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The most common mistakes of dog owners

In this blog we look at the most common mistakes made by ordinary dog owners :)

Constant automatic rewards as part of socialization

This is based on the theory that if you reward the dog in a given environment or with stimulus, the dog will like it because of the association with the reward. The theory is correct, but in practice, the dog is blind to the environment (focusing on the rewards, not where it is) or the fear cues (perfectly normal) are immediately overridden by the reward and as a result the dog does not learn to cope with the environment, i.e. socialise.

Let the dog acclimatise, if there is a bit of fear, let him recognise the emotion and only intervene when least necessary! Remember! The best socialized dogs are homeless dogs etc., help them as least necessary - the dog and the environment!

Nonsense timing for the command

The dog runs away from you and you yell "to come", he keeps running away from you and you keep yelling "to come to me", connecting the word "to come to me" = run away from you. The dog thinks the command "come to me" means run from you. Same with "slow" and pulling on the leash or "quiet" when the dog barks.

Remember: the dog doesn't speak English, if you don't explain the commands beforehand, it's pointless to say them. If the dog does not understand the commands, it is pointless to ask for them. Your commands may then have the opposite meaning.

Bad work with long leash

More than one dog walker uses a long leash for training the recall, and rightly so. However, its use is wrong. The long leash is only a tool to reinforce obedience. After that, however, the leash should not be taken off until the obedience is sufficiently fixed. If you take the leash off earlier, you have just taught the dog that there is a difference between having and not having a leash. No the dog is not peed on, you just made a training mistake.

Don't get rid of all training tools until you have reached the desired level of obedience. How will you know? Simple, even if the dog has the tools, you don't have to use them anymore.

Too many commands

You call to the dog...nothing, you call again and again nothing, and then you get fed up so you use a long leash for example and pull the dog. You have definitely not linked the desired behaviour to the command, but to the long leash. The dog is then not obedient on command, but when you use the leash. Closer forehand to the leg is typical, as is the position. How great does he obey when you back off or point? :)

So command > 1.6s > leash. Do not repeat the command.

This environment is more interesting

Evergreen. He can do it, it's just that this environment is too hard for him. I always ask: "What would happen if a cat came through?" The answer is always the same: "he'd run after it." And he's suddenly okay with the environment?

The problem isn't the environment (unless the dog is afraid), it's that working with the handler is less interesting than the environment. The dog would rather read the doggy text than pay attention to the handler. If cooperation with the handler is boring, then it is harder to train.

Work on motivating the dog to cooperate with you. Every dog is motivatable in a moderately difficult environment, everyone :)

Socialization with puppies only

Socialization with puppies is very important, play is a huge supporting element of socialization. But real dog behavior is hard to teach a second puppy who is self taught. As a result, you have a dog that thinks every dog is a playmate and a buddy.

In the workingdog world, we use doggie sitters to do this. That is, experienced older females who teach the dog proper behavior. Playful, tolerant, but they can also step in nicely and set boundaries.

Rewarding unwanted behaviour

The theory is: If I reward desirable behavior = the behavior will occur, if I don't reward undesirable behavior = it won't occur. Often classical conditioning gets confused with this theory in practice.

The dog runs from you to the dogs, you call the dog and reward it. You repeat this sequence and teach the dog: every time I run after the dogs, the owner will call me and I will be rewarded. What am I going to do? Run after the dogs! Unfortunately very common when a dog is aggressive = in the overall context handlers very often reward aggression without suspecting it.

Yeah theory is one thing, practice is another.

If you use an element to obedience as a counter behavior to eliminate unwanted behavior = don't reward. Obedience is an element to control and to teach.

I'm uninteresting to the dog.

I'm not interested in my dog at all. Well the dog has everything satisfied, has enough or even an excess of everything (food, attention, comfort, toys, just everything) and then we want obedience (work). But why would someone who is like a millionaire dog work?

To get something extra, something extra! You can make it work, but it has two buts:

1) good luck coming up with bribes for the millionaire dog

2) the millionaire dog works not when you want to, but when he wants to make a little extra money.

So don't spoil them too much, the motivation starts there when you are missing something. You don't have money, you want it. You are hungry, you want to eat. You feel alone, you're looking for a partner. Complete satisfaction doesn't mean happiness, it means degeneration. Animals kept in captivity in a zoo with plenty of food and security could tell you... You won't get gratitude, that's an esoteric notion. Translated with (free version)

Dog Without Borders

The dog scratches, the owner opens the door. He barks, the owner squeezes the food. He stops on the leash to sniff something, owner stops with him. He makes sad eyes, gets food from the table. Every single day, dozens of little interactions where the dog learns that he is the one in control of the running of the household. One day a visitor comes and the owner wants to confine the dog to the couch, go downstairs and make room. The dog will bite her! He doesn't understand, all his life he's had everything his own way!

Every dog needs defined boundaries to live an understandable life, every dog! They're not babies.

Lack of sleep

A dog sleeps an average of 14-16 hours a day. And no dog gets a good night's sleep during the running of the household, when he wakes up every time he moves. So people working from home should be wary; lack of sleep can lead to problem behaviours - paradoxically, hyperactivity, for example.

Set a daily routine for when your dog sleeps and stick to it.

The dog is hardly ever alone

You get a dog and suddenly you're living with it, it's with you everywhere and you take it everywhere with you, it's a member of the family. Then a holiday or some life event and the dog has to be left alone and lo and behold, he can't do it. He's never been taught. Independence is a skill.

Teach your dog independence from day one, set a routine when he is alone and preferably combine it with the sleep the dog needs.


You go out like this and train your recall and the dog is great at following you, if not - you help yourself with a long leash. You meet another dog walker and you try the recall, yikes the dog doesn't go. But I'm not going to fool around with a long leash and play semetrics, so I'll let you play today. Well, you just taught the dog that when he meets another dog, he doesn't have to obey because you are not consistent in the execution of the command either.

Once the dog understands the command, be consistent, don't teach the dog any BUT!

Rewarding mistakes

I have already hinted at this above for undesirable behaviors. It is very similar.

The dog makes a mistake in training, the handler corrects it and rewards the desirable behavior. He repeats this. Warning. Classic conditioning. The dog will start to make a mistake on purpose to demand your correction and summon the reward.

You can't keep endlessly helping the dog and hoping it will stop making mistakes. He has to have a reason to stop making them.

He's doing it for my blue eyes.

It is very experienced to praise the dog and that the dog is doing it for you to repay you. Well, that's an interesting tale. In that case don't use treats, food, toys and just praise.

The vast majority of dogs are motivated by what you have in your hand. The reason they respond to warm praise is classic conditioning: every time you gave a reward = you were praising at the same time.

With working dogs, we use this in reverse: the handler yells menacingly at the dog and rewards the dog. The dog loves to be yelled at by the handler :)

Don't be fooled by the esoteric idea of dogs being grateful and wanting to please you and doing it for you. There is nothing wrong with praise if it accompanies a reward or reassures the dog , but it is not a supporting motivator for training.

If you liked this blog, please like or leave a comment if you like it :)

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