How To Avoid Making Common Dog Training Mistakes

Posted: June 3, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Dog Training Methods and Ideas, Puppy Training
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dogs getttng trained

After millenniums of living with us humans you would think we’d  have the dog training thing down pat, but unfortunately we are still making some very common mistakes, that for the most part are not world ending, but if you don’t sharpen your dog training skills daily, the consequences can be frustrating for both you and your dog. Therefore I have listed in no particular order, 5 of the most common dog training mistakes and how you can avoid them.


1- Giving a command several times

Say you just told your dog to sit. He looks at you like you’ve got three heads, and just walks away. You begin following him around saying,”sit,sit,sit!”, and you keep repeating “sit,sit,sit,sit!”, until he half-assed, puts his butt on the ground.

When you give a command more than once or twice, you are effectively making that word non-existent to your dog, in other words he has become desensitized to the command, he doesn’t recognize it as having any meaning.

If you give your dog the command to sit, and he don’t, then it is either because he is stalling which is a learned behavior,for example,.. independent dogs don’t like to lay down and will stall in order to see if you will give up and go away. Your dog could be distracted, or he is simply blowing you off. This can happen when the behavior has not been proofed properly for distractions, different environments, and a variety of other stimuli,using food/toy rewards.

If you give a command once and your dog does not comply, just take him to a quiet place and ask again. If he still refuses to obey, go back to basics, and don’t be stingy with the treats, make it fun and beneficial for your dog, and make sure you adhere to the ask once rule and reward only your dogs best efforts. You must work diligently to make come,sit,down,stay the most exciting things for your dog to do.

One more tip, If you know your dog is blowing you off, try this. Give the command to sit,come,or lay down, if he don’t respond, step toward him while making direct eye contact, this is usually enough to convince him to comply.

2-Traning is not consistent

When we first get our new puppy or dog, it’s all about the training, we do basic routines with our new pooches often and with gusto. However once we get used to our new furry friend, and things settle into a pattern we often let things slide and just kind of go with the flow. The consequences of this is your dogs response time will degrade,and often he won’t respond at all, and that’s not good for those important, possibly life saving commands like “Come”. It all boils down to a lack of practice; it’s the same idea as if you only went rock climbing once or twice a year, you wouldn’t be very good at it.

Don’t just train your dog to forget, hone your skills daily by taking advantage of every opportunity to educate your dog. Your life is a dog training classroom, for example, have your dog sit, before eating, lie down before you open the door, stay, in the drive while you go to the road and get the paper.Teach your dog a new trick each month, be random and unpredictable with your training and you will keep your dogs established behaviors sharp and responsive to your commands.

Remember the more intelligent your dog becomes, the more important you become to them.

3-Training sessions are too long or too short.

If you train your dog to long,(30 minutes or more), he will become bored and disinterested in training. Likewise if you don’t train long enough to have success,( even partial success is enough to end a session on), your training efforts will suffer.

I find that 5-10 minutes of training is plenty of time to set your dog up to succeed. Be careful not to ask to much of your dog too fast. It is important to understand that getting your dog to comply to your commands reliably is going to take many attempts and plenty of practice. Baby steps is the key to successful training. Always end your session with your dog being successful, never leave the practice session until your dog has successfully obeyed your command, at least in part.

What I mean by partial success is this. If your training your dog to sit and he has never practiced this behavior, for the first few times he may only sit on one hip, or slightly off to the side or only touch the floor for one second. This is enough to deem the session a success and reward your dog with food and praise, and in your next practice ask for him to sit a little better, a little longer and so on. Training for your dog is an evolution and time,practice, and patience will win the day.

4- Training when you’re in an unstable state of mind

If you are angry,frustrated,or use force while trying to train your puppy or dog, you will only sabotage yourself. Your dog will know you are in a weak state of mind and will not see you as in charge. Likewise if you squeal with joy,and jump up and down with over the top dramatization of your emotions, your dog will mirror your excited state and have trouble focusing on what you want her to learn.

In order for your dog to trust you and view you as someone who they should listen to you must always be calm and confident. Be loving,kind,and forgiving but you must also represent authority. If your dog get’s it wrong, don’t yell, or hit, just back up and try again and be a little less demanding of your dogs performance. Likewise is he gets it right, just a simple smile and a “good dog” and on we go will suffice. Your dog will imprint this pattern of calm relaxed authority, and the benefits will reflect in the level of success with training.

5- Being Reactive instead of proactive

Back in the day I studied the martial art of Karate. It required me to become familiar with the physical world and the philosophical realm of thought and reasoning. Dog training is a lot like that. You must master timing,technique,and all the while maintaining your stamina. Plus have a deep understanding of what motivates your dog, it’s not something you can learn in a half hour t.v. show or from reading a couple of books,.( not even mine.) It takes time and experience, and plenty of it.

That’s why a lot of dog owners have not achieved enough knowledge and practice to be as successful as they could be. In essence they are behaving like their dog and just reacting to what the dog is doing instead of planning ahead of the event, in other words to anticipate what your dog is going to do and be proactive in your response. For example, if your training your dog to not jump up, you need to watch your dog and as soon as you see that look in his eye, or that posture of wiggling and lowering his hind end, it’s now you should interrupt the behavior and teach him how to sit. If you wait until he jumps up then you will only be reacting to the behavior and your dog won’t learn a thing. Instead anticipate, and be proactive, grasp the opportunity to teach your dog before he does it, and watch your dog training skills take off.

I hope this gives you an idea of some of the things you can start doing right now to learn how to avoid making common dog training mistakes. Remember if you need help contact a reputable local trainer, there is no shame in needing help, and it’s what’s best for your dog that matters,..right?

That’s it for now, I hope you found these tips to be helpful, if so then please share it with a friend, and leave me a comment let me know what you think. I love to hear from my readers.

Good luck, and keep training.



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