So, you finally gave in to your kids’ constant demands to get a puppy and having chosen a suitable breed, you are no doubt excited about his impending arrival to the family home and puppy training is something to think about at this stage. Puppies, much like children, are open to instruction and you must walk the fine line between fun and discipline; we asked a dog training expert to point out a few common mistakes that dog owners make when training.
- Command nagging – This is a term that refers to repeated calling of a cue or command when the dog doesn’t respond. By repeating the cue, you are letting your dog know that it’s OK not to respond and the more this goes on, the less attention your dog will pay to it. One way to eliminate command nagging is to make sure you have his attention before giving the command. Use a firm tone with some urgency to it and this will hopefully ensure your dog responds. If the call is not responded to and you want to repeat the exercise, wait a few minutes before trying again. A balanced diet is important and there are multivitamin supplements for dogs to ensure optimum health.
- Cue poisoning – This is when a command such as ‘come’ is connected to a negative experience and the dog then associates it with an unpleasant experience. A good example of this would be bath time; if your dog doesn’t relish having a bath, when you say ‘come’ and he does, what follows is not (in his mind) a positive outcome and he may decide to ignore that command in the future. If there is an activity that your dog doesn’t like, don’t make associations with commands you use and this will avoid cue poisoning.
- Negative repetition – When you try a particular training technique and it doesn’t work, you shouldn’t keep repeating it; the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. When something falls flat, evaluate your dog’s response and try something different and eventually, you’ll hit paydirt! Here are a few things that you should do before bringing a puppy into your home.
- Training when in a bad mood – Whatever you do, avoid dog training when you are feeling under the weather; dogs are extremely sensitive and he will pick up on the negative vibes straight away and that is not a good place to be for any kind of instruction. Your dog knows when you are unhappy and as far as teaching him, wait until you feel better.
- Failing to cement training – Some dog owners attend the dog training classes, yet do not follow that up at home. There must be consistency and the last thing you want is for your pet to think that obedience only counts when at the training class. As soon as you introduce something new to your dog, this should be brought up on a regular basis, which is the best way for the animal to learn.
If you have just brought home a puppy as a family pet, we advise you to book a dog training course at the very outset, which will help to avoid all of the above and more.