Common Dog Training Mistakes

These are the most common mistakes people make during dog training. You’ll be surprised at the impact these little, and seemingly insignificant actions can have on your dog’s behavior.

Not Paying Attention

It’s the easiest thing: just shift your attention elsewhere for a little while, and suddenly your puppy is off doing unspeakable things to your living room furniture. And you can not correct him unless you catch him in the act. Puppies have an extremely short memory: five minutes ago no longer exists and they will not connect any action you take to something they did minutes ago. When you can not pay attention to your puppy, he should then be in a safe place, like his dog crate, or tethered to you.

Putting Things Off For Too Long

This is so easy to do. You look at your little puppy, and think “he doesn’t need to learn that just yet”. “That” could be anything: walking on a leash, stay, coming when you call … especially when a puppy’s natural inclination is to stay by your side anyway, without any inducements. But if you let it go too long, you’re suddenly staring dog-adolescence in the face and he won’t want to cooperate anymore. Training while young is the most effective way to get the basics into your dog’s head for good.

Failing to Reward Your Dog For Good Behavior

Your dog won’t know he has done something right, unless you tell him in a language he can understand: happy praise, or obvious reward. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be tangible goods like treats, but your dog will need to connect the reward to his action in order for him to get the message. Immediate praise is the best reward you can give. It’s instant gratification for your dog, and gives you a few seconds to produce the tangible reward if you have one. That few seconds will bridge the gap between “Yay, I did it right!” and “Wow, what did I do to deserve this?” Thi is especially important during early training when you are trying to get your dog to connect actions to commands.

Inconsistency

It’s such a little thing, but it yields huge results. Constantly consistent responses are essential to dog training on every level. Deviate even just once from the usual, and you will have undone all that you have done before.

Begging is one of the best examples of this mistake that I can give. A dog that has never received food from it’s people when they are eating, will not continue to beg. He might try it once or twice early on in your relationship, but consistent “no”s and “go lay down” commands will discourage him quickly.

But if you, just once, give in and give him a chunk of whatever you are eating, he’ll know that it worked. And what works once, will eventually work again, even weeks later. Now you’re in for a battle of wills.

Calling Your Dog For Punishment

Let’s put aside the issues that I have with “punishment” to begin with, and just focus on why it’s bad to call your dog to your dog to your side in order to get mad at him.

Nobody wants to go to a person when they know they are going to get in trouble. It’s true of adults, children, and especially dogs. People know you’re not likely to forget your anger, but a dog is ever hopeful, and will diligently avoid you if he knows you’re mad. And every time you call him to you in order to do something unpleasant, you are punishing him for returning to you, and it just cements it in his head that he doesn’t want to go back to your side.

If your dog is in trouble, or you have to do something he won’t like, go and get him, instead of calling him.

Rewarding The Wrong Behavior

It happens to all of us, and it’s the most common mistake made in dog training. You may not even think of it as “rewarding” your dog. You may see it as “comforting him when he’s frightened”, or letting him in when he barks, or even giving him a stern talking to when he misbehaves. Attention of any kind when a dog misbehaves is a signal to the dog: “hey, this works. It’s not quite I want, but it’s still attention.” Even negative attention is better than none at all.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Clicker Training Your Dog

Operant conditioning is a scientific term that describes the way animals learn from the consequences of certain behaviors. Positive reinforcement is a type of operant conditioning often used in dog training.

Dog clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective training method. The clicker is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. The click is much faster and more distinct than saying “good dog” and much more effective than using treats alone. To teach a dog the meaning of the click, a treat is given immediately after clicking. Once the dog learns the positive effects of the clicking sound, the clicker itself acts as a conditioned reinforcer.

Clicker training is not meant to completely replace the use of treats. The sound of the click instantly tells the dog that what he has done will earn him a reward. To emphasize this, clicks should frequently be followed by treats. Otherwise, the clicker will lose its effectiveness. “While some clicker trainers may not give a reward every time they click, pretty much all clicker trainers continue to follow the click with a reward,” says Alyssa. “It’s very important to use strong rewards a lot during initial training stages, and treats are often the strongest reward for a dog.”

Here’s how to you can easily train your dog to respond to the clicker before moving on to basic and advanced training. The following steps are often referred to as “loading” the clicker.

  • Begin with your dog in a quiet area.
  • Have a handful of your dog’s favorite treats ready. Ideally, this should be done when your dog is hungry.
  • Press the clicker and immediately give your dog a treat. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • You can test your success by clicking when your dog is not paying attention to you. If your dog responds to the click by suddenly looking at you, then looking for a treat, you are ready to move on.
  • Next, begin teaching your dog basic commands. At the exact moment your dog performs the desired action, press the clicker. Follow with a treat and praise.

One of the best things about the clicker is the accuracy. “It’s like taking a photo of the exact behavior you’re rewarding”, Alyssa explains. The dog associates his action with the click and, subsequently, the reward. Not only does he better understand what he is doing, this also makes him more likely to repeat the action when asked in the future.

Clicker training can also be very effective for advanced training. “You simply click for small steps toward the behavior and work the dog toward the final, completed behavior,” says Alyssa. “This allows you to be totally hands-off (except for delivering the reward, of course). You don’t need to manipulate the dog into position, which can often slow the process.”

Overall, the clicker is a very valuable tool in the training process and should be an essential part of your pet supplies. When creating an obedience and training program for your dog, consider using the clicker and see for yourself how well the method works.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Atta Boy! Be Your Dog’s Personal Cheerleader

The very moment that a dog starts to respond to “come,” you want to verbally celebrate his response – and to use verbal encouragement all the way back to you from wherever he was and whatever he was doing.

Then when he reaches you, make a big fuss over him. If you don’t make the payoff pleasurable for the dog, then why would he give up independence and another activity to return to you?

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

You Need to be There for Your Dog’s Training

People who send their dogs to be trained without their participation don’t appreciate that they are disrupting part of their connection with their dog. Even if you have the thousands of dollars it costs for a professional to train your dog in obedience, YOU still need to be trained in what this dog will have been taught.

A professional trainer needs to teach you body posture, different tones of voice, hand signals, and so on. Training your dog is not something you can “phone in.”

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Dog Agility Training

Dog agility is a competitive dog sport that takes place within an obstacle course. Dogs are trained to make jumps, travel through tunnels, and navigate various walkways – all in a specific order. Each step of the way, the dogs are directed by their owners. Agility is an excellent form of exercise and mental stimulation, making it ideal for high energy dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. However, just about any dog can participate in agility. The intensity and difficulty of the course can be altered to accommodate dogs with health complications or special needs. Teamwork between dog and human is the cornerstone of this sport. Learn more about agility training equipment. It could be a great activity for you and your dog.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars, Pet Supplies.