The 10 Biggest Mistakes Dog Trainers Make
When new trainers first get started, they tend to make a lot of mistakes in their techniques and how the approach the training process. There are a few mistakes that are fairly common among most trainers and we shall make these ten mistakes the subject of this discourse.
Mistake number one is expecting too much. The individual who makes this error is usually well meaning and a true dog lover. The problem steps in when they see all the tricks their neighbors dog can do, they watch the well trained pets of their favorite sitcom characters and they go to the park and see all of the pet owners there enjoying the company of dogs that are obedient and well trained. It is at this point that they tend to forget all the time, patience and money that has went into these animals and achieving the successes they have become.
Mistake number two is also quite common and falls to the other extreme. It is the mistake of giving up. These owners are also well meaning and usually started out as the group who expected too much. Unfortunately, they lack the patience or commitment to achieve the result they want and decide to take an all or nothing approach. These owners decide that their pet can’t learn to play Frisbee in an hour or so, this dog just isn’t going to learn at all.
Mistake number three is not being consistent. If you tell the dog not to jump on you when you are in your business suit and expect them to mind, don’t let them jump on you when you are wearing your jogging clothes either. Consistent training is important if you want a well-trained dog.
Mistake number four is not using enough positive reinforcement. Many a frustrated trainer has gone home with poor results because they forget to reward the dog for doing well. Rewards must be consistent, just like the training. An animal that only receives correction and never rewards will begin to do the wrong behavior just to get some type of attention.
Mistake number five is similar to number four. It is giving too much negative reinforcement. This is the owner that spends his day looking for the dog to make a mistake so they can be corrected. This is a mistake because when you are focused on finding the displeasing behaviors you fail to recognize and reward all the good behaviors your dog displays.
Mistake number six is also quite simple to fall into. It is trying to teach a dog something it was never meant to do. This problem is more common amongst individuals wanting a sport animal for such things as hunting. They try to make a general purpose multitasking animal and instead create a confused and agitated creature. Some dogs just were not meant for some jobs. You can’t ask a Dachshund to be a fox hound and you wouldn’t ask a Great Dane to go into a rabbit den. Get the right dog for the job at hand.
Mistake number seven is not following thru. Dogs love to learn and will learn thru repetition and consistent lessons. However, these lessons must be followed thru with. If you spend an all day session training Fido Monday and then don’t even talk to him again for two weeks, he will have most likely forgot the initial lesson.
Mistake number eight is the use of too many different techniques. While it important to glean wisdom from other trainers experiences, using everything you hear can be detrimental. Each trainer has different ideas of how things should be done and trying to incorporate all of them will frustrate you and your pet. Rather choose a method that works for you and be consistent and you will see much better results.
Mistake number nine is apathy. All too often a pet owner says I hate this or that about my pet but it’s just too difficult to change it. Changes can be made and, if your dog sees that they bring rewards, he will respond much quicker to a direct and firm approach.
The final major mistake people make is thinking the training is over. Training is a learning process and it is never complete. Your dog may learn a behavior and know it well. So why stop there? Your dog loves to learn and you are a good trainer. Why would you ever want less than the best your dog could be?
With knowledge of these mistakes, you can recognize some of the common feelings might have encountered yourself and you can stem these before they become a problem. We wish you the best and also a happy adventure in training your dog.
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