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Top 3 Dog Training Mistakes

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


When I get hired to train a puppy, I usually see owners make mistakes that prevent the dog from learning correctly. Here is my list of the top 3 mistakes.


Mistake #1 -  REPEATING COMMANDS

It would sound something like this: “sit, sit, sit, sit down, sit, (dogs name) sit, (dogs name) sit…all within a few seconds, and each time getting louder and louder. If the dog does not sit within one millisecond, the command gets repeated repeatedly, thinking that the dog may not hear them the first time. 


How can a dog process and perform a command it does not know yet? Dogs do not learn English that fast. Each word has to be taught to them and associated with something; even then, their vocabulary is minimal.


The negative aspect of this training mistake is that the dog begins associating that number of words with the command by repeating commands repeatedly. For example, if you say sit, sit sit all within 1 second, the dog learns that the command is not sit; it’s “sit, sit, sit.” 


From my experience, every new dog owner does this unconsciously until it’s brought to their attention by a professional dog trainer on how they talk to their dogs and how that negatively impacts their learning ability. I am unsure when and how this started happening, but this led to my next dog training mistake.


Solution: Say the command only once and allow the dog 15 seconds to process it; then, you can repeat it if necessary. 

Mistake #2 - NOT BEING PATIENT

Dog owners seem to assume that dogs learn at the same speed as humans. I have trained some brilliant dogs, but all dogs learn at their own pace, not ours. Not being patient with a puppy is a big mistake. 



dog with owner in huntsville, al

When owners get impatient, they also get frustrated. Dogs are masters of recognizing body language and emotions. If you’re frustrated with your dog, that negatively affects the relationship. They can feel that you are losing your cool and become over-anxious or fearful, leading to aggression. 


You must have patience when having a new puppy. They do not learn overnight and trying to rush the training process only makes the dog think they cannot ever do anything to please the owners. This leads me to the next mistake. 


Solution: Learn the art of patience and practice with your dog.

Mistake #3 - CONSTANTLY CORRECTING DOG

Sometimes, we must correct a dog from doing something we don’t want. This includes play, biting, jumping, and chewing. I use the term “correct it and redirect it,” this way, you’re teaching the dog an alternative behavior. This technique is best as the dog starts the behavior before the intensity gets too high. I like to use the sound “uh uh” to stop the behavior, then redirect to a sit or down. 


The mistake that a lot of dog owners make is to over-correct. I have seen owners talk to their dogs when they are jumping on them rapidly, saying, “down, sit, down, (dogs name) off, leave-it, stop, no, stop.”  This reinforces the problem behavior and stimulates and excites the dog. 


Another option is to clap to gently startle the dog when they are doing an undesired behavior to get their attention, and then give them an alternative behavior you want. 


Solution: Before correcting your dog, think of the alternative behavior you want, and focus on that instead of the behavior you don't want.

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