5 Common Puppy Training Mistakes

August 7, 2016
by Top Dog

Puppy training is no easy feat. It takes time, discipline, love and patience. To make it a little bit easier, here are 5 common puppy training mistakes and how to overcome them:

1. Expecting too much too soon.

Puppies might not wear diapers or need to be rocked to sleep, but they’re babies nevertheless. You need to have appropriate expectations for their age.

When housebreaking a puppy, the rule of thumb is that a dog can wait about one hour for every month of their age (plus one additional hour. So a 3-month-old can wait 4 hours, 4-month-old can wait 5 hours, etc. But too often, people expect the dog to be able to hold it all day when it’s just not physically possible. Keep your expectations reasonable.

2. Correcting a puppy for something after the fact.

Dogs have a relatively short memory when it comes to this stuff. They don’t think back to things the same way people do. So when you come home to find your shoes chewed and yell at the puppy, he thinks he’s in trouble for whatever he was doing at that moment. Unless you catch them in the act, punishment is ineffective.

3. Resisting crate training.

When we humans look at a crate, we see a cage and think it’s cruel. When a dog sees a crate, he sees it as a den. In nature, wolves and other canines burrow and sleep in small, dark spaces. A crate can re-create that feeling for a house dog. As long as the crate is not used for punishment or excessive confinement, your dog will enjoy his crate. Added bonus: it’s a phenomenal tool for speeding up the housebreaking process.

4. Not enough exercise.

Dogs get bored, and when they get bored, they create their own outlets for their energy. This can be rifling through garbage, digging holes in your yard or whittling down your shoe collection. Make sure your dog is getting enough walks and playtime. If your puppy gets tired on walks quickly, then you may need to do a few short walks a day rather than one long one until he builds up his stamina.

5. Excusing or encouraging bad behaviors.

Sure, it’s cute when a puppy acts tough and it’s easy to shrug off play biting when it doesn’t really hurt.  But when the dog hits 100 pounds it won’t be so cute – or so easy to stop.  If you don’t want the behavior later, don’t allow it now.

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