1. Focussing on negative reinforcement
We all perform better with a bit of positive reinforcement, and dogs are no different. Yes, there is a time for correction, but care needs to be taken. Some forms of negative reinforcement can be dangerous for a dog, as seen at http://samthedogtrainer.com/, so offering a reward rather than a punishment will make your puppy’s life a better one. Too much negative reinforcement can lead to problem behaviors in the future and the possibility of an unhappy dog. It may be better to distract the dog when you know they are about to do something they shouldn’t and offer a reward for following your signal. Eventually, they will get the point.
2. Offering too many treats
Dogs love to eat, so if there is the prospect of food, they are bound to behave accordingly. However, there are a couple of problems here. For starters, too many treats can be unhealthy. You should only offer something nutritious, such as the wholesome products at http://veratreats.com/ rather than titbits of food or anything that could be dangerous to a dog’s health, such as chocolate. Then, consider the times when you don’t have treats with you. If your dog only behaves well because of an edible reward, you are going to run into problems. There are other ways to reward your dog, such as praise, play, and a gentle pat on the head. Dogs look to their owners for approval, so your tone of voice and facial expression can be a greater reward than a tasty morsel.
3. Training in one area
You will be spending most of your time with your dog at home, but don’t limit training to the house. Otherwise, your dog may not behave accordingly when outside, or in somebody else’s home. The training needs to be consistent, so make sure your dog pays attention to you wherever you are. Your dog needs to know boundaries, both inside your home and in other places you are likely to visit, so vary the places where you carry out your dog’s training.
4. Doing the training alone
Everybody in the family needs to be consistent in the training of your dog. There will be mixed messages if one person lets the dog jump onto the sofa, for example, and another member of the family doesn’t. There may also be behavior problems with the dog when it interacts with other members of the family. Therefore, everybody needs to be on the same page, using the same commands and keeping to set boundaries. Otherwise, you will have a very confused animal on your hands.
5. Forgetting to practice
Dogs are quick learners, but like any of us, practice makes perfect. Whether you are trying to get your dog to learn new tricks, or are focussing on rescue techniques, you need to keep practicing, so your dog doesn’t forget. This goes beyond the puppy stage, so don’t assume your dog will remember everything you have taught him in his early stages. As with humans, continued mental stimulation is needed when your dog gets older.
6. Long training sessions
Many of us struggle with our attention spans, and your dog is no different. If you train your dog for long periods at a time, they are going to get bored and tired. Read the advice at https://www.thespruce.com/ on efficient training techniques. They recommend 15-minute sessions and give you tips on how best to fill that time. Your dog is going to get distracted and confused if you give too much information, so keeping things simple and focussed in short bursts will enhance your dog’s learning.
7. Forgetting individuality
What works for one dog may not work for another. One dog may be motivated by food; another may have a natural desire to please its owner without rewards. Therefore, don’t assume the methods of training you have used for a dog in the past will work for your new pup. Tweak what you are doing, get to know your animal, and experiment until you find out what works best.
8. Repeating commands
Common among many dog owners is the constant repetition of a command. If the dog doesn’t sit the first time you command him to, there is the temptation to repeat the command until he does. There is a problem with this. The dog is learning that he doesn’t need to sit the first time and will only begin to follow the command once it has been repeated. Say it once and say it firmly, and if he doesn’t respond, take the dog somewhere else and repeat the command. Eventually, the dog will get the point, and you won’t get frustrated by having to nag your dog to do as he is told.
9. Clicking too much
The use of clickers can be effective in training, but only if used properly. If you click too many times or stop associating the click with a reward, it will eventually become ineffective. There is some useful advice at https://www.wikihow.com/, helping you and your dog get the most out of clicker training.
10. Giving up too early
Training a dog takes time, patience, and consistency. Many dog owners give up on training too early, either due to the frustration that their methods aren’t working, or they think the dog has been trained to an acceptable level. As discussed earlier, training needs to happen throughout a dog’s lifetime, not only at puppy stage. Then, the training methods need to be tweaked if something isn't working. There are many dog training facilities for those who struggle to train their dogs, so extra help is available if you run into problems.
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