Most Common Mistakes when training Dogs
You probably know that dog training can be done in a variety of ways. However, most methods used in this activity nowadays have in common one key-word: positive reinforcement as the most efficient way of training dogs. Indeed, statistics show that almost all of those successful training systems are based on positive reinforcement.
But no matter what training program you chose, you are likely to commit one or more of the most common errors. You should read this information in order to avoid them, because these three serious mistakes will make training sessions tiring and ineffective.
The first one consists in the lack of constancy. As you know, regular practice and repetition is the main condition for learning. For instance, after performing successfully a certain command, the dog receives a reward; it will expect to receive exactly the same reward after accomplishing exactly the same action. This is the way your dog understands the reward approach and this is how it learns.
But if you reward it sometimes and fail to do that other times before the dog gets the chance to learn, it will get confused. So the key to success lies in remaining consistent and not interrupting training sessions for long periods of time.
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Normal Behavior of Your Dog
Dogs display a number of traits that humans find annoying, strange or even disgusting (eating feces is a prime example). Yet dogs do what they do for a reason. As far as they are concerned, they are doing nothing wrong, and they become confused when we scold them. Knowing why dogs do certain things will enable you to cope better with them as they occur.
Compared to humans, dogs have a limited ability to communicate using sound and tend to rely more on body language to get their message across. The range of sounds they produce tends to be used to back up their body language rather than in isolation. Howling and growling are the least common sounds, but barking is used frequently, often in different ways to convey different meanings. These can range from guarding barks to those designed to get attention, or barking can be used just to let off steam when excited or frustrated.
Guarding and possession
Natural instinct dictates that to let another take away food will result in hunger. This principle sometimes gets transferred to toys and other items a dog possesses; to give them up is a sign of weakness. Guarding food or a toy, by growling or snapping at anyone who approaches, is a dog’s way of saying ‘this is mine and you are not having it’. However, this line of defence is inappropriate in a human environment. In pet dogs, not letting go of something must be discouraged from an early age, otherwise aggression problems may later result. It is perfectly fine to let a non-aggressive or non-possessive dog occasionally win the toy in a game to keep his play motivation high, but this should be the exception, not the rule.
Why dogs like to sit close to our feet
There are many reasons why a dog may like to sit on an owner’s feet. It all depends on the dog and the other behaviors they exhibit. What kind of dog is it? Is he a pushy dog? A love bug? A dog that always like to be touching someone? Is this an anxious dog who doesn’t like to let the owner out of their sight? The same behavior can be caused by lots of different things, depending on the particular dog.
If you have a dog who is very dominant, then your dog could like to sit on your feet as a way to assert himself over you. He is physically pinning you down and putting himself in a more powerful position. But this would only be the case if this particular dog does other things that make you believe he is trying to be dominant.
Does your og suffer from separation anxiety? Do they follow you from room to room? Do they go to pieces if they can’t see you? In this case the dog may be trying to reassure himself about your presence. He may be looking for comfort by touching you.
Behaving like a leader means that you must demonstrate – to the dog’s satisfaction! – that your behavior is that of a higher status animal. Each dog will have different criteria for what constitutes adequate leadership skills on your part. And his expectations may change considerably as he grows & matures, requiring that you also make shifts in your approach.
Directing, Controlling & Inhibiting Behavior
From the dog’s perspective, only someone they respect has the right to control, direct or inhibit another dog’s behavior. Turned around the other way, this means that if you can’t control, direct or inhibit your dog’s behavior (especially at critical or highly exciting times), your dog is making it quite clear that he does not consider you higher status – in other words, he doesn’t respect you, a clear sign that your leadership is inadequate for that dog (though it may be quite adequate for another dog with a different personality.)