The main task of dog training is to develop and consolidate skills that are useful for both the dog and the owner: approach on command, moving around, guarding things, staying at a specified place, etc. Often, especially with self-training by the owners of the pets, the tasks are not only not achieved, but the opposite and unwanted results occur – completely undesirable skills and reflexes are developed.
In this article, we will look at the most common mistakes in dog training.
1. Rough, cruel treatment of the dog
Sometimes you can still find “old school” trainers who believe that in order to develop obedience, a dog must be severely suppressed, and in order to develop anger towards strangers, it must be thrashed to make it angry. The result of classes with such “pros” is sad. Dogs with a strong nervous system and innate viciousness become poorly controlled aggressive animals, while the rest of the dogs develop unnecessary timidity, fear of the trainer and the training process in general.
2. Whether it’s a game or a training
Training, even in a playful manner, is still training, and not a fun run and games of pulling the leash. Distinguish between just walking and training itself. This does not mean that you have to constantly exercise during the half hour outside. It is enough to devote 5-10 minutes to training, without being distracted by anything. Then take a break, let the dog run freely, play, communicate with other dogs, and return to training again.
While walking, interact with the dog in the usual way. But during the exercises, be strict and consistent, like a first-grader teacher in school. Do not let the dog play at this moment, be distracted by passers-by or other animals.
3. An unconditioned stimulus before the conditional or first a command, then an action
A very common mistake many dog owners make. A typical situation: The dog walks next to the owner, suddenly a cat jumps out, the dog makes a leap forward. The owner immediately tears back the leash and, at best, simultaneously with this (and more often after the jerk) gives the command “fu!” or “near!”.
All training is based on the development of a conditioned reflex. There is a command (condition or conditional stimulus) that must be followed by the dog’s reaction. Your jerking and shouting will do nothing, because the dog does not see the connection between the command and the desired action.
But if first there is a command (conditioned stimulus), and then an unconditioned stimulus (for example, a jerk with a leash), then the dog understands how to behave after the command, and it develops a conditioned reflex to it (approach, lie down, sit down, etc.).
4. Multiple repetitions of a command
The command is given once, remember this. If you shout “to me!” to the dog several times, it will get used to approaching for the 5th time. If it doesn’t work the first time, wait at least half a minute with the second attempt. And it is better at first to use the means that can help to achieve the command execution, for example, the approach “to me” is practiced at first only on a long leash.
5. Command failure
Every command must be executed. Animals feel great about their owners, and the slightest weaknesses and connivances in discipline are interpreted in their favor. If the dog didn’t follow the command yesterday, what could make it do it today? So be persistent. It is better not to “fill up” the dog with commands, but to give a smaller number of them, and achieve one hundred percent fulfillment.
6. The same tone for commands, praise and forbidding shouts
The command for execution is given in a clear, calm, slightly stern voice encouraging the execution of the desired action.
The praise should be several degrees higher and brighter in emotional color. Dogs understand the intonation of their owners well, but training will go faster if you don’t skimp on enthusiastic exclamations like “Ay, smart!”, “Good!”, “Excellent! Bravo! ”, stroking and patting the dog.
Prohibitive commands (“fu!”, “No!” It is extremely important for a dog as a pack animal to have the support of the leader – you, in this case. The dog should clearly pick up in your voice dissatisfaction with its behavior.
7. Adjusting for the dog in dog training
A seemingly simple rule is to always remember that the owner is you and not vice versa. Nevertheless, this rule is often violated.
Example. You gave the command “to me”. The dog approached, but sat a little further than required. Don’t go yourself. Reissue the command. If the dog has not done it, take it on a leash and repeat it all over again in a minute or two, having already achieved the correct performance (pulling up with the leash). Or the command “near”.
A common mistake is to take a step back, forward, left, so that the dog is still where it should be when giving this command. This approach is fundamentally wrong. Pull the dog up, turn it around with your hands, show the treat, but get the dog to execute the command, not you.
An important point worth dwelling on is the end of a lesson or command execution. Even if you were just about to give the command to “walk” and your sitting dog gets up by itself, do not let it go. This is an important point. Several such independent decisions interrupt the command and the dog will clearly learn that it is generally free to do, what and when it pleases itself.
8. “Dog training at the same place “
It’s clear to you that it’s more convenient to walk side by side and lie down on command on the asphalt site, and the dog understands this as “come here, so we’ll exercise now”. In the first lessons, such attitudes can even be useful: seeing the playground, the dog is adjusted to “work”.
But in the future, if you don’t work with the dog at all outside the playground, it may refuse to execute commands outside its usual territory. Therefore, try to diversify the places of practice. This, of course, is not about a full-fledged occupation in the middle of a busy city street. But a couple of times during a normal morning walk, it will be very useful to seat the dog on command.
9. Insufficient or excessive repetition of exercise
Repetition is the mother of learning. If the exercises are performed too rarely at large intervals, the dog may simply not remember anything. Also ineffective and unnecessarily long and intense training with a dog that is tired or bored will yield no good results. If the dog begins to yawn, look around, lie down, give it a little time to rest, switch attention to something else; otherwise, there will be no benefit from the lesson.
10. Dog training with a dog not walked
Young, temperamental, energetic dogs should first be walked a little to let off steam. You can often see such a picture on training grounds. The owner who is late for the beginning of the lesson jumps out of the car in a hurry with the dog and immediately tries to “get in line”. The dog tears the leash, jumps on it, and flirts with other dogs. The whole lesson ultimately comes down to constant tugging.
You need to come to the site ahead of time, at least 15 minutes from the start of classes. This is enough for the dog to be able to walk a little and calm down by the beginning of the session.