Puppy Training Mistakes
Even one of several common puppy training mistakes can be the cause of puppy training problems. Some of them will greatly reduce your puppy’s, or dog’s, ability to learn, affect his behavior in the future, and can drag the accidents out forever.
Remember, the experiences that a puppy has during the critical imprinting stages of his life,(which also takes place during the potty training phase) put an indelible mark on who he is and what kind of pet he will become.
Here are just a few…
Common Puppy Training Mistakes
- Free feeding
- Using the wrong cleaner for accidents(There is a specific ingredient in many cleaners that accentuates the smell of urine so when you clean you’re just compounding the problem)
- Introducing and/or using the crate inappropriately
- Yelling at or hitting your puppy, for anything, but especially for pottying. (This is a most destructive mistake)
- Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it,(makes it worse and guaranteed to add other behavioral problems)
- Using any punitive form of correction on your puppy or dog adds new behavior problems to the mix…even ones that you can’t imagine being connected to it.
- Leaving your puppy in the crate too long for his age and size
- Cleaning up your puppy’s mess in front of him
- Not recognizing the signs when your puppy needs to go out
- Not understanding how to be a gentle but effective leader for your puppy
- Accidentally “rewarding” unwanted behavior and teaching just the opposite of what you want.
These are just a few puppy training mistakes that you can safely and easily avoid, given the right information. If your puppy is having trouble with potty training or in any area that involves not listening to you, then one or more of these mistakes may be the culprit.
Does it work as they say?
So you get a crate and start “crate training,” but things aren’t going as planned. You thought this method was the way to go…(and it is the best method of puppy training!) BUT if you’re using methods that are incorrect or outdated, this stage can be very long and drawn out and frustrating.
Yes! Crate training does work, and it’s the best method, but there are a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
You CAN’T just get a crate and put your puppy in there. You want to make sure that you “form good habits” and “prevent bad habits” regarding your puppy’s behavior without stressing him out or traumatizing him. During your puppy or dog’s learning stages, using the crate appropriately ensures that your furniture, carpet, etc. will survive while your puppy is learning his acceptable behaviors. (A crate or an acceptably confined area can be used in the beginning stages of puppy potty training.)
Using confinement in the right manner makes your puppy’s potty training progress much faster with very few messes to clean up.
Basic Principles for correct training:
- Make sure you don’t use the crate to confine your puppy too much. But, if you’re home trying to make a way that you can watch your puppy so that he’s 100% supervised at this time. You can also use a leash for this, as you do things around the house or sit and read, have your puppy on the leash so you can see what he’s up to.
- Be sure to introduce the crate to your puppy gradually and gently. If not properly introduced, your puppy may likely be nervous about it since it’s a new thing to him.
- As with any good thing, if approached incorrectly or roughly, even a good thing like crate training can become a bad thing. So be aware of your puppy’s personality, his sensitivities, and make all associations with his crate training positive.
- Never yell at or scold your puppy, especially while inside the crate. This can be the start of many behavioral problems such as fear-based aggression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, submissive urination… and the list goes on.
It’s not a good idea to put food or water in the crate. For water purposes, just a few ice cubes can be good, as they can melt slowly and your dog will have small amounts of water to refresh himself. Remember what goes in must come out, and puppies only have a limited capacity to hold it.
Crate training must be approached with patience and consistency to be completely successful.
Anyone can get a crate and call it to crate training, BUT it’s the methods you use that will make the difference. I’ve always used the same consistent and gentle method, and it’s ALWAYS worked.
Crate Training Dogs
The Gentle Effective Approach
Appropriately crate training dogs at any stage is by far one of the most effective tools you can use to form good dog behavior. The most subtle mistakes are sometimes the worst because they’re repeated over and over, going undetected and can make the whole experience of potty training dogs negative and frustrating. Using the correct method of crate training you can avoid those subtle mistakes and have training move along quite smoothly.
Even though crate training dogs is by far the best way to potty train, it can also backfire, if not done correctly. Using my methods of crate training will make this stage both a positive and rewarding experience for you and your puppy(or dog).
Right from the start you must keep an open mind and work to understand how your puppy or dog is viewing things, and what forms his puppy behavior. By understanding the canine mindset better, you can make the process a lot easier and faster, which in turn makes it a lot more fun and rewarding for both you and your beloved companion.
To be successful in crate training dogs or puppies, a basic understanding of natural puppy behavior is needed:
- Dogs do not view things the way we do, and in fact, many times situations are just the opposite of what it looks like from our perspective.
- Dogs do not make connections between cause and effect when any amount of time has passed. They live “in the moment.”
- Dogs do not understand the spoken language unless it’s paired consistently with something meaningful to them.
- Dogs are frightened and confused by anger and/or frustration.
- Anger and/or frustration by humans also slows down the dog’s learning process since effective learning cannot take place under these conditions
Some of what dogs and puppies do understand are: instinct and self preservation-(neither of which they have conscious control over), an immediate consequence to action, positive rewards, the tone of voice, some body language, and they pick up on our emotions.
Dogs and puppies respond more quickly and more reliably to positive incentives than to fear or punishment. In many cases, punishment tactics cause behavioral problems and can bring about the opposite behavior than what we are trying to achieve. And in puppies, fear and punishment can and will damage their personalities for life.
Crate training dogs or puppies using the appropriate methods allows you to shape puppy behavior positively without having to use punishment at all.
Does your puppy want to be crate trained?
Yes! he does. Your puppy or dog will soon see his crate as a place of security IF it’s approached correctly.
The crate is NEVER to be used as a punishment. Introduce it gradually and gently; make the crate and his puppy potty training a positive and happy experience and your puppy will come to view his crate like Linus views his blanket.
Make sure your puppy has a balance of crate time and activity time. He needs ample exercise to be healthy. This is an important part to crate training dogs and puppy potty training. Being in the crate too much will have a negative effect on his personality and puppy behavior. And being turned loose all the time will get him into trouble and also may serve to make him feel insecure and overwhelmed.
A Few Crate Training Dogs Tips:
- If you can’t supervise, your pup needs to be in the crate.
- The crate should be an appropriate size for the weight and size of your puppy.
- For every month of the age of your puppy, that is how to get an idea of how long he can be crated at one time, (months to hours +1)
Successfully crate training dogs, and puppy potty training can be done very simply through my natural and gentle methods.
Dog Potty Training
Even if Your Dog Doesn’t Have a Clue!
Dog potty training is very similar to puppy potty training. The same principles used in crate training apply to both dogs and puppies, just a few variations.
The obstacles in dog potty training your adult dog are that your dog may already have some unwanted habits that you need to address. In this case, proper crate training is crucial.
You need to get your grown dog used to the crate in a similar way as you would a puppy. But what works to your advantage is that, although you still need to introduce it carefully, an adult dog isn’t going through the critical imprinting stages that a puppy is.
In some cases you need to use creative ways of confinement to your advantage; but just as in puppy potty training, when your dog is in the crate, he doesn’t have as much of a chance to “get in trouble” and form bad habits.
It’s not that he acts badly on purpose, he just doesn’t know any better. AND many, many times behaviors that we don’t want are a direct result of a dog being “stressed.”
The dog doesn’t perceive that your sofa might not be a great big chew toy. This is something that is easily taught, however, if you’re willing to use crate training in an appropriate manner.
A full grown dog may have more than just dog potty training issues. He may have other dog behavior issues, like chewing on shoes, getting on furniture, counter surfing when you’re not watching; and so on.
Proper crate training methods in these situations is a foundational tool and will make your dog potty training job much easier!
But remember, the crate must never be used to confine your dog too much as this can be detrimental to his behavior and health. There has to be an appropriate balance of time in and out of the crate; and most of all, every dog needs a sufficient amount of exercise for his energy level.
Again, in dog potty training since your dog may have already formed a habit of eliminating in the house, or on paper, you will need to reshape his entire way of thinking.
In his mind, if it was “ok” for him to have done this in the past, he will probably perceive it as acceptable now. He just does not have the ability to know any different.
In some instances, you’ll find a dog that’s learned to potty in the crate. And even though it’s against their nature, it’s a behavior that was “taught” to him, in that the dog’s crate training was previously approached incorrectly. In this instance, you will need some creative solutions for confinement.
If your new full grown dog has not been potty trained but been left outside only, then that will work to your advantage. Do the same thing as you would to crate train a puppy. Except you’ll have more time between potty breaks.
If he’s already accustomed to eliminating outdoors, and not accustomed to eliminating indoors, this part of the dog’s behavior is a good thing; your work is half done.
But just as in puppy potty training, there are many subtle mistakes that can be made that will sabotage the whole process. We can’t blame the dog for these, but need to find them and fix them.
What Methods Work Best?
Dog training today is much different than it used to be before extensive scientific studies came to show how it is easier to gently and humanely shape animal behavior without the use of force. Dog training encompasses the basic way in which you interact with your dog or puppy, along with using positive and humane methods to produce the behaviors you desire.
So why do people and dogs have so many problems coexisting?… Why do dogs end up with so many behavior problems and disorders? The fact is that many methods that are commonly used today are usually followed because there were no other options given and/or because we are creatures of habit and just follow what we’ve seen done in the past. But our precious canine companions are worth finding out how to gently and effectively housetrain them. Your puppy can grow into a dog that can be the greatest friend you’ll ever have, or you can start (what you will perceive is, but is not) a battle of wills and have an uphill struggle the whole time.
Most canine behavior problems are a direct result of unintentional mishandling and miscommunication. Notice that I said it’s usually unintentional. No one trains their dog to do the opposite of what they want on purpose.
Dog owners with dogs who have behavior problems that they can’t get solved either 1.have to live with it and go to a lot of trouble to do so or 2.the dog just ends up outside with behavioral problems…neither of which was the desired outcome. You both get ripped off.
Because the dog many times cannot grasp the method of ‘dog training’ that is used, the dog gets banished to be isolated and alone, (which is also a form of cruelty because dogs are pack animals that need a social outlet and the isolation can be torment).
Even incorrect dog training is training the dog to do something…it’s just “the wrong thing” that the dog is “unintentionally taught.”
For example, there are several instances in which I’ve spoken with pet owners who were unknowingly “teaching” their dog to potty in the house. They weren’t aware of this because their goal was just the opposite. But none-the-less this happens because of a basic misunderstanding of how to shape dog behavior.
Another example is jumping. In most cases, everything people naturally do to try to stop a dog from jumping makes the behavior worse and at the very least doesn’t work. The dog interprets these human attempts to STOP the jumping as INVITING him to jump.
The end result though, is usually that the dog gets isolated outside because after a while people just can’t take whatever behavior problem they’re dealing with anymore.
Wouldn’t it be easier if there were a better way of dog training? A way where your pet would be the perfect, well-behaved pet? No pottying in the house, no chewing up stuff, no separation anxiety-related behaviors, no submissive urinating, no territorial marking…and the list goes on. The point is, wouldn’t it be great if there was a better way of dog training?
Well, there is a better way to live with your pet. There is a way to raise your puppy so that these things do not happen. There is also a way to work with existing problems so that they’re at least under control.
Dog training doesn’t have to be a formal session; it is also a way of life and interaction between owner and dog. It can be a very natural process!
The Biggest Problems
One of the biggest dog training problems is that many pet owners have been given false information in the past and this makes it harder to trust and really follow through with the newest procedures. It becomes very tempting to do PARTS of what will work but not the WHOLE, and so the entire process becomes sabotaged. It’s like building a house without an appropriate foundation because that foundation is unfamiliar and just seems like so much work. The foundation must be built out of the correct material, or the house sinks.
It’s the same way with a dog and his training. The foundation needs to be laid with solid, consistent principles based on the animals’ behavior and how we need to interact with them to produce the behavior we want; NOT based on unsubstantiated or outdated methods; not based on trying to ‘force’ the dog to understand what we want. Comprehension cannot be forced.
Dogs just don’t have the capacity to view things from a human standpoint. If we expect them to it not only does harm to the dogs but we can actually CREATE behavioral problems with this mindset(and sometimes even create complex disorders).
Pet owners often end up disappointed in their relationship with their dog, they sometimes suffer damaged property, and many times end up blaming their dogs and taking the dog’s misbehaviors personally. This leads to frustration and/or anger. And as for the dog, he is left to feel afraid and confused about that anger. Clearly not the initial goal anyone had in mind.
(Many times people interpret an act of the dog attempting to be closer to the human, to find security, or the dog’s attempt to alleviate stress or pain as acts of spite…and nothing could further from the truth. Chewing the owner’s shoe is one such example!)I promise you that in no uncertain terms does a dog do this out of spite; (which is nine times out of 10 what people tell me they’re sure it is).
The Best Life With Your Dog
There is a better way and easier way to live with our pets and to approach dog training. There does NOT have to be scolding and yelling and constant cleaning up of messes, blaming the dog, thinking he’s stupid…This does not have to be the case.
Dog training does NOT mean “forcing or scolding,” those are just methods used by those who don’t know what else to do. These punitive methods do much more harm than good, and many times are the CAUSE of additional problem behaviors that the owner usually never links back to the methods.
No one wants to live in a combative, unpeaceful state with their dog if they don’t have to.
It’s not the dog
It’s the dog training method
I can promise you in no uncertain terms that no dog ever enacted a misbehavior on purpose or to be spiteful. Believing this is attributing human characteristics to a canine species…it is just not possible. If someone has told you this, ask these questions…were they certified in canine behavior? Is canine behavior currently their occupation? And are they using methods based on CURRENT scientific findings of canine behavior? Do they understand what ’shaping’ behavior is (as opposed to forcing the dog to perform)?
I don’t care if you hear things from a breeder, or someone who is around dogs all day long, if they can’t answer yes to these questions, then you should discard their advice. You and your pet deserve to know the truth.
If dog training methods and interactions between human and dog are not correct, then you’re going to have problems, and depending on the breed and personality of the dog you’re attempting to lead and train, some of those problems will be much worse than others.
Many dogs skate by on uninformed dog training methods and become the exception to the rule. And it’s because of those exceptions that many, many others find themselves dealing with behavioral problems and in some cases serious disorders because the dogs with different personalities couldn’t handle those same uninformed training methods.
It’s not the dog…it’s the methods imposed on them that bring about behavior problems.
I can tell you just how to interact with and lead your dog effectively and gently, AND I can tell you what kind of an environment you need to provide for him to thrive…none of which are all that difficult. All you have to do is act on it; it’s that easy.
Beware of the trap of blaming your dog. If you blame your dog, you will get NOWHERE; if you blame yourself and give up, you will get nowhere. However, if you don’t own the problem and take the responsibility and solutions into your hands, you won’t be able to solve it either.
The first step in dealing with ANY problem is first OWNING responsibility for it… Responsibility, not fault. Blame and fault would imply doing something on purpose, and obviously, no one mishandles or interacts inappropriately ‘on purpose.’ But I’m saying that as pet owners it’s our responsibility to learn how to interact with our pets responsibly and while we don’t need to ‘blame ourselves‘, we CANNOT “blame” our pets either.
There is a Better Way to live and interact with our dogs; we can transform troubled relationships into loving, cooperative and peaceful relationships.
When this happens, there will less and less dog in shelters or banned to the backyard. There will be less and less dogs abused and abandoned, lives will be saved, and much suffering will be ended because when interacted with appropriately these dogs will never develop the problem behaviors that landed them in these places, to begin with.
The dangers of taking bad advice
Dog training mistakes are usually so subtle that pet owners don’t even realize they’re making them. If you’re like most pet owners or are experiencing either problem with potty training or other canine behavior problems then following bad advice and/or making subtle mistakes are probably the culprit. But dog training mistakes don’t have to ruin your puppy raising experience! This can be a super time for both you and your puppy, but undetected and many times critical mistakes can rob you of the joy and bonding you would otherwise have with your puppy during this time.
Dog training mistakes can and will have a negative impact on your dog’s permanent personality. The ironic thing is, is that most mistakes are harder to follow through with than following the correct principles, AND they add more problems instead of helping. So not only do mistakes make you work harder and get unpleasant results, but your puppy suffers for it in the end, and so does the cooperative relationship you wish to build.
When a puppy displays early signs of behavioral problems, they frequently escalate by the time the puppy reaches adulthood. Anyone or more dog training mistakes could be the culprit. Some of the most damaging dog training mistakes are those that are usually overlooked…And some of the WORST mistakes I’ve seen are ones that an innocent pet owner has been advised to do by a NONcredible source.
Here are just a few dog training mistakes that cause or contribute to canine behavioral problems:
- Using the word “no” with your puppy’s name after it
- Using force to try to teach a command
- Hitting, swatting or spanking to “correct.”
- Introducing the crate too quickly or inappropriately
- Using the wrong cleaner for messes – always use an enzyme-based cleaner.
- Rubbing your puppy’s nose in his mess(not only is this gross and unkind but makes the behavior worse and guaranteed to add other behavioral problems that may not appear to be connected but are caused by this mistake)
- Leaving your puppy in the crate too long for his age and size
- Giving your puppy or dog the run of the house too early
- Not properly socializing,(especially during the imprinting stages)
- Accidentally encouraging or causing barking and whining
- Reinforcing and/or causing jumping when trying to correct it
- Inconsistency-intermittent reinforcement of an unwanted behavior makes it more tenacious.
- Using corrections in an attempt to teach. (There is an easier more peaceful way to “teach” appropriate behavior.)
- Consoling, trying to soothe, or smooth the hackles down, and comfort your puppy or dog in a tense situation. (This has the opposite effect on a dog and promotes fear and/or aggression)
- Using the wrong equipment for the jobs(for example, using a choke or prong collar on a puppy)
- Unknowingly letting the dog be your leader; most people whose dogs are the leader don’t even realize this is what’s happening. (This is one of the most common causes of stress-related behavior problems in dogs.)
- Free Feeding, and not having a proper feeding schedule.
- Unknowingly teaching your dog to pull you on the leash.
These are just some of many dog training mistakes that will interfere with the peaceful lifestyle you wish to create for yourself and your dog. If you’ve been advised by anyone to do ANY of these things, they either have not had the proper training or are using outdated and misguided methods or both. These have all been found to cause a lot of behavior problems in dogs and should be avoided at all costs!
The gentle and effective methods that I’ve used and taught over and over are proven, practical, gentle and best of all…they work!
Building A Positive Relationship
My methods of puppy potty training, applied in crate training dogs, will build a positive relationship of cooperation between you and your dog during his puppy potty training stage. It’s possible to get your puppy potty trained without having to use punishment and without having to clean up messes all the time.
My typical experience with a new puppy is anywhere between one and four accidents-total. And the results are always a very reliably potty trained, healthy and happy canine companion.
Again Remember that:
Yelling, scolding, hitting, swatting, especially rubbing his nose in it(which is the worst), or getting upset at your puppy or dog only causes him to become fearful of you, and to be confused (usually both). And this makes potty training much more difficult for both of you.
These methods are the biggest contributors to problem dog behavior, (not just in their puppy stages, but lasting an entire lifetime).
Real training causes your dog to “learn,” and a puppy or dog can’t “learn” if they’re afraid and/or confused.
Good News About Appropriate Crate Training
The greatest thing about my positive, gentle method of crate training dogs while puppy potty training is that you will be building the loving relationship you’ve always wanted with your dog based on positive and rewarding experiences together as opposed to him doing things out of fear, pain or punishment.
Instead of performing because he is “forced” to your puppy or dog will come to please you naturally. This makes the dog’s behavior much more reliable and consistent and gives him a more confident and cooperative personality.