Having a new dog, whether a puppy or an older one, is usually a happy and exciting time. All too often, however, owners try to train the dog and fail because of common and deceptively harmless dog training mistakes. Below are five of these common mistakes you’d best avoid for you and your new dog’s sake.
1. Assuming That Your Pup is Too Young to Train
Take note that a puppy that’s at least six or eight weeks old has the ability to learn the most basic commands. But many dog owners don’t realize or perhaps believe this and feel that they should only train their dog housebreaking. Any puppy training professional in Salt Lake City worth their mettle, however, will tell you that by training your pup at an early age to sit, come, stay, and other basic commands, he will know what to expect going forward and will be more receptive to your training. Less stress for your pup equals less stress for you.
2. Not Establishing a Training Routine
Dogs thrive on routines. Knowing exactly when they’ll play, eat, sleep, and walk gives them some semblance of control over their lives that in turn reduces their stress. It’s particularly vital to establishing a consistent schedule for playing, eating, training, walking, and elimination for puppies. The key is consistency because your pup might get confused; engage in behavioral mishaps, or elimination accidents if his routine isn’t followed. Establishing a solid routine is especially crucial during the initial months so they can get used to it without much resistance. Once you’ve set your pup’s schedule, try to stick to it as closely as you can.
3. Punishing Bad Behavior
Don’t wait for your puppy to do something bad or undesirable before training him. Once he’s accustomed to that behavior, it will much harder to change it. Instead, focus on rewarding desirable and good behaviors. Wait for your pup to do something good and then reward him appropriately so that he will associate the reward with the good behavior.
4. Reinforcing Bad Behavior
Whenever your pup barks, at say 5 AM demanding to be fed, and you go ahead and feed him to quiet him, you’re essentially reinforcing and rewarding his bad behavior. This also applies when your pup won’t stay still so you give him a toy or treat, or barks incessantly at you so you can get his toy under the sofa. Basically, your dog is training you instead of the other way around. He thinks he’s alpha because you’re the one following his lead.
5. Hitting Your Dog
Lay a hand on your puppy and your dog will fear you, or worse become aggressive and withdrawn. You should know by now that hitting doesn’t really work, so just don’t do it. There are plenty of ways to train your dog without hitting.
By avoiding these five dog training mistakes and being a trustworthy, loving, and caring alpha to your pup, you increase the chances of turning your pup into a happy, confident, and calm dog.