When a dog joins a new home, it becomes a family member, and therefore should be trained to attain some emotional and behavioral balance. Unfortunately, some of us have unintentionally adopted some bad dog-training habits, and the worst of it is that we don’t even know that such habits are bad for pet training.
However, as a pet trainer, I usually see many dog lovers struggle to inculcate emotional and behavioral balance on their dogs while still making these same common errors, which usually leads to frustrating results and pitfalls. Hence, if you would like to train the best behaved, friendly and happy dog on the block, then you have to avoid these six most common mistakes when training your dogs on new behaviors and tricks.
Long Training Sessions
Dog training sessions should have some time modulation, which should, in turn, reflect some positive behavior or result in the dog, and once you have attained this result, you may need to reward the pet and quit the training. Puppies, adolescents and some breed of dogs have short attention span, and training them on and on for long sessions would make the training session uninteresting to the pet.
Therefore, a long training session is a common mistake you can make when training your dog, and it can also get to you by making you tired in the process, and thereby reducing your level of attention to how your dog is responding to the training.
Dogs are better at reading body languages rather than interpreting words, so if you are giving your dog a long cue of commands while making the wrong body language like gesture, facial expression or hand signal, it may take too long for your dog to process the command. It is also important that all your family members use the same set of commands in communicating with the dog, and should avoid repeating cues of command over and over again because this could depict a lack of confidence or authority.
Transferring aggression on your pet usually result from engaging in dog training when you are in a bad mood, and this can lead to serious disaster. If your dog makes a little mistake, and suddenly you are taking out your frustrations out on the poor pet, then you are making this mistake. It has also been noted by modern dog trainers that punishing a dog in training sessions is not very effective. So, if you want to see better behavioral and emotional result from your dog, then cool off your temper before engaging in a dog training session.
Using corrections rather than positive reinforcement method
Using Correction based method (i.e. focusing on the negative) is not the ideal way of training a dog because using punishment (negative reinforcement) or correction based training usually materialize to problematic behaviors in the future. Hence, scientists believe that positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for dogs and other pets. The worst scenario comes to play when you mix these two correction methods together in your training sessions; it becomes disastrous because it confuses your dog on whether he is going to be rewarded or punished when he carries out a command, and would never agree to do anything.
Abusing the clicker
Clicker has become a popular and effective training tool for quite some time now, but some of us have come to abuse it because they never learned how to use it well in the first place. You should make your dog associate the click with a reward, and you should click once for every good behavior then reward the pet. However, if you click for many times, your dog would not know for what reason you are rewarding and would not take note of such behavior. Also, avoid clicking and not rewarding your pet, because the clicker would lose its value.
Not practicing enough
Training is a regular thing; it shouldn’t be done once and be done with because if you are not practicing regularly or you occasionally take few months off training sessions, your dog may become rusty, and it may affect it behaviorally and emotionally. Therefore, you should schedule to train your dog for 10 – 15 minutes for three days in a week. You can always bring up new things to teach you dog but make sure to occasionally visit those old commands that your dog have already mastered.
In all, it is pertinent to mention that consistent and error free dog training session is the key to getting good and positive results. It is also important to mention that there are other common mistakes you can make when training your dog other than the ones we have discussed, and some of them include excessive repetition of command, training in the same location, Using treats, inconsistent training sessions, etc.