every professional dog trainer will most certainly agree that using harsh punishment on your dog is not the way to go. It does not make training effective and therefore you need to avoid it.
Dogs just like children like to be pampered and praised for doing things the right way.
⚠️ Avoid scolding and shouting at your dog because it makes him afraid of you and can easily lead to rebellion or aggressive behavior. It can also cause your dog to become fearful and timid.
11. Reinforcing wrong behavior
One of the most common dog training mistakes made is reinforcing wrong behavior. This is what most of us dog parents do sometimes even without knowing.
For instance, when you take your dog onto your laps when he is frightened in order to comfort him, it might seem very okay but you need to teach him to be brave and not cower.
Other instances like letting him have his way when he barks or failing to give him a stern warning when he does something you forbade him to do. All these are undesirable behaviors that you ought not to reinforce.
12. Being inconsistent
Nothing confuses a dog more than inconsistent commands. You need to always be consistent in training your dog.
For example, you know very well that you have trained your dog not to sit with you on the couch but then you allow him to do so on some occasions. These inconsistent responses trigger confusion in your dog’s behavior.
Another example is allowing your dog to beg for food from people around him who are eating. You could be the one who is encouraging this kind of behavior when you keep giving him tit bits of food instead of telling him consistently to go out of the room or to his place and wait for his turn.
13. Getting the timing wrong
You need to always bear in mind that your dog has a very short memory span. You cannot punish your dog now for something he did an hour ago.
The same applies when reinforcing good behavior. You need to have a clicker or short words like a simple yes or no to mark good and bad behaviors. Make sure that you make all this happen very quickly, within a second or two.
In a nutshell, there are quite a number of common dog training mistakes that can’t be exhausted here.
Not proofing behavior is also another very common mistake we make when training our dogs. Proofing behavior simply means training your dog in various settings.
For example, your dog might have learnt to sit in the living room but when out in the yard, he might not have a clue on what is required of him. Therefore, you need to practice in various locations so that he also gets used to different distractions.
Training your dog shouldn’t be a frustrating task. Be firm and consistent and also remember to exercise a lot of patience. Use positive reinforcement and you will see effective results.
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