Even the best owners are not immune, we all make mistakes at one time or another when it comes to training our puppy. In any case, you see progress and your dog is the best dog in the world, no doubt about it.
Some mistakes don't matter too much, others can make you go back to square one; either way, we've prepared some tips to avoid the most common mistakes in training a dog.
Make training sessions too long
It would be like asking a 4 year old to stay focused on a tale for more than 15 minutes. You lose their attention and the effort is lost.
Keep the training sessions short, but multiply them throughout the day. The key is repetition, a little reminder at any time of day can be more beneficial than an hour of forced repetition.
When you do puppy school classes, the sessions are usually between 45 and 90 minutes long, often for the simple reason that you wouldn't join for a 15-minute class.
Praising too late
You ask your dog to lie down, he executes the command, but by the time you get the treat out of your pocket, the dog is already up and jumping on your hand.
Why do you think he gets a treat? For standing up and jumping on you...
Similarly, if you are practicing recall, and your dog comes back and sits directly at your feet, he may think the treat is there to praise the "sit" and not the recall.
To fix this problem, you need to adjust your timing. As soon as your dog performs the command that was asked of him, give him the treat before he even has time to do anything else. You can also use a clicker to praise the good deed as it happens, or even use a word like "yes" or "very good" if you are operating without treats.
Reinforcing inappropriate behaviour
It happens very often that a dog pulls on his leash and decides himself the pace and direction. Letting him do this reinforces this feeling of freedom and directly gives him bad habits.
It also happens that owners give more attention to barking dogs, reinforcing the idea that barking brings them attention and that continuing to do so allows them to be pampered.
Similarly, laughing, petting or talking in a high-pitched voice when a dog jumps on you only encourages the dog to continue and repeat the inappropriate behavior.
Not generalizing commands
Many times, your dog may be an angel and obey your commands when you are at home (familiar environment), but when you get to the park or at a friend's house, he may no longer recognize any commands and will do as he pleases.
Even if your dog is perfectly capable of sitting on command at home, it doesn't necessarily mean he's comfortable with the command outside, on unfamiliar ground, with multiple distractions around him.
It is important to teach your dog to generalize, and follow your commands in any situation, and even more so in those that are full of distractions (in the city, at the park, etc).
Use only treats for reinforcement
Of course, treats are a great way to reinforce your training and praise your dog's good deeds. However, too many treats can be not only unhealthy but also counterproductive.
Other ways to add variety to your training sessions include physical contact, toys, play sessions with other dogs and walks outside.
Be inconsistent in your orders
Communication is one of the pillars of education, let's not forget that here we are trying to communicate between two different species!
It is essential to keep the same commands over time so that your dog learns, assimilates and operates the command throughout his life.
If you are teaching him recall, use the same word every time. Don't start with shades of "come here", "here" or "let's go". The same principle applies to your body language. If "stay" is applied with a raised hand, fingers spread and palm toward the dog, don't expect your dog to understand the command if you have your smartphone and car keys in your hand.
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