Dog Training Mistakes and How to Fix Them
We are all human, and it is human nature to make mistakes. What mistakes are most often made when training a dog and how to fix them?
The main mistakes when training dogs
- It's all too complicated. At the beginning of dog training it is very difficult to follow the whole process, first of all, for yourself. And sometimes it seems that nothing comes of it. There is a solution: break the task down into simple steps, both for yourself and for the dog. This is normal - you study too. And if we believe that we need to give the dog time and not demand the impossible, it is worth applying the same principle to ourselves. Move in stages and everything will work out.
- Incorrect timing and inadvertent training. Be sure to praise the dog or click the clicker exactly at the moment when the dog does what you need. At the same time, it is important NOT to give a marker of correct behavior at the moment when the dog is doing something you do not need. If you praise the dog or click the clicker too sooner or later, the dog will not learn the correct actions.
- Invalid distance selected. You may have started working too short or too far from the stimulus, or reducing it too quickly. Remember rule 9/10: you can only proceed to the next stage when, in nine out of ten cases, the dog responds to the stimulus quite calmly.
- Conditional reinforcement does not work. Do not use conditional reinforcement to attract attention and always give after it what the dog wants at this moment.If the dog does not respond to the verbal marker or click of the clicker, then either the reaction to praise is not formed (the dog simply does not know that it is being praised), or you are doing something wrong.
- Reinforcements selected incorrectly. The dog should get what she wants here and now. If what you offer cannot satisfy the current motivation or compete with it (for example, fear is stronger than delicacies, or maybe your dog wants to play now rather than eat) or the delicacy is not tasty enough, it will not be reinforcement for the dog.
- Inconsistency. If today you teach a dog to walk on a sagging leash, and tomorrow run after it to where it pulls, the pet will not learn to behave correctly. Decide for yourself: you are working on a problem, organize the environment of the dog so that the problem does not appear, or do not require the dog to behave as you think is right. Do not expect the problem to resolve itself - this is beyond the dog’s understanding.
- Excessive Requirements. Make tasks easier and steps even shorter. It may be worthwhile to increase the distance to the stimulus, choose a more delicious treat or work in more relaxed conditions.
- Class too long. When the dog gets tired, she loses her enthusiasm. Remember: a little good, and you need to complete the lesson at a time when the dog is still enthusiastic, and not on the principle of "well, this is the last time." And if the dog requires a "continuation of the banquet" - all the better, anticipation will make the next lesson more effective.
- Unpredictable host reactions. If you act on the principle of positive reinforcement today, and tomorrow you use harsh training methods, the dog is lost, unable to predict whether it will be actively praised or punished.
- Dog feeling unwell. Watch your pet carefully and do not insist on training if it is not feeling well.
- The need (motivation) of a dog is misinterpreted. If you do not understand what your dog wants “here and now”, you will not be able to properly organize the training process. Watch the dog and learn to understand whether it is calm or tense, scared or annoyed, wants to play or prefers quiet exercises?
How can you strengthen contact with the dog and believe in yourself?
There are simple exercises that help the owner believe in himself and strengthen contact with the dog. So, training will become more effective.
- Games. The price of an error in the game is low, we are not risking anything, which means that the voltage drops and the dog and I just enjoy the process.
- Eye-to-eye exercises (visual contact of the dog and owner).
- Games by the rules.
- Calling Games.
- Trick training.
- Reinforce any dog action you like. This changes the atmosphere of the relationship, if it is tense, and gives a result.
- Encouragement of any manifestations of calm dog behavior. This reduces the overall level of anxiety - both yours and the pet's.
- Intellectual games (including jointly with the owner).
- Search games.
Remember that both people and dogs have their own talents and characteristics, something is easier, and something is harder. If you make a mistake, try not to be angry with yourself or the dog.
Think of training as a game or an adventure and remember that even the superprofess is wrong - it is important to understand where you were wrong, smile, correct the mistake and move on.