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Dog Training Mistakes Small Dog Owners Often Make

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Small dog breeds have been popular companions for hundreds of years—Marie Antoinette was a fashion of small dogs and pugs, which she doted on in her palace. While some smaller breeds of dogs are considered to be work dogs, most small dogs are bred in order to be family pets and home companions. The term “lap dog” comes from the fact that many of these smaller breeds enjoy snuggling into their owner’s lap.

SDog_Training_Mistakes_Small_Dog_Owners_Often_Makemall dog breeds are very popular. However, they are also considered to be at a higher risk for behavioral problems, largely due in part to mistakes made by their owners. Among all of the dog breeds, small dogs are usually those who are the least trained or poorly trained, which can result in injuries, undesirable behavior and “attitude” problems in the dog. The following are the most common dog training mistakes that owners of small dogs often make.

Mistake #1: Letting Their Size Create Indulgence

Would you let a massive German shepherd jump up on a houseguest when they walk through the door? No. Likewise, you should not like your small Chihuahua or other small dog breed jump up on your houseguest, even though they likely won’t reach your houseguests knees on their hind legs.

Unfortunately, far too many small dog owners indulge their small dogs because of their size. Behavior which would be absolutely unacceptable in a medium or large sized dog is suddenly cute or adorable in a small dog. This mistake can result in a number of behavioral problems, including aggression, over-protection, and even safety hazards to the dog or people who interact with the dog.

To avoid this mistake, small dog owners should ensure that they train their small dog just as well as they would larger sized dogs. Basic commands and dog etiquette should be taught regardless of size.

Mistake #2: Long Training Sessions

For dog owners who do train their small dogs, there are still mistakes to avoid. The most common mistake made by small dog owners who do strive to train their small dogs is having training sessions which are too long and arduous. Most dog breeds are not patient enough for very long training sessions. Small dogs are especially prone to quick boredom or inattention due to their generally lower attention span. Dog owners may mistakenly believe they should train their small dog until they get it perfectly—this method, however, may cause the dog to become frustrated, bored and annoyed with the process.

To avoid this mistake, plan micro training sessions instead of longer ones. This will allow the dog enough time to learn and practice new tricks without making them bored or listless.

Mistake #3: Being Aggressive or Domineering

An all too common mistake made by small dog owners is being too aggressive or domineering with the dog. Small dogs are easy to frighten, and a human looming over them or yelling loudly may cause them to become nervous, skittish or even aggressively defensive. If you do need to take control of a situation, get down on the dog’s level and use a dominant stare until the dog looks submissively to the ground—then reward the dog for its behavior. Never shout, hit or physically threaten your dog.

3 Dog Training Mistakes

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Have you ever overhead a fellow pet owner lamenting the fact that their pet just isn’t responding well to dog training? It’s a common complaint. But how much of these all-too-common laments are the fault of the pet—and how much are the fault of the owner? Although training a dog to do basic, necessary commands is a relatively simple process, there are many dog training mistakes that can get in the way of the dog’s learning process. Let’s take a look at the top three dog training mistakes and how they can impact the way that your dog learns—or doesn’t learn—your commands.

Mistake #1: Not training your pet often.

3_dog_training_mistakesMany dog owners find it tempting to teach their dogs a few tricks—such as sit, stay and lay down—and then give up the training process all together. Unfortunately, this common practice is a training mistake that can lead to a dog forgetting or becoming lazy with their commands—even if they used to be a pro at them. Think about it: If you took 4 years of a language in high school but stopped using it for 2 years, would you be likely to remember everything you did at the peak of your senior year? Of course not. To combat this process, you should continue to train your dog even after they have learned tricks. Practice “sit” during dinner, “stay” when you are out on walks, and so on. It will also benefit your dog to learn something new each month, such as a trick or more advanced command. This will help keep your dog’s mind sharp and their ability to learn more focused.

Mistake #2: Repeating commands.

Repeating commands is a mistake that is all too easy mistake, especially with independent and stubborn breeds. This mistake usually manifests itself like this: An owner gives a command. The dog does not respond. The owner gives the command again—and again—and again, until the dog finally, and usually halfheartedly, obeys the command. But the owner praises this late response is inadvertently praising a lazy, late response. The dog will then accept this repeated command, halfhearted response as the acceptable behavior. This is obviously not what a pet owner wants. To avoid this, remember to never praise your dog unless they respond to the command immediately. If you are having trouble getting your pet to respond right away, try treating the initial training like a fun game—involve lots of treats, affection and other positive praise.

Mistake #3:Keeping training sessions too long—or too short.

Dogs, like people, learn differently. Some dogs may take more training sessions to learn than others, while some might pick up a new trick or behavior in just one or two sessions. If you keep a training session going on too long, your dog is likely to become disinterested in the behavior. If you don’t keep it going long enough, your dog may not benefit enough from the training. The trick is to figure out what is best for your dog’s learning process.