Most dog owners dream of having a well-behaved dog that responds to cues, socializes nicely, and can be trusted in all sorts of situations. The problem is that many owners are still using outdated training methods or missing vital steps for successful training. Let’s look at dog training methods to avoid and what to do instead.

Aggressive Punishment

A well-trained dog knows that her owner is in charge. To achieve dominance, some owners might yell at their dog when she barks at strangers or threaten physical punishment when she chews up their shoes.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t establish trust; it creates fear. Rather than teaching your dog that some behaviors are good and desirable, you’re only teaching her that some behaviors are bad. Aggressive punishment leads to anxious dogs, and anxious dogs can’t properly focus on you or your cues.

Tiresome Training Sessions

When you first begin to train your dog, it’s natural to feel a ton of enthusiasm. Maybe you’re setting aside a few hours each day for training so that she can learn everything quickly. The problem is that after about 20 minutes, your dog may lose sight of the connection between a positive cue response and her reward. After all, she has gotten a ton of treats and praise in a row, so maybe you just love to give her treats and praise!

Rather than dragging out training sessions, break them up into 15- or 20-minute intervals. Give your dog breaks to let out pent up energy, rest, cuddle, and sense that treats are more abundant when she’s listening to your commands.

Cue Nagging

You’re teaching your dog a new command and she’s starting to get it, but it’s still a work in progress. You tell her to sit, and she lays down. You tell her again and she hops up and wags her tail. You tell her a third time and she finally does it, so you give her a treat.

This is called cue nagging and it can be counterintuitive to the goal that your dog responds to cues the first time. Cue nagging teaches your dog that as long as she performs the positive behavior eventually, she’s done the right thing. The cue sit becomes sit-sit-sit. When your dog doesn’t respond to a cue the first time, wait a few moments, get her attention, then use the cue again.

Negative Cue Association

In the early stages of training, your dog is still feeling out the relationship between cues, behaviors, and outcomes. If she has just learned what to do when you say come but suddenly the outcome is something she doesn’t like, like a trip to the vet or a bath, she’s building a negative cue association and may not respond the next time she hears that cue.

At All Dogs Unleashed, we use updated methods and positive reinforcement to build trust, obedience, and consistency. Together, we can skip all those dog training methods to avoid and go straight for success.