5 Common Dog Training Mistakes and What to Do Instead

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3. Bribing instead of training with rewards

We know from scientific research that rewards-based training is the most effective way to teach new skills.

When the dog sees what is in store for them, they are likely to offer whatever behavior they think might win them the treat. However, when the treat isn’t present, the behavior falls apart.

But there is a right and a wrong way to use those rewards. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when teaching a new cue? They hold a visible treat in their hand while asking the dog to complete an action.

When the dog sees what is in store for them, they are likely to offer whatever behavior they think might win them the treat. However, when the treat isn’t present, the behavior falls apart.

Instead of holding the treat in front of your dog before they complete a cue, it should appear after in a sequence of action-and-consequence. For instance, the dog sits, and the treat appears as a reward from out of the blue.

4. Yelling or using a raised voice

Dogs, like children, are much happier to respond to a request when it is spoken with excitement and happiness.

An angry tone or raised voice, on the other hand, might indicate that you are already angry with them and cause the dog to avoid you at all costs. I see this happen most often at the dog park, where guardians screaming at their dogs are less likely get their dogs to come than those calling out with joy.

5. Using physical corrections

Using your strength to correct your dog’s behavior will never have the desired effect.

Not only does physical force typically backfire as a long-term management strategy, but it frequently results in a fearful or withdrawn dog.

As a professional dog trainer, I understand just how frustrating dog training can be! However, taking that frustration out on the dog will only make the situation worse.

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