If you’re actively trying to train your dog, you’re already doing something right. Many people love the idea of having a dog but don’t actually want to put in the effort to train them, so you’re already a step ahead. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when they are new to dog training. In this article, we’ll break down some of the most common dog training mistakes.
1. You’ve Waited Too Long to Start Training
Dog training should begin the moment they set foot in your home, whether it’s a puppy or an older dog. The main point of dog training is to teach your dog proper behavior and by starting right out of the gate, you can avoid any bad habits from developing. It’s much easier for them to learn the right way of doing things first, as opposed to having to unlearn a bad habit they picked up on their own.
2. Not Training Enough
As we mentioned earlier, it takes some effort on your part to properly train your dog. It’s not enough to do one or two training sessions and assume your dog is good to go for the rest of their lives. Dog training should be done daily until they have mastered a specific behavior or action. Dedicated sessions should be scheduled every day in order to reinforce what you want to teach them. Even after they’ve gotten a specific action down, ongoing training is always a good idea to keep your dogs skills and behaviors as sharp as they can be.
3. Training Too Much or Too Long
On the opposite end of the spectrum, training too much can also negatively affect your dog’s learning. It might seem like if you train more, they’ll learn the behavior faster, but just like humans, dogs only have so much energy before they get tired. If they get bored or stop paying attention, they won’t actually be getting much out of your training sessions. Short, regularly scheduled training is the best way to get the results you want.
4. Getting Impatient
Have you ever struggled to understand something someone is teaching you and then get impatient? Did their impatience help you understand better? Likely no. If anything, it just made you more frustrated. Well, dogs are the same way. If you get stressed and frustrated that your dog isn’t picking up on something, it will just make them stressed and frustrated as well. Instead, take a step back and consider the factors that might be causing a disconnect. Is now a good time to train? Have you been training too long? Consider your dog’s perspective and try again another day.
5. Using Harsh Discipline
Most professional dog trainers working today will tell you that using punishment in dog training is not only ineffective, but can actively harm the relationship between you and your dog. Dogs are much more likely to respond the way you want if there is a reward or something to positively reinforce good behavior. This is most commonly achieved via dog treats or through a favorite toy. Yelling, hitting, staring down, leash jerking and other punishments can have serious consequences. You may provoke your dog to become aggressive which can put people in danger, or they may simply come to fear you. If you’re using negative reinforcement tactics, you are going about dog training all wrong and should consider a better approach.
At Michael’s Pack, our dog training programs in New Jersey and New York can help owners who may be struggling with training or those who would simply like a professional touch. We also proudly use only positive reinforcement techniques and have proven the benefits with extraordinary results.