If you’re a new dog owner, you’re likely excited to teach your canine companion lots of cool tricks and commands while also taking steps to make sure they behave responsibly. You may be surprised, however, at how difficult training can be.
Not setting your dog up for success.
One of the most common training mistakes is not setting your dog up for success. This means that you need to make sure that your dog understands what you want them to do, and if they don’t, modify your training plan so that it doesn’t involve a behavior they haven’t mastered yet. Once you are sure that the dog understands what you want them to do, there are still other factors that can affect whether or not they succeed at a command:
- Are there distractions around? If so, remove them or teach the dog commands in quiet areas first before moving on to more difficult environments.
- Is their energy level high enough? If they aren’t feeling energetic or attentive then they won’t perform well under any circumstances! Make sure your pup has had enough exercise before starting the training session.
Inconsistent application of rules.
If your dog is learning to do something new, then you need to be consistent in the way that you reward them. If you give them a treat when they sit, they will sit. If you give them a treat when they jump on people and bark at them as well as jumping on people and barking at them—they’re going to continue doing all three things. This can sometimes lead to unwanted behaviors like jumping up or barking excessively.
Letting your dog get away with things in the moment.
It’s extremely important that you set your dog up for success. In order to do this, you need to be consistent with your training. This means being consistent with the rules that you set and enforcing them every time they are broken. You also need to be consistent with the training session itself: if your dog has been doing well throughout a session, then it is fine to let them get away with something small like jumping on someone or barking at a stranger—just don’t expect them not to do it again next week!
Relying on treats to motivate your dog.
Treats are a great way to reward your dog, but they’re not the only way. You can also use praise and affection as rewards. Treats are best used sparingly, because if you give them out too much, they’ll lose their appeal for your dog. Treats should be used as a reward for good behavior.
Making the training session too long.
- Keep your training session short. If your dog is starting to lose interest, it’s time to stop and take a break.
- Make sure each training session is fun for both of you, and that your dog doesn’t feel like he or she is being punished.
- Praise your pup often! It encourages good behavior and keeps them motivated in learning new commands. It also helps reinforce what they’ve learned so far during the course of the day—plus it makes everyone happy!
Not being clear about what you want from your dog.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when training their dog is not being clear about what they want from their dog. If you don’t know what you want, how can you train your dog? And if you aren’t clear about what you want from the beginning, then it will be almost impossible to correct any bad habits that may develop later on.
Using high-pitched, excited voices during training sessions.
Dogs are sensitive to our tone and volume. They respond better to calm, assertive voices than high-pitched, excited ones. Because of their keen hearing, dogs can hear even our smallest vocal nuances.
If you want your dog to learn what you’re trying to teach it quickly and easily, don’t use a voice that is too low or too loud. It’s important for us humans not only what we say but how we say it as well!
Remember that every time you interact with your dog, you are training them – even if they’re not “in training.”
You are training your dog every time you interact with them. You might be tempted to think that if the dog isn’t in training, then it’s not true. But every interaction counts!
There is no such thing as “off-leash” or “out of sight” when it comes to a dog’s environment: they’re constantly learning from everything and everyone around them. This means that even if your dog isn’t in formal training at the moment, there are still things you can do to help them learn positive behaviors and avoid bad habits by making sure the household is set up for success (and avoiding environments that might lead to trouble).
Bottom line: the best way to train your dog is to give them lots of positive reinforcement when they behave the way you want them to. If you do this, they’ll learn quickly and will be eager to show off their skills. This means that you should keep training sessions short – no more than 10 minutes or so – but frequent; your dog will learn more if they get many short lessons throughout the day instead of one long session.