For all the wonders of owning a dog, they do come complete with quite a few nasty habits. From trying to eat the cat to urinating on the carpet, an untrained dog can be quite a handful indeed.
The good news is that just about any dog can be trained. The only problem is that it’s not something that can be done overnight. It’s something that takes time, effort, and above all, quite a bit of patience.
Should you be considering undertaking the challenge of turning a wild hound into a loving pet, an excellent place to start is learning what not to do. Here are ten mistakes that can make training a dog far more difficult than it needs to be.
Consistency is key if you want to properly train your dog. It’s important to decide early on where your dog is and isn’t allowed to go. If you let him on the couch one day and scold him for going on the couch the next, you are just going to confuse him. Consistency is also important when it comes to when you train him. Training him one week and forgetting the next is not how you get results.
Expecting Too Much
The dogs on television might make tricks look incredibly easy but that’s because they’ve been training for years. Don’t expect too much from your dog. Expecting him to perform such tricks is akin to expecting your child to play football like a professional. Focus on realistic goals and focus on achieving them within realistic time frames.
Using Different Command Words
One of the easiest ways to confuse your four legged friend is to use different words for the same command. For example, if you want your dog to sit down, stick to saying “Sit”. If you alternate between “Sit”, “Come here” and “Come”, you are going to end up with a dog that has no idea what you are asking him to do.
Another mistake that can seriously hamper your dog training efforts is shouting. When telling your dog to do something, you should aim to speak in a clear, loud and stern voice. If you shout, your dog is going to find it much more difficult to understand the words coming out of your mouth.
Forgetting to Reward Good Behavior
Effective dog training isn’t just about saying “no!” when he’s done something wrong, it’s about rewarding him when he’s done something right. If you fail to reward good behavior, your dog isn’t going to know whether or not he’s done what you asked. When he gets something right, both a treat and ample praise are very much required.
It might not always seem like it but your dog does genuinely wants to please you. When he does something wrong during training, it’s completely accidental. Getting angry and punishing him is therefore both illogical and cruel. Punishments during the training phase can also damage the trust between the two of you and in doing so, severely reduce the rate at which progress is made.
Many dog owners seem to believe that they can train their dog over the course of a week. This is completely untrue. Basic dog training takes months. The types of tricks that you see on TV take years. Ample patience is therefore very much required.
Training for Too Long
Dogs of all ages have very short attention spans. You should aim for training sessions that are no longer than fifteen minutes each. When you attempt to train a dog for longer than fifteen minutes at a time, they tend to get bored. And as you are probably aware, bored dogs get distracted very easily.
Starting too Late
If you have a new puppy at home, it’s important to start training him as soon as possible. The longer you wait to train your dog, the more difficult the process is going to be. Not only do puppies tend to learn things faster, the older a dog gets, the more bad habits he’s likely to have picked up.
Finally, arguably the biggest mistake that you can make when training a dog is giving up too soon. As I’ve stated above, dog training takes time. Just because your dog doesn’t understand something now, that doesn’t mean that he won’t understand it eventually. Provided you’re willing to put in the time, your dog will eventually figure things out. But if you give up too soon, he never will.
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