Are you training your little pooch in the best possible way? Well, a perfectly trained dog sounds so good, but it is easier said than done. Even if everything goes right, mishaps happen during the training. How many times have you been embarrassed when your furry friend misbehaves in the park? Sometimes the situations just get out of control and you're left wondering what went wrong.
However, the good news is that by just training your dog you are at least doing something right. It's time to check if you are doing any training mistake that can cost both you and your dog as some mistakes are annoying and can slow down your dog's progress, others can be life threatening. Here are 4 most common mistakes people make during dog training.
1. Not Training Your Dog Enough
A puppy is just like a child. You need make them the same thing do again and again to make it a habit. Just teaching your little pooch the basic behaviours and routines is not enough. It is equally important to do it repeatedly. Many new dog owners does the mistake of allowing their dogs to go on "auto-pilot" mode once the relationship stabilizes.
This often results in deteriorating the response times for certain important behaviours. In worst cases, your dog may simply stop responding to your commands. This is simply due to lack of practice. Instead of "training your dog and then forgetting", it is better to train them regularly. Have small but productive
training sessions, ranging from 10 to 15 minutes a few times week and in between sharpen your dog's established behaviors by working them regularly and randomly, a few times in a day. For instance, give them random commands like "sit down," "wait," or "shake hands"; etc. and be spontaneous and unpredictable.
Teach them a new behavior once a month to keep his mind and motivation up and always revisit old actions in between.
2. Not Addressing His Fear Issues
Your little furry friend has just left his mom and his little four-legged siblings behind. It is quite natural for his to be afraid during his initial days with you. While most of the fears go away once he starts bonding with you and your family, you need to carefully address his fear issues. Pet parents often have spotting warning signs and
behaviors that stem from fear. Some of these signs include:
- Ears pinned back
- Cowering or hiding
- Tail tucking
- Jumping to be picked up
- Hair raised on center of back
If you don't address these fear issues during his early days, they are more likely to turn him aggressive later in adulthood. Remember that dogs can hardly get over fears themselves; as a pet parent it is your duty to build their confidence around new environments and objects and overcome any fear. This way, you pooch will learn to be no longer reactive.
Encourage your dog to overcome his fears by praising and rewarding him when he tries to. He will more likely be reluctant in the beginning but instead of allowing him to hide behind you or picking him up, but be patient and encourage him to try again and again, until he succeeds.
3. Repeating the Same Command
This is a common mistake that many new pet parents make. How many times had it happened with you when your pet fails to respond to a simple behaviour such as "wait," or "sit" that you have already taught? This could happen due to distractions or confusion on the dog's part or perhaps bad training technique on your part. Irrespective of whose fault it is, what do you do in such situations?
Generally the pet parents repeat the same command until the dogs half-heartedly obey the command. In such cases, it may take six or seven attempts to make the dog respond to your command. You perhaps become happy that your dog is finally listening to you, but in reality, this stalling becomes a learned behaviour for your pet, which is really hard to break.
This is more common with headstrong dogs. Commands such as"lie down" or "sit" is like an admission of deference and they just hate it. Timid dogs too don't like lying down as they think it as too unsafe. Therefore, you need to first pinpoint the behaviors that your pup particularly doesn't like to perform and understand why it is so. Once you know where to begin with, start full proofing those behaviors.
According to dog training professionals at
Brandon Doggy Daycare, it is essential to make behavior training a fun trick for your four-legged friend. They suggest to treat reward at first and then praise them before you start teaching them a new behavior. Reduce your treat rewards as you progress, instead increase the praise.
In most cases dogs ignore commands if he wasn't taught it properly or if he is, for some reason, distracted. Sometimes, they are being simply rebellious by ignoring your command. No matter why he is behaving so, ask only once! Instead of asking him multiple times, take him to a quiet spot and ask again. If he is still playing deaf to your command, go back to basics and teach him once again. But whatever you do, don't make the mistake of asking multiple times.
One simple way to get your pooch to comply is to look square in his eyes and then moving in a bit closer. And once your pet do comply, don't forget to praise. That's really important!
4. Rewarding the Wrong Behavior
While it is really important to praise and treat for the right behavior, don't ever reward your dog for the wrong reasons. Does your dog bark at you to make you do what he wants? Does your dog demand to feed him? Does he comply you to fulfil his needs? If the answers to these questions are yes, then perhaps your dog is training YOU.
When you comply to fulfill what he wants you are actually rewarding his wrong behavior. Worst still, you are telling him that's exactly what you want. Tell them when their behavior is wrong; a simple "No" is often enough. In addition, you can have some non-reward markers to tell your pooch that were wrong and no treat was coming. But make sure to reward the correct behaviors so that they also enjoy the whole learning task.
Dog training can, at times, be frustrating. After all it's not just your furry-friend who has to adjust to the new environment! For a new pet parent, taking a dog in is a big life-changing decision. So it is quite natural that mistakes will happen; but don't let that stop you. And never ever take your frustrations out on your dog. That poor creature is dependent on you and seeks comfort in you. He will perhaps do anything to get praised by his human-friend. So whatever you do, never yell at your dog or use physical corrections. If things do get out of control, you can always call for some professional help.
(Image Credit: Pixabay)