5 Common Mistakes that Every Dog Owner Makes
When you get your new dog or puppy, there is no instruction manual that comes with them. The mistakes every dog owner makes are common for a reason; they’re easy to make! On top of this if you’re flying solo with your pup, that is without a trainer to help, the knowledge you need to avoid making these mistakes simply isn’t there.
Trainers are do not exist solely to fix an issue after it’s growing or reached a breaking point. We’re here to help you prevent issues in your dogs so you can get on with living your best life with them with peace of mind.
Mistakes Every Dog Owner Makes
Mistake #1 - Giving your dog too much freedom
Our end goal with our dogs is generally to be able to give dogs as much freedom as possible and have them be integrated into our lifestyles. The most common way I see owners trying to do this is by simply giving the dog freedom and practicing what I call “see what happens” training. The expectation that starry eyed owners have is that everything is going to go right and there will be minimal training. That the most they’ll have to do is stop the dog from doing the wrong thing a couple of times and that will be the end of it.
Too much freedom backfires in so many different ways. It opens the door for a whole slew of unwanted behavior. Tearing up the trash, making messes in the home, stealing food, starting fights, and general running amok. The dog is doing things their way and we see patterns and habits quickly begin to form that now need to be fixed in addition to teaching the dog what we actually want!
Freedom is something that should only be given once your dog has demonstrated they can handle it and practice the manners you’ve taught them in the situations you’re expecting them to.
Mistake #2 - Being inconsistent
Uh oh, your dog has developed a problem behavior. Quick head to the internet to get some down and dirty fixes!!! Now with your list of 6 techniques to try, let’s get down to business. What to try first? How long should you do it? Does it apply to your situation? Will other family members do it to?
I have owners with misbehaving dogs tell me all the time they’ve tried EVERYTHING and that nothing works. Or that there is tension in the home because no one is on the same page. Or sometimes this is a person who’s been to training with their dog before, but they weren’t able to get success because something about the techniques they were taught led them to be inconsistent.
Consistency with anything that you want to develop into a habit is key.
Mistake #3 - Trying to train at the wrong times
This is a biggie. Both with obedience training and behavior modification I see owners fall into the mistake of trying to train during the wrong times. For example, let’s say that Fido has a jumping problem and gets over excited when greeting people or when people enter the home. Many owners would try to train Fido during those situations, when someone is coming over to visit. Not realizing that the training is going to be a huge pain in the butt when attempted this way, but also that it’s not going to stick. The timing is just not right for Fido to be able to learn, and your frustration will grow when you see it’s not working how you’d like!
The same can be said if your dog has a behavioral issue, like barking excessively at people out in the world. A lot of the time I see owners trying their best, but missing too many pieces of the training puzzle to ever find success. It’s not your fault though!
Mistake #4 - Not setting things up for success
Along with training at the wrong times, this is a very common mistake that I see. Often the scenario that an owner is trying to teach the dog in is too difficult for the dog, or there has been no foundation work done, or there just isn’t a good connection built between owner and dog.
Relationships in training matter. Foundation skills matter, and just like building a house, if the foundation isn’t right, that’s going to affect the home in ways that you don’t want. This is also the kind of information that is usually overlooked by owners because you don’t know that is matters or is a thing that needs to be done!
Mistake #5 - Too much boredom and down time
Boredom is one of the top causes for a dog trying out and making a habit of many of the things we don’t want! Chewing, barking, digging, chasing, counter surfing, stealing, door dashing, all of these can be traced to boredom as a factor. A bored dog, just like a child, will look for things to do to alleviate their boredom, for opportunities to have fun. Our modern lives certainly don’t skimp on the amount of things that a dog can do to make mischief, and unfortunately it’s really easy for our dogs to be under stimulated mentally with the way the average lifestyle is set up. Gone are the daily adventures, hikes, and working the farm, instead replaced by restrictive yards, leashes, and 9 to 5 schedules.
Biological fulfillment, making sure the dog’s mental stimulation and energy burning needs are met on a daily basis is a huge factor in how a dog will act, as well as how likely they are to be disruptive. Most dog breeds were never designed to live the lifestyles they’re falling in to, and without being able to address the dog’s overall wellness, without knowing the very basics, there are going to be problems.