By Guest Writer, Tristan Andrews
Dogs are very intelligent creatures and, by and large, very trainable. Thus when you visit the park with your untrained dog and the person next to you is playing Frisbee with their German Shepherd and the Poodle down the way is sitting patiently rather than attacking picnic goers, it is easy to think your dog should know these behaviors from birth. We often times forget the many hours of training that have been put into these wonderful dogs. Your dog can learn these very same antics but it will take time for these lessons to be instilled. Do not expect your dog to learn all of these routines over night. This would merely set you up for downfall number two.
The second problem people encounter is losing their temper. This usually results in an out of breath owner who is yelling at the top of the vocal capacity, a frightened dog and possibly a visit from the local animal welfare department depending on how the individual vents their frustrations. To avoid this downfall, make a conscious effort never to yell at your pet and hitting is always wrong. Raising your voice to your pet will do little to correct their errant behavior and do much harm to your relationship with the animal. It will result in a nervous animal that cowers from you rather than obeys your commands.
The third thing to avoid falls at the other end of the spectrum. These people let the dog become the master. This is equally detrimental to your relationship with the animal as the animal has no control to its behaviors and can quickly become a danger to itself and others. Dogs are pack animals and quickly decide who the leader is and who follows. If you do not take the leadership role from the beginning, you can rest assured that your pet will. A dog without a master will run amok and will quickly get into trouble chasing cars and people, destroying property and making a nuisance of itself. This mistake is tantamount to animal abuse and is very nearly as bad as the previous one.
Fourth in line of things to avoid is the mistake of giving up. Many a dog owner has a pet that has never reached its full potential due to the owner losing interest in their training. Dogs love to learn, especially when the owner rewards well learned behavior traits. Many owners, lacking the time or perhaps the patience, will be quite happy to have a pet that merely answers to its name and stops barking when repeatedly shouted at. Please do not let yourself fall into this trap. Your pet is a highly intelligent animal and is capable of learning so much more. Occasionally, dogs have even been known to develop neuroses due to boredom from not being challenged enough. This results in an unhealthy animal that can be poorly socialized and destructive of furnishings or even its own body. Your dog can and will respond to your training efforts if given the time to do so.
A fifth point that we keep reiterating (and well we should) is people's failure to be consistent. If you tell the dog to sit and your pet doesn't do it, stick with it until they do. Always use the same command words and enforce the same action each and every time. Manually enforce the command if it is necessary to get the desired reaction and reward the animal with some play time or some verbal praise for properly performing the routine. Consistency is the major key to training your pet. Repetitive lessons taught on a regular basis with consistent rewards are necessary to the effective training of your pet.
Knowing these five downfalls ahead of time will save you many frustrations while training your pet and will result in a much healthier and happier relationship with your pet.
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