More often than not, well-intentioned pet owners accidentally step into some common dog training pitfalls. These seemingly irrelevant acts can have a huge impact on Fido’s behavior, and radically hold up your obedience training.
Unfortunately, this usually results in an uninformed owner becoming exasperated with the lack of clear progress in his pooch’s behavior, blinded by the fact that he in fact was the reason of the setbacks. This is often the time when the owner decides that his pooch is “not trainable”, and gives up.
Top Five Dog Training Blunders
1. Failure to establish leadership. Because dogs are pack animals, you need to make it a point that you are the leader. By establishing this hierarchy clearly, you can avoid future behavioral problems in your dog. You can establish your role as the leader by exerting a level of control on every aspect of your dog’s life.
2. Inadequate amount of exercise. All breeds, regardless of size, need sufficient physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Leaving your pooch cooped up all day long will bore him. Since excess energy, boredom, and frustration are often manifested in ways that most owners can never be happy with, try to meet your dog’s exercise needs on a regular basis.
3. Wrong state of mind. Dogs normally communicate through body language. Because you are your pooch’s pack leader, he will take his cues from you. In fact, if you are excited, so is he. If you are anxious, so is he. That’s why, if you want to keep a happy and healthy pet during training, you have to be good at showing calm as well as confident energy through your body language. Don’t send the wrong, unhelpful signals.
4. Failure to reward desirable behavior. Always bear in mind that whatever your pooch is doing at the very time you rewarded him is what he will connect the reinforcement with. Since such principle is applicable to any kind of canine behavior, try rewarding and praising Fido for behaving well even if he did something off beam a couple of seconds prior to that.
5. Lack of practice. Because patience and persistence are basically the hallmarks of an effective dog training program, it is important that you let your dog keep on practicing even if he has already moved past the learning stage. You can do this by letting your pooch apply what he has learned on everyday things. If he wants to eat, let him sit, be on a down position, or whatever tricks you want before you put his food bowl down. Does he want to go out or come in? Same thing. Let him earn everything.
Check back next week for 5 More Training Mistakes to Avoid, and share your own tips with our readers in a comment below.