Every dog owner dreams of having a well-behaved and obedient furry friend.
It’s possible to fast-track such an outcome by enrolling them in obedience school, but it’s always the better idea to train your dog yourself and bond with them over the experience.
Nowadays, dog owners also have a variety of free resources—from websites to advice from fellow dog parents on social media groups—that can guide them through the process.
And once training starts off on the right foot, both dog and owner can feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment for a job well done.
However, as rosy as this picture can be, the path to training your dog will rarely be without its challenges.
Remember that setbacks in dog training are common, especially for DIY home training, given the early stages of your relationship and factors like your dog’s maturity and independent spirit. But with the right approaches, you’ll be able to clear the initial training hurdles together.
Below are seven of the most common setbacks that you might encounter when training your dog, plus some solutions that will help both you and your canine get back on track:
1. Inconsistent Training
Inconsistent training will be one of the most significant roadblocks in your journey to fully train your dog. If you’re busy with work or school, it may be hard for you to stick to a consistent training schedule.
If that’s the case and if you live with your partner or your family, ask them for assistance when you need it while you take the lead. As a team, you’ll be better equipped to teach your dog proper behavior and basic commands and make sure that these stick in different situations.
That said, when different members of the household use varied commands and methods, it can leave your dog feeling bewildered.
The solution is to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding training methods and commands, whether you’re walking your dog or getting them to eat neatly from their dog stainless steel bowls at meal time.
Bear in mind that consistency is the key to success, and it must manifest in the vocal cues and gestures everyone uses for your dog. This is what will get them to learn more effectively and to demonstrate desired behaviors even when you, the lead trainer, aren’t around.
2. Skipping Basic Training
Often, dog owners will be eager to move on to advanced tricks without laying a solid foundation of basic commands like sit, stay, and come.
But skipping basic training is a mistake that can lead to obedience issues and safety concerns down the line.
Don’t be remiss in training your dog on the basics, and don’t move on to advanced commands until you’re sure they’ve mastered the fundamental ones.
Plus, returning often enough to the basics, even if your dog already knows them, helps reinforce good behavior and keeps your dog sharp and responsive.
3. Neglecting Exercise
A dog with healthy outlets for their natural energy is typically a well-behaved dog.
The opposite is also true: a lack of exercise can lead to problems with training. Knowing that, you shouldn’t skip your dog’s daily walks and other exercise routines you’ve begun to establish with them.
Sufficient exercise will not only expend their physical energy, but also provide them with a good amount of mental stimulation. It also helps reduce boredom and anxiety, which will make your training sessions with them more productive.
To prepare for a walk, it’s a good idea to use a product like a martingale collar to gently correct your dog in case they need it.
Martingale collars are perfect for dogs in training since they provide better control without the risk of choking your dog. With a gentle tug, you can correct your dog when their attention strays. Consider using this type of collar to train your dog on proper dog-walking etiquette.
4. Overlooking Socialization
Socialization is an often underestimated aspect of a dog’s development. But failing to expose your dog to various experiences, people, and other dogs can result in behavioral problems and difficulty advancing in your training.
If you can’t adopt another pet to keep your dog company, the next best thing you can do to is to go to the dog park regularly. An environment like this one will give your dog an excellent opportunity to interact with other dogs and people.
Regular socialization will also help your dog become more comfortable and well-behaved in different situations and reduce their risk of developing aggressive or fearful behaviors.
5. Lacking Patience
Another big setback you may experience while training your dog is your own impatience for quick results.
Remember, however, that any form of training will take time to ingrain. Your impatience may hinder your dog’s progress and get in the way of your relationship with them.
Always remain calm and in control of your emotions whenever you’re training your dog. Be mindful, too, about not going too hard on yourself or your dog. Take breaks if needed, and remember that every small step forward is a victory in itself.
6. Ignoring the Significance of Dog Breeds
Each dog breed has its own unique needs and is known for a distinctive set of behaviors. Failing to understand these breed differences can lead to training issues born from unrealistic expectations.
Before you start training your dog, educate yourself about how their breed factors into their temperament and which training regimens typically work out best for them.
For example, a border collie may thrive on rigorous obedience training, while a basset hound may be more independent in their style of learning. Again, know what to expect from your dog’s breed and tailor your training approach to their specific needs.
7. Using Punishment-Based Methods
There’s beating around the bush with this one: harsh punishment can lead to fear and anxiety in dogs, which could ultimately impede the training process.
Dog parents are highly advised to use positive reinforcement techniques in their training.
Reward your dog for desired behaviors with treats, praise, or play. This positive reinforcement will motivate your dog to continue displaying good behavior.
What’s more, it will build a strong bond of trust between you and your pet, making them both happier and more obedient.
Setbacks in your dog’s training may feel extremely frustrating at the moment that they’re happening, but remember that they’re not insurmountable. With every challenge, there will be a solution that will get you both back on track to finishing your training successfully.
What’s most important is that you stay committed and consistent to your regimen. After all your efforts, you’ll be able to raise a happy and well-disciplined dog that you can proudly take with you anywhere.