Christmas has come and gone, and you may be one of the many people who found a dog nestled beneath the tree on Christmas morning. You probably discovered all the other presents had been unwrapped as well and found half your turkey missing too, which leads us on to our article. No matter when you get a new dog, you need to focus on training. Bad behaviour will become a permanent problem if you don’t make the effort to get your canine companion under control. You are the boss, and your dog needs to know this as early as possible. To avoid any potential mishaps in and out of your home, the following are training mistakes made by many new dog owners.
Mistake 1: Not bothering with dog training at all
It doesn’t matter whether you buy a newborn puppy or acquire a senior dog, you need to focus on training. The aforementioned turkey gobbling won’t be the only thing you need to worry about, as you and your dog will have an uneasy relationship if boundaries aren’t put into place. “I’m too busy” you might protest, but if that’s the case, why did you get a dog in the first place? “He’s too old to train” you moan, but as the saying goes ‘it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.’ No matter how old the dog, he needs to get used to you as the new owner, and they will try and get away with untold amounts of mischief if you don’t put your foot down early.
Mistake 2: Giving up too early
If you are struggling to train your dog, and he doesn’t respond to your teaching methods, you may be inclined to give up early. Alternatively, you might train your dog for a few months, assume you have raised his behaviour to acceptable standards and cut short the training. These are both big mistakes. If your dog isn’t responding to you, take him to a few obedience classes, and you will receive educated advice from a qualified professional. Then, no matter how well-behaved your dog has become, continue training intermittently. We can all fall back into bad habits, and your dog is no different. Training will become less intensive, but you can take part in fun activities with your dog that will continue their education.
Mistake 3: Training your dog for too long
Puppies have a short-attention span, and even older dogs get bored and tired eventually. So, whenever you embark on a training session with your dog, don’t overdo it. Twenty minutes is more than enough time. This way, your dog will look forward to the next time you train, rather than dread the next session coming around. You will see it as less of a slog, too.
Mistake 4: Giving your dog too many treats
Treats should be given to your dog as part of your training plan. When they sit, stand, heel, roll over, or fetch your newspaper, then is the time to give them a treat. Giving them something because you feel sorry for them when you’re tucking into your box of chocolates or throwing them the odd treat to stop them from barking at the neighbour’s cat. These are not good reasons for giving out treats. You are giving the wrong message, for starters.
Positive and not negative behaviour needs to be reinforced with a treat, and overfeeding your dog with whatever delectable bounty you have bought them is only going to give them weight issues. While we’re on the subject, only give them something of nutritional value, such as the treats from Betsy Farms. Human foods and chocolates just won’t do, as they can cause serious health problems for your poor pet.
Mistake 5: Not using the clicker correctly
Clickers are a great tool for dog training, as they act as a cue for enforcing good behaviour. However, you don’t want to misuse it. With the wrong practice, the clicker will lose its value, and you will have to find other ways to train your dog without one. There is a complete article about clicker mistakes here, so read through it carefully.
Mistake 6: Training your dog alone
You may be the ‘master of the house,’ but it’s no good if your dog only responds to your commands. No matter what training system you put in place, the other people in your household need to follow your example. Otherwise, your dog will only listen to you and ignore and behave badly around other people in your family. The training should also be consistent. You don’t want anybody else undoing the training you have commenced with your dog. For example, you may have trained your dog to sleep in a particular area, but if somebody else lets pooch sleep on the sofa, your hard work is for naught. In short, everybody needs to get involved with your dog’s training, actively and passively.
Mistake 7: Only training in one place
Your dog may be the epitome of perfect manners in your home. But if you have only focussed on training him in this one place, he may be a nightmare when you take him to other places, such as the in-laws. Imagine their reaction when you boast how wonderfully toilet-trained your dog is, only for them to discover a fresh delivery placed neatly on their newly furnished carpets. So, wherever you are, always practice the same behaviours. You are in charge, so your dog will begin to listen to your voice, and understand what you want. Whether you are at home, in the local park, or in somebody else’s house.
These are only a few of the training mistakes new dog owners make. Of course, even assured dog handlers make the occasional mistakes sometimes. We aren’t perfect after all. There may even be methods of training that you haven’t considered. No matter how old and wise you are, you can probably learn a few new tricks yourself. Still, whether it’s your first dog or your twentieth, don’t forsake training. Your dog will be a wonderful friend to you, but if you don’t train sufficiently, that friendship will be tarnished as your home gets turned upside down!
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