The month of January is Dog Training Month! Though it’s never a bad time to talk about Fido’s education, now’s the perfect time to consider doggy training regimen, and for us to go over some of the pitfalls to avoid when teaching Fido to be a Very Good Boy. A local Wichita, KS vet lists some common dog training mistakes in this article. 


Dog Training Mistake #1: Skipping Key Commands


Fido, being highly intelligent, can learn over 100 words and commands. Some dogs have even been trained to do complex tasks like loading dishwashers or turning lights on and off. However, most pups don’t need this level of training. 


Be sure to teach your furry pal the basics, such as Sit, Stay, Heel, Down, and Lay Down. Other commands like Leave It and Drop It can also be quite useful. Teaching the command Down can be beneficial, especially for larger dogs or pups who tend to jump on people.


Dog Training Mistake # 2: Lapsing


Getting Fido trained may take you about 4 to 6 months. You don’t want to stop working with him once he learns the basics, though. Run through those commands regularly. You do not have to reward your pet every time he obeys – just do it enough so he knows there might be a reward. 


Dog Training Mistake #3: Using The Wrong Methods


The world of dog training now includes all sorts of different systems. Many use their own acronyms or lingo. For instance, there are the Three C’s, the 90/10 rule, the Silent Method, and the Five Second Rule, to name just a few. 


Do your research, and see what works for you. Take a closer look at something if it doesn’t work, but changing methods completely may just confuse your pet. Your Wichita, KS vet can also offer some advice. 


Dog Training Mistake #4: Not Seeking Help


Some of our canine friends pick things up very, very quickly. Others? Not so much. It may also be harder to train Fido if he is already an adult. Many rescues, for instance, need extra petucation. Depending on the dog, you may need to consult a behavioral specialist or enroll him in an obedience school.  Ask your Wichita, KS veterinarian about behavioral training. 


Dog Training Mistake #5: Overly Long Classes


Fido may lose interest after about ten minutes. Dogs don’t have long attention spans, except when it comes to bacon. 


To keep your pet interested in a class, do short sessions a few times a week. Aim for about five to 15 minutes. Sometimes less is more! 


Dog Training Mistake # 6: Inconsistent Commands 


Consistency is essential when training dogs-or any other animal, for that matter-especially when teaching vocal commands.


Dogs don’t really understand the nuances of our language. To Fido, ‘Sit’ and ‘Sit down’ could mean two different things. Always use the same words and phrases. Work on one command at a time, and don’t move on until your pup has mastered the current lesson.


Dog Training Mistake # 7: Not Addressing Bad Behavior


You should nip any bad habits in the bud while Fido is still a puppy. You shouldn’t scream at your pup, but you can say ‘No’ or ‘Stop’ or whatever is appropriate. Always use the exact same words!


Dog Training Mistake # 8: Poor Socialization


Socialization plays a huge role in shaping Fido’s outlook and personality. This must be done when he is a puppy, as this is when he is forming his opinions about the world. That’s not to say you can’t socialize an older dog: it will just take longer, and won’t entirely erase the effects of poor or incomplete socialization.


Dog Training Mistake # 9: Just Repeating Yourself


It can be quite natural, or even instinctive, to repeat yourself when someone doesn’t understand what you said. While that makes sense to humans, it doesn’t work in the same way for dogs. If Fido didn’t lay down the first time you told him, telling him again won’t help him learn. If your pup does that, he will learn that the words mean nothing, or he can just do whatever he wants as long as he eventually obeys.


Dog Training Mistake # 10: Lack Of Exercise


This one isn’t just a mistake when training: it’s a mistake when it comes to dog care in general. Making sure your canine pal is getting enough exercise is crucial to his health and well-being! Fido may be pretty full of energy if he hasn’t burned off his zoomies. In fact, your pooch might be more interested in the squirrel in the yard than in continuing his petucation.


On the other paw, the last thing you want is for your furry student to be exhausted during class. If Fido falls asleep halfway through, training won’t go well. 


Dog Training Mistake # 11: Punishing Fido 


Our canine companions can be incredibly loyal and well-behaved, but it takes proper training to cultivate these traits. Before undergoing training, Fido will rely solely on his instincts … which can lead to some undesirable behaviors.


It’s important not to reprimand your dog for disobeying or struggling to follow a command, as he may not understand the concept in the same way we do. Yelling at or physically punishing your furry friend when they misbehave can lead to feelings of discomfort or fear towards you, causing more harm than good.


Some training products, such as shock collars, rely solely on negative reinforcement. We don’t recommend using these products or methods unless advised to by a professional.


Dog Training Mistake #12: Improper Rewards


In addition to changing Fido’s behavior, proper training can make a huge difference in your friendship with him. It is also crucial for your pet’s safety. 


Training will go much better if your dog enjoys it. It’s very important for Fido to get rewarded for his progress. Our canine friends aren’t very impressed by report cards, and they won’t care about gold stars or written evaluations. 


Offer your pet something that will help him form a positive association. Food, of course, is the standard here. You don’t want to overfeed your dog, so use small treats, such as training snacks.


However, treats shouldn’t be Fido’s only reward. When your pup obeys a command, shower him with compliments and attention. This is also important for bonding. Bonding with your pup is important in and of itself. Dogs will go the extra mile to please their human friends, but that relationship must be based on love and trust, not bribery or punishment.


What Should I Do If I Make A Training Mistake With My Dog?


It will take more time to undo bad training than to start from scratch, but it can be done. If you know or suspect that you’ve made a mistake, such as the ones we’ve listed here, we would definitely recommend reaching out to a professional. It may take some time, money, and effort now, but it will be well worth it! 


Conclusion: When training your dog, be patient and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement. You want Fido to associate the desired behavior with praise and rewards.


Contact your local pet hospital if you have questions about training your dog. As your local Wichita, KS pet hospital, we are here to help!