Dog Care 101: Tip #173 – 6 Common Dog Training Mistakes

You just got a new dog. Congratulations! He’s so cuddly, cute and he’s got that funny but strangely wonderful puppy breath. You just can’t get enough of him. It’s Puppy Love.

Best Bully Sticks knows that this beautiful beginning is full of “Aww, how cute!” moments. However, the unspoken danger is that cuteness can also lead to oversights in development. Those, “Aww, how cute! He’s trying to put my shoe in his mouth!” moments soon become, “Aww! Why does he always chew up my shoes?”  New dog owners can’t forget that the first years of a dog’s life are developmentally important to train and teach your dog. Many dog owners overlook important training opportunities, or train incorrectly. Read about these common dog training mistakes below.

Procrastination & Inattention
Of course you don’t think of it as procrastination at the time, but as we said before, if you don’t introduce positive behaviors to your dog immediately, it could be too late. Walking on a leash, basic commands, house training and socialization all need to be a part of your pup’s life from day one.

It also needs to be said that behaviors you think are cute now, may not be so cute later. It’s important to always think ahead to when you dog is full grown. For instance, if you have a large dog, you don’t want to allow certain habits to form, such as sitting in your lap, or jumping up on people.

One Eye On The Puppy
When you have a new dog, it’s very important to keep an eye on him at all times. Young dogs are full of energy and curiosity and you have to remember, they don’t come preloaded with a sense of what items in your house are off limits. Zero boundaries are set, so you have to set them. Thus, the importance of having your eyes on him at all times.

The best way to correct a dog is while he is in the act, and not after. If a dog is chewing on a shoe and you only find it after the fact and scold him for it, that dog has no idea why he’s getting in trouble. You can only positively set boundaries if you correct mistakes as they happen. Your dog doesn’t “grow out” of chewing and jumping. They’re bad behaviors, not a life stage.

Calling For “Punishment”
Your dog can see a lot of things as punishment and it’s important when you call your dog that it isn’t just for “un-fun” activities. Whether it’s calling your dog inside for a bath, or telling him it’s time to leave the dog park, your dog has to connect that being called to your side isn’t just about negatives in his eyes. If he does make this connection, you may begin having a hard time getting him to pay attention and will resist coming to you.

Make sure you call your dog simply to give him love and tell him to “Go Play.” Call your dog over and have playtime with his favorite toy. Make sure he knows that being called is usually a good thing. If you do need your dog for bath time or some other activity, go get your dog and bring him with you.

Positive Correction? Or Aggressive Punishment?
It’s a natural response to be angry when your dog does something bad. Whether it’s peeing in the house when you’re gone, chewing up a pillow or digging in the trash, your dog needs be corrected, but your angry mood needs to be kept in check.

You have to remember that your dog has about a 5-minute attention span, so if you are correcting after the fact, your dog isn’t going to know what he’s getting in trouble for. This correction will most likely have zero effect.

Also, your dog never, ever needs to be hit for punishment. Whether it’s “spanking” or using a rolled up newspaper, your dog isn’t going to respond positively to these actions either. He will most likely just become nervous or fearful of you and continue the bad behavior.

Never, ever rub your dog’s nose in his excrement, a ripped open trash bag or whatever it is he tore up. Again, it could make your dog nervous or scared and won’t be the best for correcting the behavior.

If you are doing any of these more aggressive punishments, your dog could become confused and start hiding his indoor elimination mistakes, or your chewed up shoe.

The best way, again, is to keep an eye on your dog and if you catch him eliminating in the house simply say, “No! Outside!” and immediately take your dog out. Or if he pulls a shoe out of the closet, sternly say, “No!” and put the shoe away and give him one of his toys or a bully stick. Also, never scold your dog while using his name such as “No, Charlie!” because your dog could begin associating his name with punishment.

No Reward For Good & Rewarding For The Bad
Another common mistake is not rewarding your dog for good behavior and positively reinforcing bad behavior. Here you might be saying, “Of course I don’t do that!” but you might be guilty.

Failing to reward for good behavior can simply mean not giving your dog proper praise for doing something right. Making good habits stick with your dog has to be accompanied with instant gratification for your dog. When your dog sits on the first command and pays attention to you, give him a treat immediately. When your dog goes outside and eliminates, give him lots of upbeat praise and petting. When your dog truly behaves well, you should go over the top with praise.

On the other hand, rewarding bad habits is similarly detrimental to proper training. It can look like letting your dog inside when he barks or comforting a new puppy that is crate training. These give the dog reason to think they will gain attention when they do these actions. Thus, barking and whining become a problem. Ignoring this behavior from the start is a signal to the dog that it’s just not going to gain attention from you and it’s not good behavior.

The short of it: Lots of praise for the best behavior, no attention to unwanted behavior.


Slow & Steady Wins The Puppy Training Race
We shouldn’t even have to say it, but your new dog isn’t going to become the perfect example of a behaved puppy overnight. It will take time for your dog to understand what is proper doggy etiquette. This also means that you must be consistent and constantly on your guard and be prepared to correct the action appropriately. It’s a sad fact that if you slip up in your training once, that you might have to start over completely. Dogs are creature of routine, so you must create a positive one by having one yourself.

Remember, good intentions are only as good as the correct application. Your puppy is only a puppy for a little while and a grown adult dog the rest of his life, so make sure training is done properly and in puppyhood.

Best Bully Sticks offers a full line of training treats and training aids such as Pure Bites treats, Premier clickers and treat pouches. Bully Sticks are also a great positive chew for a young dog that will help replace the desire to chew on a shoe or furniture.

What are your puppy training tips for new doggy parents? Share your advice in the comments below!

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