1. Inconsistency in expectations and follow through
Like people, dogs need to know what is expected of them in order to deliver on your expectations. It takes some patience and repetition to teach your dogs the behaviors you expect. Start with one or two things to work on. For example, if you want your dog to pause at the door so you can wipe his or her muddy paws, make sure you ask them to stop a the door every time so it becomes routine.
2. Not praising at the right time (or at all)
Immediate, positive reinforcement is critical when your dog delivers the behavior you’re looking for. You can communicate with a happy “YES!” or a treat (we recommend a random mix of either or both to keep your pup guessing) so he or she learns what specific behavior earned that praise. TIP: Sometimes the best behavior to reward is a “non behavior”. For example, if your dog is usually wild and you want more quiet time, when your dog does finally lay down on it’s own be sure to calmly praise that behavior to show your approval.
3. Giving up too easily
Change does not happen overnight, but with #1 and #2 in mind it can happen. Many people expect immediate results, and while some dogs do respond quickly to training, other dogs take more patience and repetition. You also could be asking too much of your dog at first. Remember to start small and build on your successes over time. Even training at home 5 minutes a day can make a major difference in your dog’s connection with you, and eagerness to obey! TIP: help motivate your dog by figuring out what excites him or her most…treats? cuddles and pets? a tennis ball? Harness the power of what motivates your dog as you are training to keep it interesting and fun!