Do You Make These Common Dog Training Mistakes?

How long has the dog been a mans best friend? For years we have been told that the dog is our best companion, and while there is nothing wrong with cat ownership, looking after birds or whatever type of pet you would like in your home, a dog really is one of the most common pet choices an individual or family can have. So you would think that by now, having had dogs in our lives for years, we would know a trick or two in regards to training. All dogs should be able to sit and lie down on command and behave impeccably on the lead, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, we can still struggle to train our pet dogs and more often than not people are making common mistakes that they don’t even realize they are making. So the time has come to reassess your training ability and really work out what you might be doing right and more importantly where you might be making mistakes. Here are some of the most common training faux pas anyone can make.

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Do you train your dog often enough?

We are all well aware that if we practice something often enough that the skill is likely to set into place and improve. After all, playing tennis or football once a year doesn’t mean you are going to be any good at it. So the same principal needs to be applied when training your dog. It needs to be often and consistent. The thing is, any dog owner can start off with the very best intentions. They work hard consistently over a few days to help their dog master some of the most common behavioral techniques. But the enthusiasm can start to dwindle, and things can then be forgotten. Before you know it, the instruction or command is lost on your dog, and you are back at square one. Instead, try and think about an often and consistent approach, it doesn’t need to be so over the top in the beginning, but it’s more about ensuring that the message sticks and remains present in the mind.

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Do you repeat commands?

To put it simply imagine this scenario. You are there with your dog, and you ask them to simply sit. They don’t or they ignore. You ask them again, repeatedly until around the sixth or seventh time you have requested them to sit, they half-hardheartedly do it. Sound familiar? You may even get to the point where they never truly respond to your command, but still, you persevere and request. The problem that this causes is it enables your dog to learn a delayed response behavior, which can be a difficult habit to break. Instead, try and make the commands fun, and offer a reward as a treat for when the command is adhered to. Online websites like have a great selection. Ask the command in different locations, in loud and distracting places as well as quiet and more concentrated ones. As you continue to do this, reduce the treats and keep up the praise. Then if you find that you ask the command, and the dog doesn’t respond, this might be down to rebellion or distraction, so ask once more where there simply shouldn’t be an excuse but to adhere to your command. If again there is no success, then you know you need to go back the basics and start once more. But you are reinforcing the technique, rather than have them learn bad habits.

Do you use too much emotion?

Excessive emotion can really hinder your chances of training a dog. If you train with force, anger or frustration, then all of these emotions may intimidate the dog. On the flip side training with over-excitement and high pitch squeals, as well as too much energy can heighten your dog’s energy levels beyond a level where they can focus or concentrate on the job in hand. When training your dog try and adopt a calming sense of authority in your tone of voice. Enough to keep the energy levels concentrated with an element of “this means business” approach without the need of anger or excitement. You are the master, but equally, this is your family pet that you love. Try and find the right balance.

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Are you inconsistent?

Dogs need to feel that their masters are consistent with their rules and their behaviors. Being indifferent or allowing something one and then not the next only confuses your dog. After all, you can’t explain your reasoning behind the decision. They simply see it is black and white. The same can be said for your emotions and personal behavior when training your dog. For example, if you remained calm and collected with a stubborn and rebellious dog one day, but then lose your cool the next, you are sending inconsistent and confusing messages to your dog who is no doubt reacting in exactly the same way that they do each day. Try and remain consistent with your rules, your choice of words and your personal demeanor. This online article helps with tips on being consistent that can be adopted to dog training.

Do you lack confidence in yourself?

Loss of confidence is a sign of weakness to your dog, there is no hiding that fact. They can instinctively sense it and they then feel that they may have the upper hand. Of course, I am not saying that at any moment your lovely pet dog will retaliate in anyway, but it is worth noting that they are less likely to pay attention to your commands if they don’t feel you are delivering them confidently, or behaving confident around them. If you do lack the confidence instead try attending a class where you are given the tools to deliver training in a more structured environment. Therefore helping you to train without your dog taking advantage of the situation.

Do you take into account your dog’s personality?

Finally, every dog is different. Much like every child is different and we have grown to accept that a child will develop at his or her own rate. The same can be said for you dog. It may have been easy to train your last dog but this time around you are finding it harder. Every dog is different and have different limits to what they can and will do, or how quickly they will pick something up. Bear this in mind when training and train to your dog, not your last pet or someone else’s.

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