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Dog obedience training: The One Mistake Most Owners Make

As you might already know, dog obedience training can be difficult at times. It’s hard to deal with an animal that doesn’t speak your language, can’t understand all of your directions and commands, and that seemingly has little respect for you and your home.

Many owners resort to harsh methods of teaching or feel themselves tempted to give up entirely with training their dog. However, many owners are making a mistake that is very common when it comes to the dog training process.

Realizing what that mistake is and avoiding it can give you much better results.

That mistake is failing to understand how your dog thinks and why he behaves the way he does.

When it comes to dog obedience training, it’s important to understand why your dog is doing what he’s doing, and what motivates your dog in order to change his behavior.

Many dog parents assume that their dogs are like children, whom have a basic grasp on their language, and understand direction and commands.

In reality, dogs can only associate a few words and phrases with what you actually want – this means that instead of telling a dog, “Go get my slippers and bring them back,” your journey with dog obedience training will be much more successful if you simply use the word “slippers.”

This is a simple word that they will recognize and associate with the act of getting slippers, (once you’ve taught them the behavior).

Dogs don’t understand phrases such as “go get that” and ” go lay down.” But if you understand how dogs simply relate better to small and simple words and phrases, your journey in dog obedience training will be much more successful.

In addition, dogs actually respond much better to positive reinforcement for good behavior than punishment for misbehavior.

It’s true that during your journey in dog obedience training, your dog may need some form of punishment, whether it’s for jumping on the counter or chasing your cat, the entire process is likely to be much more successful if they are rewarded for doing the right thing, as opposed to just trying to flat out stop the behavior.

For example, if your dog is eating things off the floor, instead of punishing him by putting him away, it would be way more beneficial if you teach a “leave it” command.

This lets your dog know to leave what ever he is interested in alone. This works well with a variety of different scenarios.

To begin teaching this command, you can start by:

  1. Have a piece of food in your hand in front of your dog.
  2. When he goes for the the food, say leave it and close your hand.
  3. When he stops targeting your hand you can give him the food as a reward.

This aspect of dog obedience training is much more successful because at that point your dog will then have an understanding of what’s being asked and are rewarded for the correct behavior, rather than simply trying to avoid being punished & not knowing the correct response in order to avoid the punishment.

Yes, dog obedience training can be difficult. It’s a lot like raising children in some ways – it requires some patience and doesn’t always happen as quickly as we’d like. But, if you really take the time to try to understand how your dog thinks and what “motivates them,” then the process of dog training will be much simpler and much more successful.

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