Training your dog well can avoid many problems down the road. A well-trained pet often results in a happier life and a healthier relationship between owner and pet. Because of this, basic training such as house training, potty training, and obedience are essential to teaching your dog and ensuring a positive life-long relationship.
Most of the time dog training guides tell you what to do. But in this instance, it might be more instructive to look at a list of things you shouldn’t do. In fact, many times it’s easier to learn what should be done by avoiding what shouldn’t be done. Here, then, are 18 things you should never do when training your dog.
1. Don’t punish your dog when you lack self control or when you are very angry. There is a difference between disciplining your dog and lashing out at your dog, and when you’re angry you’re much more likely to engage in the latter, which can be very damaging.
2. Don’t use a training instrument, toy, or anything the dog should see as “good” to punish him. This will lead him to be afraid of the object instead of associate it with pleasure.
3. Don’t sneak up on your dog or grab your dog when he’s not expecting it. This is one way to damage your relationship with your dog. It also teaches him that he can’t trust you, and will often illicit a fear response or skittishness, which is not healthy.
4. Don’t ever chase your dog. Whether you’re trying to catch him or you’re playing, your dog must always come after you or come to you.
5. Don’t coax your dog to come over to you and then punish or strike him. This is highly deceptive and will ruin any chance of bonding between you and your dog.
6. Don’t try to tease or taunt your dog. For instance, don’t call your dog to come over to you when he’s unable to. Teasing or taunting your dog is cruel and will lead to an unhealthy relationship, and can also damage your dog psychologically.
7. Don’t ever step on your dog’s paws. His paws are extremely sensitive. Other things to avoid include twisting his ears, even if it’s “playful”, and striking him on the face, backbone, or ears. All of these things are incredibly painful to a dog and can be quite damaging.
8. Don’t reach for your dog quickly or grab him. Dogs should never fear their masters or be nervous around them.
9. Don’t pester, constantly shout at, or nag your dog. He doesn’t speak the same language you do, and it can be extremely frustrating for a dog to hear constant harassing orders. Stick to one basic set of orders and only use them when it’s entirely necessary.
10. Don’t praise your dog for doing something and then punish him later for doing the same action. Consistency is the most important factor of dog training. Letting your dog lick you in the face one day, for instance, and then scolding him the next day for doing it is not going to be helpful. Your moods can’t influence how you train; you must be consistent all the time.
11. Don’t start to train your dog right after he has eaten. Wait awhile before beginning any training.
12. Don’t lose patience with or act out in anger against a dog, especially if he’s younger than six months old. Throwing and kicking are always off limits, as is lifting your dog by the skin of his neck, head, or leg.
13. Don’t train your dog to do activities that require a lot of strength or endurance until he is, at a minimum, six months old. Doing so can lead to damaging physical consequences.
14. Don’t make your dog work for extended period of time without short breaks for playing and resting. For every 15 minutes of training you should allow about five minutes of rest and play.
15. Don’t allow multiple people to give commands to your dog, especially during training. You are his master, and you’re the one he needs to listen to orders from. Once he learns the basic commands and training you have in place he’ll likely listen to them from others, for instance a dog sitter. But during training you should be the only person giving him orders.
16. Don’t make dog training about tricks. It might be fun to teach your dog entertaining tricks, but most of your training should be about useful actions that cater to your dog’s natural instincts and keep him safe.
17. Don’t expect miracles. Your dog is just learning and he isn’t going to be a perfectly behaved puppy after a few weeks. Most dogs require anywhere from four months to a year of training before consistent desirable behavior is observable. However, training never ends. Consistency in commands and modifications as behavior dictates it is a life-long task for dog owners.
18. Don’t assume your dog is dumb. Dogs are actually quite smart, and disobedience is not always a sign of your dog being dumb, but rather your dog being independent.
Remember these 18 rules, keep it fun and entertaining, and always treat your dog with respect and consideration. This is the best way to ensure a positive and successful training experience and relationship.