Every positive has its flip side, and dog training is no exception.
While most people view dog training as a good thing, it can have negative consequences when done improperly. In this blog post, we'll delve into some common pitfalls, including a few dog trainers who miss the mark.
One of the first stumbling blocks arises when the person training the dog fails to truly understand what their dog is communicating. Dogs convey a lot through body language, and missing these cues can hinder the effectiveness of training. Additionally, dogs may have different learning styles. I once had a dog who only grasped training when she observed another dog do it first. Knowing your dog is essential to building a strong team, as tricks can't be performed solo, and dogs can't learn without your guidance.
Latent learning (which is basically, that we and our dogs need "to sleep on it" to help us understand the lesson) is an important concept with our canine friends, emphasizing that dogs need time to process lessons before fully comprehending them. So, it's essential not to judge your dog's behavior during the current session. Allow them to rest, then assess their progress during the next session.
Many of us rush through training, wanting quick progress, but this haste can backfire. Slowing down and ensuring a strong foundation often yields better long-term results. For instance, I'm currently raising a puppy, and in seven months, she's had only a few formal training sessions. My primary focus is on establishing strong foundational skills and nurturing her problem-solving abilities, as these will be invaluable in the future.
Numerous trainers offer "how to" videos online, but not all are created equal. Some lack crucial steps or fail to address what to do when things go awry. I've even come across a trainer recommending a "foolproof recall," which can be perilous if applied to the wrong dog. The key is to understand the training's nuances and potential risks. You can inadvertently teach your dog something undesirable if you're not careful.
To maximize your training success, focus on the 'why' behind what you're teaching and the factors affecting your dog's progress. Pay close attention to your dog's signals, which can be challenging at times. Consider recording each session to review and better understand your dog's feedback.
Understanding your dog's motivation ('why') is paramount, enabling you to adapt your training sessions accordingly. Remember, you and your dog are a team!
Lastly, if frustration creeps in during training, it's best to take a break. Frustration seldom leads to positive outcomes. 🐾🐕
Check out our free resource 3 Games Every Dog Should Know - and we explain exactly what to teach your dog, why and what to do when things go wrong!