5 Common Puppy Training Mistakes You're Probably Making
Posted by Kurgo on 7th January 2016
So you got a puppy for Christmas or New Years. Congratulations! We know you're excited to start playing with the little fuzzball, but there's that whole training thing to take care of first. You know to teach the basics like "sit" and "stay", but that's just scratching the surface. To make sure your puppy grows up into a well behaved member of dog society (pawsociety?), be sure you aren't making any of these puppy training mistakes.
1. Not Following Through
Dogs need consistency to learn. If you are trying to teach your puppy that they aren't allowed on the couch, it's not okay to let them up for a sporadic cuddle sesh. Even if your okay with your puppy being on the couch, how will you feel when they're a year older and 50 lbs heavier? Whatever the command or behavior you're trying to install, make sure you approach it consistently and follow through every time.
2. Not Acting Immediately
The proper time to correct a behavior is when the behavior is happening. Dogs have pretty decent memories, but to puppies everything is so new they aren't really capable of correlation unless it's immediate. If your puppy has an accident or jumps or does whatever bad behavior you're trying to fix, make sure you get up and fix it then and there. Yes, even if you have to pause the movie or hang up the phone. Alternatively, when they perform an action you want to encourage, make sure you have the treats handy so that they understand that behavior equals snacks.
3. Not Pacing Commands
Puppies need silence around their words to truly process them (this isn't a bad idea for an adult dog either). When you're trying to teach a new command, make sure you speak slowly, clearly, and give the word a breath on either side. When you say a command as part of a sentence, puppies have a tendency to lose the meaning in the noise.
4. Over-Reliance on Treats
Look, treats are the great motivator. This is true for puppies, dogs, men, women, children, and even cats. When you're trying to train your puppy, treats WILL work. That's why it's so easy to get hooked on them.
Ideally, you want your dog to respond to YOU, not to the treats. To help with this, occasionally reward them with affection, attention, and even their favorite toy. If your dog loves going outside (or inside) make opening the door a reward. This works particularly well with sitting or laying down (so you can strap on their harness and leash).
5. Not Training YOUR Dog
If you're reading this, you're probably reading a lot of training advice. That's great, and you're a good dog parent. With all the information you're absorbing though, don't forget that just like a child, every puppy is an individual. What works for some or even most dogs may not work for yours. Watch your puppy closely (as if you could look away) and make sure you're working together and doing what seems to be working for YOUR pup.
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