Does your dog speak your language or do you speak his? Thinking like a dog will help overcome these five common dog training mistakes.
1. Calling for Sparky only when you want to put a leash on him
: “Come, Sparky!”
Dog : “This blade of grass is fascinating so I’ll keep sniffing it while the human prattles at me from over there. Besides, if I go to her now, she’ll snap a leash on me and take me home.”
Mistake : When Sparky comes to you, snap on the leash and take him home. See it from his point of view. You’ll need to be more compelling than that blade of grass. Use a happy voice to call him and reward him with excellent dog treats or his favourite toy. “Come, Sparky!” should be practised daily. Call him, reward him, let him go. Don’t let “Come, Sparky!” be his cue that returning to you always means a trip home.
2. Hustling Sparky back into the house after he eliminates
: “Okay, you’re done! Back in the house!”
Dog : “If I eliminate as soon as I step into the backyard, she’ll hustle me back inside and I won’t have time to sniff stuff. So I’ll hold my bladder until I’m ready to burst.”
Mistake : Using a stopwatch at toilet time. If your dog takes a long time to go to the bathroom, it’s because he knows he’ll have to come back inside as soon as he’s finished. Allow him time to check out the yard at his leisure or give him a reason to pee immediately: take him for a walk when he’s done what you wanted.
3. Being inconsistent
: “I don’t feel like working on dog training exercises today. We’ll do it next week when I have more time.”
Dog : “Jumping up on people is okay today.”
Mistake : Training the dog only when you feel like it. Consistency is key! Keep the lessons short and enjoyable and run through them at least once daily. If it’s snowing or raining or you’ve come home late from work, practise the exercises in the house.