1. Knowing When To Quit. Training a new puppy, or an older dog, requires finding the right balance between dedicating just enough time to training while still keeping sessions short enough as to not frustrate your canine companion. The best way to approach training sessions is to continue until you have a success, reward with praise, then quit. This will keep frustrations to a minimum (for both you and your pup!) and keeps dogs motivated and responsive. However, on the flip side, don’t end a training session too soon. It’s important for dogs to understand what you recognize as success, so try to encourage positive behavior during training sessions. Positivity is always key!
2. Too Many Treats. Treats are a great way to encourage positive behavior and recognize your pup with rewards. However, don’t overlook the inherent value in praise and acknowledgment. Treats are an effective way to teach a new dog old tricks, but eventually replace treats with other positive reinforcers such as toys or praise. Unexpectedly rewarding your dog with treats will work to sharpen behavior, but constant treats will encourage your dog to lose focus and motivation.
3. Excessive Emotion. Using too much emotion (positive or negative) can be distracting and inhibit a dog’s ability to focus and learn. Negative feedback using force or anger is not conducive to training, and will significantly intimidate a dog, making training a destructive experience. Using positive feedback that is too over the top can also over-excite dogs, making them unfocused and hyper. Use a calming energy when training a dog, and ensure that praise is loving and supportive without being over the top. Dogs will respond best to a calm authority who rewards positive behavior with gentle praise and affection.
4. Inconsistency. Inconsistency is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the training process. It’s important to define ground rules early on, and stick to your guns. Variances in the training process will confuse and frustrate your pup, and reduce their ability to learn. Inconsistency also breaks trust, one of the most important factors in your relationship with your dog
5. Being Reactive. Timing is often key for learning to be proactive in the training process. It requires a lot of patience and the ability to understand and anticipate your dog’s behavior. By foreseeing your dog’s next action, you can easily adjust your training to be most effective.
Pet Doors’ Tip: These training mistakes apply to both cats and dogs! Remember, when teaching your pet to use their new cat door or dog door to stay away from these common training blunders. It’s best to make any experience with new pet doors purrfectly positive!