We all want our dog to be obedient, to listen to us in all situations, but quite frequently, that just doesn’t happen. Why? Most people make common puppy training mistakes.
Top Ten Puppy Training Mistakes
1. We make our biggest mistake by not being consistent about training. Training a dog, or puppy, takes a level of commitment that we fail to realize is on-going, all day, every day. We don’t understand that for the dog to learn, we must set the rule and then enforce it. Everytime. It does no good to set the rule that the dog is not allowed to lay on the couch and then allow it to lay on the couch sometimes simply because we don’t feel like enforcing the rule or we think the dog will see it as a one time treat. If you let it lay there once, the dog will see it as no longer being a rule.
2. We fail to understand that a dog is a pack animal. In the dog’s world, there is one, and only one, leader. It can be you, or it can be your dog. Its your choice.
3. We think that dogs think like people. Going back to the couch example…. We let it on the couch “just this once”, thinking that the dog will understand that this is a special treat, not to be repeated. But what the dog sees is that you are an ineffective leader who does not enforce the rules and, thus, you have given the dog permission to disregard this rule when it wants to because it is, in fact, no longer a rule.
4. We don’t know that the amount of patience required during puppy training is such that would test even the most mellow of us. Puppies have small bladders and short attention spans. We must have the patience to repeat, repeat, repeat the training. And then repeat it again!
5. We assume that because we own the dog, it will automatically know that it has to do what we want. That will never happen. If we don’t teach it, the dog won’t know it.
6. We don’t understand that if a puppy or dog turns its nose up at a certain kind of food, we should not keep trying different foods until we find one it will eat. All that does is make the dog picky (and cost us a fortune in dog food). No dog will let itself starve. It will eat the food when it gets hungry whether it likes it or not.
7. We feed our puppy people food. Not only is this very unhealthy for the dog, it sets us up for bad behavior from the dog. Dogs learn the sound of a bag opening or a dish rattling very quickly. To them it will mean “food coming up” and they will rush to beg for it. This can become extremely annoying when your dog is constantly pestering you for your food, stealing it off the counter and being a nuisance around the table when you have company for dinner.
8. We don’t take into consideration that what we consider “cute” behavior in a puppy will not be appropriate behavior in an adult dog and that it should be stopped in the puppy stage. We think it is so adorable that our puppy jumps all over any incoming guest. But it is no longer cute when it is an adult dog and you don’t want it to jump all over everyone. And it is especially not cute when the other person doesn’t want it jumping all over them!
9. We don’t understand how dogs greet other dogs and the possible outcomes of these greetings. It is up to us to learn what can happen and take training steps to prevent undesired results.
10. We think that everyone will like our dog as much as we do and we think that our dog will like everyone we want it to like. Neither of these is true. Just because you think your dog is wonderful, others might not think it… especially if you are an ineffective leader who has no control over your dog. As for your dog liking everyone you want it to like, remember that dogs can tell a lot about a person on the first meeting and if your dog obviously shows that it doesn’t like someone, you might be wise to wonder why.