Avoiding Common Training Pitfalls

Control is an illusion. Do not teach your dog obedience commands so you will have control over them. Obedience commands form a language through which you can communicate your expectations and teach him how to socialize in the two-legged world. These commands will also keep him safe and allow him to remain safe for society.

Forget everything you ever heard about "alpha dog" and pack theory. Proper training and communication have nothing to do with placing your dog in a subservient role to you or anyone else. Being a leader and being dominant are two completely different roles.

Another common pitfall is about praise. Very often, owners confuse affection with praise. Overly emotive vocals and touching and/or petting are affection but are not praise. While your dog has a need to understand that you like or love him, affection is not the proper reward for obedience training.

Avoid becoming attached to the outcome of the training process and learn to enjoy it. Effective training means having high standards and lofty goals. However, if the goals are not immediately achieved, then you must avoid frustration with the process. Consistency, patience, and persistence are essential traits of a quality dog trainer.

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