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Dog Training Mistakes

January 15, 2020

January is National Train Your Dog Month! Of course, Fido’s education is important all year long. Training is really what makes the difference between your pooch being a ‘Good dog’ and being, well, a bit unruly. Here, a vet lists some common dog training mistakes.


There are many schools of thought when it comes to dog training. You can opt to go with clicker training, or stick to more basic options. Each method has its own pros and cons. However, switching tactics halfway through Fido’s petucation may do more harm than good. Consistency is also important when it comes to teaching vocal commands. Man’s Best Friend is smart, but he won’t understand different ways of saying the same thing. If you say Sit one day and the next day tell your furry pal to Sit down now, you may just confuse your cute pet.

Poor Curriculum

We know, tricks like Shake Paw and Roll Over are super adorable. However, you’ll want to start with the basics, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Work on these key commands one at a time. Don’t move on until your four-legged student has mastered each one. (It’s worth noting that it’s usually easiest to start with Sit, as it’s so easy for dogs to pick up.)

Long Classes

Our canine pals don’t really have very long attention spans, except of course when they’re watching you cook bacon. Fido may lose interest if his classes are too long. Keep puppy training sessions short and sweet. About 15-20 minutes at a time is good.

Negative Reinforcement

Never punish your furry friend for messing up, or not picking something up quickly enough. Dogs all learn at their own paces. It’s also important to understand that Fido doesn’t really have a good grasp on punishment. He may not know why you’re angry, which can make him anxious. It can also cause him to form a negative association with training. That’s the last thing you want!


Training is often more of a journey than a destination. Once your canine buddy has mastered the basics, try working with him in a busy area, like a park. Or, move on to more advanced commands. You may find that Fido really enjoys learning new things!

Our Advice on Dog Training Mistakes in 2024

How can owners identify and address any underlying behavioral issues or anxieties that may be hindering their dog’s progress in training?

Owners can identify underlying behavioral issues or anxieties in their dogs by observing signs such as excessive barking, aggression, withdrawal, or fearfulness. Addressing these issues begins with understanding the root causes, which may require consulting a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. Providing a consistent routine, positive reinforcement, and a calm environment can help alleviate anxiety. Gradually exposing the dog to new experiences in a controlled manner can also build confidence. Patience and ongoing support are key in helping dogs overcome these challenges and improve their training progress.

What are some common signs that a dog is becoming bored, frustrated, or overwhelmed during training?

Common signs that a dog is becoming bored, frustrated, or overwhelmed during training include excessive yawning, whining, or barking. The dog may also display restlessness, such as pacing or frequently changing positions. Other indicators are avoiding eye contact, scratching, licking their lips, or attempting to disengage by moving away. Loss of interest in treats or commands can also signify frustration or overwhelm. Recognizing these signs is crucial; taking breaks, keeping sessions short, and ensuring a positive, engaging training environment can help maintain the dog’s focus and enthusiasm.

How can owners gradually increase the difficulty and complexity of training exercises to ensure their dog continues to learn and develop new skills?

Owners can gradually increase the difficulty and complexity of training exercises by introducing new commands one at a time and ensuring the dog has mastered the basics first. Start by practicing in a distraction-free environment and then slowly add mild distractions. Gradually increase the duration and complexity of commands, such as progressing from a simple “sit” to “sit-stay” for longer periods. Incorporate new environments like parks to challenge the dog further. Consistently use positive reinforcement and maintain a patient, encouraging approach to foster continuous learning and skill development.

What role does socialization play in a dog’s overall training and development?

Socialization plays a crucial role in a dog’s overall training and development by exposing them to various environments, people, and other animals, which helps reduce fear and anxiety. Proper socialization builds confidence, making dogs more adaptable and better behaved in different situations. It enhances their ability to interact positively with others, preventing behavioral issues such as aggression or excessive shyness. Early and consistent socialization, combined with positive reinforcement, is essential for developing a well-rounded, obedient, and emotionally stable dog. Regular exposure to new experiences fosters a balanced and well-adjusted pet.

Are there any specific nutritional or dietary considerations that can impact a dog’s ability to learn and retain training?

Proper nutrition plays a significant role in a dog’s ability to learn and retain training. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients supports brain health and cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oils, can enhance memory and learning. Adequate protein intake is crucial for maintaining energy levels and muscle function, while vitamins and minerals support overall health and focus. Avoiding high-sugar and artificial additives can prevent hyperactivity and attention issues. Consistent, well-rounded nutrition ensures that dogs remain alert, responsive, and capable of effectively engaging in training sessions.

Please call us, your local vet clinic in Springdale, ON, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re always happy to help!