Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Dog?
Over the past 20 years of professionally training dogs and their owners, these are the mistakes I see over and over and over again. 1. Not Consistent Consistency is key to the success of any training program. The more consistent you are the more consistent your dog will be - guaranteed. If you allow your dog to jump on you sometimes but not others that is just not fair. How is he supposed to know the ok times from the not ok times? You can absolutely have your dog jump up on command. But it is only allowed with a clear, concise, consistent command.
2. Don't Train Enough There are no short cuts. The more you work with your dog the faster he will progress. Ideally you want to work with your dog a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Don't even try to do 30 minutes at a time. Break it up into short 5 minute sessions several times a day. Have your dog come or sit before you feed him, give him a toy, clip on his leash or any other life reward. That way you are training him all day long without even thinking about it. Put your training on auto pilot. Yah, one less thing to think about.
3. Reactive instead of Proactive Stop waiting for him to mess up and then punish him. That is backwards thinking. Be proactive and teach him how you do want him to behave. If he is doing the right thing he cannot be doing the wrong thing. If he is sitting he cannot be jumping. If he is chewing a toy he cannot be chewing your shoes.
4. Repeat Commands The command is come; not come-come-come-@#$%-come. If you say sit-sit-sit-sit then he puts his bottom on the ground and you give him a treat, he thinks the command is sit-sit-sit-sit. He is not not responding because he doesn't hear you, he is not responding because he not connecting the dots between the command and the behavior. It means you are progressing to a level of training your dog is not ready for. Increased distractions, increased distance as well as a new location or trainer will result in a lack of performance.
5. You Don't Test Your Dog Only about 10% of training is in teaching a behavior. A good 90% of training is in the testing. Dogs are naturally bad at generalizing. They are great discriminators, but bad generalizers. What does that mean? If you only work with your dog in the Living Room he will only know it in the Living Room. If you are the only one that works with him he will only know it for you. That is one big reason I do not recommend board and train programs for most dogs. They are simply not as effective as you working with your dog in your own home.
6. Too emotional The more calm and neutral you are with your commands the easier it is for your dog to understand. If you are getting too excited he may think it's play time and go into play mode. If you are too gruff or angry he may act submissively. Either way results in a lack of communication that inhibits learning. Also, don't take your dog's responses personally. He is not ignoring you to punish or make you feel bad. I assure you he is not pooping on the floor to get back at you for playing with other dog in the park.
7. Not Flexible Every dog is different. They all have not just their own personalities but their own personal histories and experiences. Everyone learns at a different rate. What works for one dog in one situation may not necessarily work for the next or at the same rate. There is no one size fits all in dog training. This is especially important with shy and fearful dogs. It's imperative to go slow and be patient. If we try and push them too much they will be overwhelmed and it can result in aggression.