There’s quite a bit of information out there you can use about dog training. It is true that you can teach your pet nearly anything you want, if you use the right methods. However, there are also some cliches mixed in with all that advice that might seem useful at first but isn’t actually helpful at times. These mistakes are things you might do with the best of intentions but their impact might not be nearly as successful as you want. In fact, they might even backfire. If you’d like to avoid frustration happening on both ends of your leash, keep these 5 cliches about dog training you should avoid in mind:
1) Repetition Is The Secret To Success:
One huge issue is known as ‘command nagging’. This happens when you give your dog a cue, but he doesn’t actually respond. You’ve probably read many times that what you should do is keep repeating a command until you get your dog to obey, but this can backfire hard. Imagine you have to repeat the word ‘come’ several times before your dog pays attention. This just teaches your dog that he doesn’t actually have to respond immediately. If you want the training to be successful, it’s essential that you only say a cue once to get a response. If it looks like your dog isn’t paying you attention, then you might be better of not saying anything at all.
2) Abusing Treats:
Giving a dog affection or a treat is a common reward for successfully following a desired command or action. In some cases, like ‘stay’ or ‘sit’, it might even be a reward for a nonaction. Treats are without a doubt a very powerful training tool, but they can lose their effectiveness if you start switching from them to ‘cue poisoning’. Consider the instance of you teaching your dog to ‘come’. It’s a great command for your dog to follow, and at some point, you’ll hopefully get him to come when you call it out once, even if there’s not always a treat. However, there might come a day that you need to give your dog a bath, which he doesn’t really care for. He responds to the command the first time, but the next time, he might hesitate, sensing there might be a bath instead of a treat again. Do this enough times, and he won’t come at all. The cue has to be reinforced enough that you can use it for something your dog doesn’t like, and even then, you can’t abuse it.
3) Keeping Things Simple:
Something you’ll hear from a lot of pet owners and trainers is keeping things simple. This can actually be over-applied. While training can be effective when you focus on a single stimulus-response for one command or action, if you keep repeating the same thing over and over without getting any results, then it’s time to change things up.
4) Being Consistent:
Dogs pick up on body language and tone of voice more than the actual commands coming out of your mouth. They don’t speak English, so syllables to them are just cues and noises. Even though you should be doing some training every day, whether you have classes or not, don’t do it when you’re not in the mood for training yourself. If you are frustrated, angry, stressed, or impatient, your dog won’t know or care if it’s about your time in traffic, a fight with a relative, or your boss at work yelling at you. Only train your dog when you can replicate the firm-but-gentle love and authority you can in every other session.
5) You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks:
Yes, actually you can. It might take a bit longer, and you might have to get creative, but with enough patience and persistence, you can change things in an older dog. You might not get them to the point that you want them at, but you can at least find a middle ground. Your dog is always going to be a puppy at heart who wants to please you, so give them a chance.
Dog training involves a lot of nuance, but if you avoid these 5 cliches or do things right, then you let your dog be successful, which he honestly wants to be. Give him a chance, and he’ll happily go where you lead him.