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Training Pitfalls

Over our long career as professional Canine Behavior Coaches, we have frequently recommended that pet parents train their dogs in a wide variety of areas and skills. We feel that almost any kind of positive training can be enriching and increases that bond. Even simple tricks can be fun to teach. However, there are some behaviors you should carefully consider first prior to training. For example, it may be really adorable to teach your 4-month-old puppy to give you her paw upon request. When that 4-month-old puppy is a year old and weighs 70 lbs it may not be as adorable, especially when your big or small dog has a wet, dirty paw.

Another common training pitfall is teaching a dog to “speak” or bark upon request. This may elicit more demand barking which can be an unwanted behavior from any dog. Another example is sometimes using treats to teach a dog to go eliminate outside. This can possibly teach that dog to make a show of elimination just to get a treat but not fully go, resulting in accidents in the home or having to go out again.

These are just a few examples of some training pitfalls we sometimes see. The best way to avoid them is to think about what you want the end result to look like and see how that fits into your lifestyle and your dog’s personality. While there is nothing inherently wrong with teaching these behaviors, you should consider the outcome you may get in the end. Be careful what you train to, you just might get what you asked for.

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