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The Five Most Common Mistakes People Make When Training Their Dogs 
 
by Diana Bocco October 04, 2005

Learn why your dog doesn't learn and how to fix what YOU'RE doing wrong.

Dog training mistakes are always human mistakes. Surprised? Don't be. Many pet owners get frustrated when puppies "have accidents" or grown dogs bark like crazy at the doorbell, while, in fact, these and other problems cannot be faulted on the animal. "Most people only know what they want their dog to stop doing –e.g. jumping, bolting out the door, digging, chewing," says Paul Owens, a APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) certified trainer with over 30 years experience, and the author of the best-selling book, The Dog Whisperer. "But if people don’t know what they want their dog to do instead, like sitting instead of jumping, going to their bed (when the door opens) instead of bolting out the door, dig in a sandbox instead of the garden, chewing appropriate objects, etc., the dog can’t figure it out either."

Mistake #1: Not Socializing a Dog Properly

A dog that has been taught to socialize properly can adapt to changes in the environment and should be able to deal with a variety of situations.

According to Jeff Millman, a certified dog trainer and the owner of Chicago Paws, proper socialization is one of the kindest acts people can provide for their dogs. "Natural by-products of proper socialization are activity, time with your dog, mental and physical stimulation," says Millman. "If someone wants to take their puppy to Thanksgiving dinner at their relatives home in another state, for instance, the socialization checklist might look like this: quiet in the crate during dinner, good with kids, good with groups of people, has a strong Leave It cue in case food falls on the ground, good with car trips, has to be able to eliminate on different surfaces in case there is no grass at one of the stops, etc."

Lack of socialization early on in the life of an animal can lead to fear, anxiety, and aggression. The better adapted a dog is to his environment, the less likely he is to engage in unpleasant behavior.

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