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Most Common Dog Training Mistakes

At A Glance

Pet owners make some common dog training mistakes like delayed training, inconsistent training, not preparing, encouraging bad behavior, and using commands improperly.

Read on to find out how to avoid these dog training mistakes.

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Last Updated on: Feb 07, 2022

Bringing home a dog and having it join the family makes for many initial exciting and joyful moments.

The excitement level is even higher for those looking forward to teaching their pet tricks and introducing them to treats.

But pet owners should know there’s a proper way to train their dogs and bring out the best in them.

So what can go wrong when training a dog? It turns out that there’s a lot that can go wrong due to improper dog training.

Those mistakes can lead to your dog developing bad habits, or worse, disruptive or unruly behavior that might prove difficult to control as time goes by.

So if you’re currently or a soon-to-be dog owner and you want to teach your pet tricks and appropriate behavior, read on.

Here are the most common dog training mistakes that you must avoid:

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dog with owner

Delays In Training

Pet owners often delay the start of their dog’s training. Some are hesitant to begin training right away because they believe that dogs need some time to adjust to their new master or new home.

This usually happens when people are bringing home a puppy for the first time.

Whether they’re too excited or simply unaware of the importance of starting their pet on obedience training right away, many owners wait too long before initiating training.

The best time to start obedience training is actually on the first day.

Dog training experts will tell you that it’s never too early to start your dog’s house training.

The unwritten rule is—the younger the puppy starts training, the better.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that if you’re bringing an older dog home, you should forget about training. Contrary to popular belief, even mature dogs can still learn new tricks.

But the more you delay, regardless of the dog’s age, the more difficult it will be to get results.

Also Read: How to Make a Training Schedule for Your Dog?

Inconsistency in Training

Dog training is all about consistency. Just as humans can learn to perfect certain skills through practice, pets can also benefit from consistent training.

Dogs are definitely creatures of habit. They can adjust their behavior to align perfectly with a daily routine.

If repeated a certain number of times, they will be able to memorize that daily routine down to a tee—when to eat, when to walk, when to nap, or when to do their business.

Now if you incorporate dog training into that routine, they will undoubtedly reap the benefits of that repetition.

As for you, the dog owner, you get to strengthen your bond with your best friend when
training them on your own.

Eye contact with your dog and petting them can stimulate oxytocin release in both you and your dog. Oxytocin helps dogs recognize their owner’s emotions and pay attention to social cues.

You may not realize it, but daily training grants you the perfect opportunity to learn your pet’s tendencies, what they like and don’t like, and how they interact with you.

Obviously, it goes both ways—daily training allows your dog to study your habits as well.

Yes, sticking to a daily training schedule requires commitment on your part.

But it only takes a few minutes per day for you to be able to train a dog.

dog with a girl

Lack of Preparation

You can prepare for dog training in many ways.

Your level of preparation will directly impact the effectiveness of your dog training session.

We have broken down this section into the two most critical aspects of preparing for dog training—emotional preparation and training tools preparation.

Emotional Preparation

Dogs are sensitive beings.

True, they have super senses that include a sense of smell that’s several better than any human’s, an acute sense of hearing that can pick up sounds barely audible to the human ear, and a sense of sight well suited to the dark.

But what dog owners sometimes take for granted is that dogs are emotional beings too. Dogs can sense human emotions and even empathize with their owners. Dogs can absorb various emotional states exhibited by their human companions.

This can apply to positive emotions like joy, excitement, and warmth. It can apply to negative emotions too, like fear, stress, anger, and anxiety.

Dogs can understand and even share their loved ones’ feelings. They are stressed when their loved ones cry and offer them more contact at the time.

So if you go into obedience training without the proper preparation, your dog will likely pick up on your emotional state, which can lead to frustration, anger, impatience, and stress for you both.

This is likely especially if the training doesn’t go well as planned.

Training Tools Preparation

No, we’re not talking about some sophisticated or expensive equipment that you need to buy or acquire to guarantee better results when training your dog.

You can actually use simple and ordinary things as tools for obedience training.

Here are a few of our friendly suggestions.

For rewards:

  • Small treats, preferably tender, meaty treats
  • Peanut butter (but make sure to get one that is free of xylitol)
  • Liverwurst
  • Small pieces of chicken meat
  • Your regular dog food

For control:

  • Training leashes
  • Collar, harness for movement guidance (advanced training)
  • Long lines (as long as 6 to 10 meters)

For containment:

  • Playpens
  • Pet gates
  • Crates


owner saying no to the dog

Not Tolerating Bad Behavior

Not all of us are as good as Cesar Millan when it comes to reading our dog’s behavior.

However, we can detect bad habits if we try. It’s a matter of observing your pet and learning their behavioral cues.

You need to play a more active role in not only detecting bad behavior but also letting your pet know that those bad habits are not going to be encouraged and tolerated.

Consistently reward good behavior while discouraging bad behavior.

But where do you even begin if you don’t have the faintest idea of how to identify bad behavior in dogs?

You start by reading this guide from the American Kennel Club (AKC) on curbing unwanted dog behavior.

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Improper Use of Commands

Sure, consistent repetition is one of the keys to effective dog training. Dogs, after all, get better at training through learning associations that are demonstrated repeatedly.

But at times, repetition can backfire, especially when applied improperly when teaching dogs to obey your commands.

Commands can only work if your dog understands the intent behind the words you use.

Constantly repeating the “Come here” command won’t work if your dog does not understand or respond to your instruction.

Puppies, in particular, can be prone to confusion and distraction, especially if they’re still getting used to voice commands.

You can follow a simple rule—do not use the same word or phrase if it gets no response from your dog. Instead, try to use some slight variations on your original command.

What should you not do when training a puppy?

Never ever take out your frustrations on your puppy. And hitting or beating them is never the answer.

Take a breather. Sometimes, that’s all you need, and your puppy can use one, too.

Don’t give up if it still doesn’t work. Remember that the pace of learning can vary depending on the dog’s breed or temperament.

For instance, Siberian huskies are known to be one of the most stubborn dog breeds because of their combination of fierce independence and intelligence.

And then there are certain dog breeds like the Chow Chow or the Chihuahua that exhibit dominant personalities that often make them a bit resistant to obedience training.

dog with the owner in a garden

You only want the best for your dog, so if you want your relationship with them to be more special than it already is, you’d want to avoid making these common dog training mistakes.

Do not delay the start of your dog’s training. The earlier you start, the better for your dog. The key to getting good results is consistency and regular training frequency. Remember that dogs learn through repetition and association.

Of course, you always need to prepare yourself before any dog training session. Make sure you have the tools you need and the right mindset to get the most out of your training session.


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When to Start Training Your Dog?


Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.