5 Training Mistakes That Can Turn Your Dog from Pussy Cat to Tasmanian Devil

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dog training mistakes

1) Changing the Rules All the Time

In order to work with your dog effectively, you have to pick rules and remain consistent.

I understand that most owners think they follow this rule to a “T” but how many of you reading this allow your dog to jump on you sometimes, but then get uptight when your dog jumps on you when you are dressed up?

A great majority of people start out exactly like the former example; then they panic when the dog jumps.

The key to teaching your dog not to jump is not allowing it at all…EVER.

Having Trouble with Jumping?

Read this article and you will understand just how much sense this makes!

Likewise, allowing your dog on the furniture (or some members of your family) sometimes and not others is bound to wreak havoc on your training.

Pick one: on the furniture or off of the furniture and stick with it!

AND…Barking!

Encouraging your dog to bark sometimes but not others is extremely confusing unless you are the one that is in control of your dog’s mouth.

If I want a quiet dog, I need him to be quiet 99% of the time.

He can alert me to direct changes in my environment, but when I tell him to be quiet, I expect him to relent.

You can’t think that his barking at the TV is funny one minute, or reward him for barking at a stranger at the window, and then expect him to be quiet when family is out of the same window.

After all, he doesn’t really know the difference!

correcting your dog for barking isn't working, reasons dogs bark , puppy screams in crate, stop dog barking, puppy crying in crate for hours

2) Treating Your Dog Like a King

You wouldn’t raise a child without instituting rules.

You wouldn’t raise a child without fostering and teaching independence.

dog training mistakesYou wouldn’t wait on your child hand and foot his whole life.

And, you can’t protect or keep your child from ever doing things he doesn’t want to do.

However, a great majority of dog owners are trying to raise their dogs in this exact way.

Just like you could never raise and independent, healthy adult by treating your child like a King or Queen and sheltering them from work and from all the negative in the world, you also can’t raise a mentally healthy dog this way.

Dogs need rules. They need to be independent and be able to be successfully left alone. They occasionally have to do things they don’t want to do. They have to get out and about in the world to experience it and learn how to act in a social setting.

3) Rewarding at the Wrong Time

This one is a little difficult, because I think at one time or another we all fall into this category!

Clicking at the wrong time occasionally is part of clicker training. Click here for a great video series on teaching clicker training and basic obedience.

But, you really need to consider who is training whom when you see bad behavior crop up.

If your dog barks in your face and you throw his ball, who is training who? Who is rewarding at the wrong time?

This goes for dogs that bark for their food or misbehave near dinner time when they want to be fed.

I have a dog that is “overly” affectionate by jumping in my lap and nuzzling my hand when she is hungry. Yet, I know she is just trying to disturb me enough to get up and feed her (smart right?).

I even wrote and article about how positive reinforcement training, when used completely wrong, can expound aggression.

4) Creating Leash Reactivity

Many times dog owners end up with a dog that is aggressive on leash, yet they have no idea that they might have created the problem.

First off, leash manners and teaching your dog to “heel” effectively is one of the most daunting tasks you will ever tackle.

A good “heel” is also one of the most crucial things that you will ever teach your dog.

dog training mistakesBut, it is not easy!!!  Hence the reason you don’t see a lot of dogs out in public heeling perfectly.  For more help click here, and be sure to click on and read the links within the article.

So if your dog doesn’t have any leash manners or skills, he feels you get nervous, correct him, or reel him in every time you see a person, child or dog.

When the dog feels your stress looks around and can find a common denominator, you are conditioning the dog that the stimulus (child, dog, adult) is bad and so the dog often gets defensive.

If your dog is getting defensive and reactive around certain stimulus, assess how you are dealing with the same stimulus and learn to relax.

Want To Learn More About “Leash Manners” Training Your Dog?

Check out our class, where we show you how you can teach your dog to have impeccable leash manners, even if right now, he’s out of control, always jumping on you during walks, or biting and tugging on the leash..

Click here to learn this “Leash Manners” training process

5) Avoiding His Den

Often, people get their feet wet (or their dog’s paws wet) on the idea of crate training, but they give up way too early/easily.

Sometimes, the puppy screams and so they bring the puppy to bed (never recommended)!  I mean, eventually, even a baby has to learn to sleep alone and self soothe; so, why wouldn’t you think a dog would need the same independence and rules?

Or, the person crates the dog or puppy for only as long as it takes to finish potty training. And then they stop using the crate altogether after that.

And

AND, and this is a BIG one, people spend a nominal amount of time working on crate training while they are home to help acclimate the puppy and get a few things done. But, once the dog is hypothetically crate trained, they never, ever crate the dog while they are home during the day.

***Sorry, at night doesn’t count.

Imagine if going into his crate means he will be in there for several hours, with you gone, no matter what?

Quite frankly, I rarely run errands for less than 2-3 hours.  I hate running errands so I save them up for one big outing.  And, I know that I am not alone.

However, when I work on in-home crate training, my dog may only be in his crate for 15-20 minutes while I cook dinner, run laundry, shoot my bow in the back yard, or shower.

As a result, my dog learns that he gets handsomely rewarded for going in his crate (I always give them a great tasty treat) and he might just be in there for a few minutes.

He also gets used to hearing me mill around and doesn’t have to panic that I am going to “leave” every time.

Crate training is a skill.  

dog training mistakesIf I don’t want my dog to associate it with long periods of being gone and some panic, I have to condition him that putting him inside is a good thing.

The crate is not a means to an end!!!!!

Dogs have to be crated or kenneled at the vet, at the groomer, on vacation and other times throughout their lives.

Make sure you are working with him and conditioning him that being in the crate is his den and he can be happy and peaceful inside.

Or…you will see your dog go from being cozy in his crate to being panicked when you leave!

 

Follow these steps and you will turn that devil into an angel!

 

IC devil to angel

There are 3 Comments

  1. Norma says:

    Hi Jason , I have a Shih Tzu and I am having a problem with her eating. She will not eat her food unless I put a little extra on top of it ., like cheese or little lunch meat or a small amt. of hot dog. I started her out with cooking chicken tenders that have no salt or ant-biotics cage free and so on and I also fed her the Caesar dog food. Now she won’t eat the Caesar at all but still eats her chicken as long as there is something on top. Would love to get her back on regular dog food and cut the chicken back as it is getting very expensive to feed her this.Help I don’t know what to do,

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    STOP!!!! STOP feeding her human food. Human food is bad for dogs. I have never seen a healthy dog starve itself to death. They may be hungry for a day or so, but they will eat what you give them, eventually.

    [Reply]

  2. Natasha says:

    I’m late to the party with this response, but for anyone else out there with this problem…don’t add high value food to a kibble unless that’s what you plan to do for every meal. Or its sporadic enough that your dog doesn’t expect it with every meal. They’ll learn quickly that they can get a little extra on their food if they hold out for a meal or two. I have a friend that inherited a dog from her grandma who dumped her table scraps on top of the kibible for every meal for years. It took my friend three months to get the dog back to only kibble. The longest the dog went between eating meals was eight days. It’s physically impossible for your dog to starve themselves to death! They will eat when they get hungry enough and it might be a few days depending on how stubborn your dog is. Put the food down for 10 or 15 minutes and whatever is left over, or they didn’t eat, pick up the bowl and put it away until the next meal. I would never recommend letting your dog graze throughout the day unless they have a medical issue like diabetes.

    [Reply]

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