Ten common mistakes in Dog Training

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Seven common mistakes in Dog Training - Mila sitting prettyDog training at all times should be fun for both dog and owner. In order to minimize failure and maximize success, there are some thing that should be avoided when owners start to train their dog.

MISTAKE #1: Starting off with the fancy stuff

When new to dog training many inexperienced owners start off with the fancy stuff, such as trying to teach their dog how to sit pretty. Some wonder why the dog “does not get it” and eventually give up on dog training thinking their dog is just not smart enough. In reality dogs may have different learning speeds just as humans, but in general every dog is smart enough for dog training.
It is actually a good idea to start with obedience exercises, for example sit, lie down or stay on command for two simple reasons:


Those exercises are a lot easier to teach than many trick exercises simply because they involve actions that are more natural to the dog. A dog naturally sits, walks or waits at some point. So it is a lot easier to “catch” those behaviors, reward and train them during dog training. Once the dog is used to the training it will become easier to train more complicated exercises and the already learned ones may even help on the way to the more complex stuff.

b. Two benefits – only one effort

The basic obedience exercises are also a perfect way for your dog to mature into a well behaved citizen. So starting off with these actually serves two purposes.

MISTAKE # 2: Too many distractions around

While having some yummy treats ready is your advantage, it may still be difficult to catch the attention of a young puppy – especially a Bull Terrier puppy – for longer than a few seconds. One reason could be that there are just too many interesting and distracting things around. Try to start your training in a very familiar environment, such as your own living room and remove toys and other distractions. Moving on to an environment with more distractions is the next level in dog training, once your dog is performing a certain exercise reliably in a calm environment. Many owners first learn that exercises that worked perfect in their living room do not work at all outside. The reason are the distractions. Learning to focus on you is part of the training process of your dog and needs some time.


MISTAKE # 3: Using the wrong treats

The more distractions around, the more interesting and motivating you need to to be as the trainer to top them and catch your dog’s attention. While it is ok to use one ore the other piece of kibble to reward your dog for behaving well around the house, for a training session with certain goals to accomplish, you may need some more attractive treats to keep your dog interested in working for them.

MISTAKE # 4: Using too big or too many treats

Your dog has very sensitive taste buds. And just because your Bull Terrier is no Chihuahua that does not mean she always needs five treats at once instead of one. Treats add to the daily calorie amount of your dog. You don’t want to stuff her. The treats are an appreciation. In times with a lot of training it may be wise to subtract the calorie amount of treats given from the daily food intake or compensate for the additional calories by some more exercise. The treats used for training can and should be very tiny (and grain-free!). The size of your smallest fingertip is sufficient. If possible they should be low-cal. But sometimes it just has to be a piece of cheese to be convincing. You’ll find the right ratio. The amount of treats given can be used to point our your level of satisfaction with the performance of your dog. The regular reward is ONE treat. If your dog does something extra special, like finally mastering the entire task, feeding several (2-3) treats in a row shows your dog that she did extra good. Do not feed the treats all together, your dog notices the “more” better when given one after another and got gobbled down in bulk.

Treats you can use for your training for example are “Pet Botanics Training Rewards Treats”

Or use my Homemade dog jerky treats or Carrot Coconut Mini Cookies

MISTAKE # 5: Expecting too much too soon

A dog that is not used to dog training or to being rewarded for performing certain behaviors or react to commands training needs some getting used to. Even with the simpler exercises it is sometimes wise to break the exercise down into several steps in order to make it easier for the dog to be successful.
Success ( = treats, play or praise) is what will keep the dog’s interest in the training. Just like small children, if failing in a row too often, they will loose interest. Also similar to toddlers dogs have a limited attention span and ability to focus.
Therefore one or several crisp and short lessons a day are worth more than one half dreadful hour of trying to achieve something. The best way is to design sessions as playful as possible for the dog, using enthusiastic praise for motivation. Finish before your dog gets bored and always finish with a success.
You surely want your dog longing for the next session when you finish. Therefore at the end choose an exercise she cannot fail with – something she already reliably knows – to give her the feeling of success.

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Obedience training & socializing your dog
8 years ago

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