Top 5 Training Mistakes for New Dog Owners

When bringing home a new puppy or even an older dog that needs to brush up on his manners- training is crucial to the happiness of both you and your new canine friend. When training that lovable new ball of fur, keep in mind that there are a few common mistakes to avoid:

1.)    Long Training Sessions: Spending too much time on any one training session can be trying to both your patience and that of your canine companion. Keep in mind that puppies have especially short attention spans. It’s best to start with short training sessions, maybe 15 to 20 minutes. As your dog becomes more accustomed to the training process, you can start to increase the length of sessions a little at a time.

2.)    Inconsistency with Commands: Once you choose certain command words- stick to them! Not doing so will cause confusion for you pup and will not produce the desired outcome for all the hours spent on training. For example, “down” can either mean “lay down” or “get down” if the dog is jumping up. It’s crucial to pick a single meaning for each command and remain consistent.

3.)    Training when you’re in a Bad Mood: Make sure you have a positive attitude when beginning a training session. You will be less likely to lose your cool and yell- which only frightens the animal and does not enforce correct behavior. You will also be more likely to be patient and encouraging, two things that will help your sweet pup through the training process.

4.)    Correcting a Dog for something that Happened in the Past: No matter how mad you are about that chewed-up shoe or the accident that Fido had in the house, it’s important not to correct the behavior if the incident occurred more than 5 minutes ago. You should only reprimand your pet if you catch them in the act- and physical force should NEVER be used as punishment.

5.)    Not Using Enough Positive Reinforcement: The best way to see results when training is to REWARD good behavior! Treats can be used as an effective source of positive reinforcement- but some owners are afraid their pet will become too treat motivated. A whole lot of praise and a good old fashioned belly rub make for an excellent alternative to treats and will surely teach your pup that his behavior was correct.

June is Adopt a Cat Month!

If you’re considering a feline addition to the family, don’t forget to check out your local shelter before opting to buy. The ASPCA has declared June to be “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” to raise awareness for the growing number of cats in need of forever homes.

Sadly, an animal is euthanized every 8 seconds in shelters across the United States. Choosing to adopt a cat helps save two lives; the animal you take into your home and the animal that is able to use the empty space in the shelter. However, it’s important to make a responsible decision regarding the adoption of a new pet so that it never ends up back in a shelter. If you rent your home, make sure pets are allowed. Also, be aware that pets require both a time and a financial commitment.

If you feel prepared for adoption, you’ll be sure to be repaid with plenty of love and companionship. So, don’t hesitate to participate in Adopt-a-Cat month if you’re ready for a new feline friend!

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog-Month! The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is dedicating this month to the millions of dogs out there in need of forever homes.

If you or anyone you know has room in their home and heart for one more lovable pup, the ASPCA asks you to please consider adopting from a local shelter. According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals end up in shelters every year. Sadly, only about half of these animals will find homes.

If you think you are ready to be a responsible life-long companion for a dog in need, please visit the ASPCA  for tips on how to prepare your home and family. If you’re not in a position to adopt a dog right now, you can help by just getting the word out about Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog-Month!