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Dog Training Mistakes: Avoid Them if You Want a Well-Behaved Pooch

Updated: Jan 14


If you want a well-behaved pooch, these dog training mistakes could foil your plans. Learned behaviors are difficult to unlearn, so re-educating your dog after they develop ingrained habits will be difficult (but not impossible). It's better to instruct your dog in helpful ways in the first place. Steer clear of these six training blunders to make life easier. However, if your fur baby already has bad habits, these suggestions will help you undo them.

Chastisement upon return

Dogs ignore recall commands for various reasons. Sometimes they are distracted by elements in their surroundings. Or, they might imagine they have something better to do than obey their owner. Either way, chastising a returning pooch is a dog training mistake, even if they have taken their time getting back to you.

When your dog returns, but you reprimand them (a big mistake), the odds of repeat behavior decrease. They dislike punishment and will think twice about returning the next time you call. Never chastise them when they do as you ask, even if at a leisurely pace. Offer a small reward to encourage them to return again and increase the reward when they come the first time you call.

Confusing rules

Do you let your pup on the couch sometimes but not others? If so, your inconsistency creates confusion and is a big dog training mistake. The same goes when you feed them scraps at the dinner table now and then but refuse at other times. They don't know what you want and will opt for self-serving behavior or get nervous as they can't understand how to please you.

Don't falter when you create rules for your dog. They'll better recognize what is acceptable when you're reliable.

Rewards for bad behavior

Dogs repeat behaviors followed by treats, whether food, praise, or other enjoyable attention. So, when your pooch jumps up at a stranger but is praised and tickled behind the ear, or you instigate a game (another mistake) despite the fact they disturb your mealtime, they'll likely do so again.

Only provide treats after they perform actions you want them to repeat rather than those you don't want them to engage in habitually, and they'll be well-behaved.

Constantly offering food treats

You most likely consider your treats, like vacations, candy, and spending sprees, occasional delights. It's helpful to think of dog treats similarly. Once regular occurrences, food treats lose their power to reward, and your pup will always expect them.

Don't be surprised if your dog anticipates handfuls of their favorite biscuits for no particular reason when you offer snacks freely. Instead, goodies for special occasions, like when your fur baby responds fast to recall or sits when asked.

Professional trainers also recommend offering treats sporadically for good behavior. Your dog won't know whether following commands will engender a tasty morsel but will try anyway, and treat times will be more cost-effective and rewarding. Vary rewards with food, treats, and praise (excellent dog training tactics) so they understand they're doing a good job at the correct times and are encouraged to continue.

Getting angry

You might be tempted to get angry with your dog when they disobey you or your patience is weak. When you are aggressive, though, your behavior engenders fear that stops them from thinking clearly. It also creates an unhealthy relationship between you and your dog.

You want your dog to love and respect you; they won't, though, if you are mean. Instead, they may become defensive since they're fearful or obey you and dislike you. Neither is a favorable outcome.

Keep your emotions under check and retain a cool head when with your dog so they learn to respect you and aren't afraid.

Poor communication

Just as you trust a public speaker who commands authority with a confident voice, your dog responds to how you communicate. Your language can cause an unwanted reaction -- they might disobey you, become overexcited, or display another disliked behavior if you get it wrong.

Speak with suitable projection and use a relevant tone to match the situation and your needs. It's helpful to use an excited voice to encourage play, for instance, but a similar tone is unhelpful when you want your pup to be calm. In the latter case, speak with a low, peaceful tone, and your dog's behavior will match your communication style.

Your dog seeks your approval and wants your love. Give them terrific dog training commands and praise, and they'll likely enjoy learning how to behave well and forge a healthy relationship with you.

This article was written by Bridget Webber

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