Raising an obedient and well-behaved dog doesn’t come naturally for every owner, which is a large part of why so many dogs get given to shelters every year. Many people approach it without knowing the time and energy that it takes to mold an unruly dog into a calm, happy one. Even if you’re giving it your all, you may be making one or more of these common training mistakes…
Not Setting Boundaries
An obedient dog should look to its owner, the figurative leader of the wolf pack, for boundaries and leadership. You need to be laying down the law in order to make your dog feel secure with you as their pack leader. When you’re out for a walk, have them walk next to you, not out ahead dragging you along by their lead. When you’re putting their food into bowls, they should be sitting calmly, not jumping up at your leg. When they get overexcited, you should be able to get them to sit and stay. Dogs need firm, repeated boundaries to become well-behaved, so make sure you’re establishing these in between teaching them commands.
Doing the Right Things, Just at the Wrong Times
From Max Pixel
Every time you interact with your pet it will send them a message, and it can be remarkably easy for some dog owners to give off the wrong signals. Tossing out a treat for dogs, or showering them with praise and affection, right after they’ve done something naughty, can often reinforce that behavior, making it harder for you to wean them off it in the future. Obviously, you love your dog, and will want to ruffle their ears and scratch their belly whenever the opportunity comes up. However, when they’re showing some kind of undesirable behavior, you may need to withhold this.
Letting Problems Get Too Big
This mistake usually starts when the dog is still a puppy. Puppies are full of energy and curiosity, and when they misbehave in various ways, many owners will let it slide because it’s cute. However, cute and harmless behaviors in a small dog aren’t going to be quite so cute and harmless when they’re fully grown. Remember, it’s always going to be harder to wean dogs off of bad behaviors if you’ve been treating it as acceptable for most of their life. As soon as your pup starts exhibiting bad behavior, work on discouraging it as soon as possible.
Expecting Perfection Too Soon
Dogs exhibit a lot of funny behaviors. If you teach them a command in, say, the living room, they may have trouble understanding it when you try it in the yard. They’re not being disobedient; they just don’t associate this word with this action in a different location. The only real way around this problem is practicing the same obedience patterns in as many places as possible. Aside from the rooms and outdoor spaces of your house, you should also try it when you’re out on walks in strange environments. This is often where good obedience really comes in handy!