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Many of today’s pet parents grew up with dogs in the family. Of course, experience living with furry friends doesn’t necessarily translate into good knowledge of dog training. There are plenty of mistakes made when teaching dogs how to be good household citizens, but here are five of the most common and problematic:

  • Inconsistency – This can have many meanings related to dog training…and none of them are good. Whether commands are given in a slightly different way (Sit, siiiiit, sit down); training sessions are inconsistently spaced (We were training every week, but now it’s once a month); or behavior expectations change depending on location – inconsistent instruction will only confuse a dog.
  • Negative Reinforcement – Negative has become the new bad word in training and usually with good reason. If a pet parent is too focused on undesired behaviors (giving these actions undue attention and encouraging more of them) or just being overly negative during training, the results will discourage dogs and make the instruction more difficult for everyone.
  • Being Impatient – Getting impatient with a dog may be the fastest way to make them uncomfortable and lose their focus. Set reasonable expectations and training goals. Start small with simple tasks or movements that can be easily accomplished and rewarded.
  • Ignoring Bad Behaviors – It’s true that focusing more on unwanted behaviors than desired traits is a mistake, but that doesn’t mean poor behaviors should be ignored completely. Pretending not to see puppy bites or scratching will not stop them from happening.
  • Lacking Confidence – Dogs looks to their owners for direction. A lack of confidence can be downright puzzling for pets. Whether they take advantage or the situation or take on the trait and become more wary themselves, this is not the leadership role they need their guardian to take. The canine-human bond should be based on trust and mutual respect. How can a dog trust its pet parent if the parent doesn’t seem to trust themselves?

Remember – consistency and repetition are the keys to a good canine education. But how do you keep a fidgety fido focused long enough to learn? With their favorite training rewards, of course! To fit the theme of consistent and repetitive, find a reward that’s irresistibly meaty and low in calories. The combination will keep canines focused on receiving their delicious morsel and the small size and low calorie count will ensure it can be given many times without spoiling the appetite or causing weight gain.

Only instruct with a good mood and positive reinforcement in mind. Dog training should be a fun and successful experience that students are eager to repeat at any time and any age.

This article is originally posted by Jen Evans reporting for
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