The web is filled with tips on how to train a puppy and no doubt you have found many contradict one another. However, there are some things which you will find most dog trainers and behaviorists agree upon and that is the many mistakes you can make training your puppy. All your time spent teaching your best friend to follow your commands can come undone by making a few mistakes. Hopefully this list can guide you against making some common mistakes as you learn how to train a puppy.

1. Being Inconsistent With Commands

No doubt you have found many command words in your search for how to train a puppy. There are the common ones such as sit, stay, fetch etc. However which word you use doesn’t matter as much as how you say it and what you associate the word to. A common problem is that people don’t continue to use the same word and tone of voice with a command. If you teach your dog to sit using the word “sit” and use a low tone of voice, it is not a good idea to then try to get your puppy to sit by saying “sit down” in a high tone of voice. This is likely to confuse your pooch and create unwanted results. If you train your puppy to sit by saying sit, stay consistent with the word and how you say it.

2. Using Food As A Reward Every Time They Follow Your Command

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to resist those big wide eyes staring at you when your puppy wants a treat. However rewarding your dog for every correct command followed is a sure way to make your puppy training harder. There was a study a while ago where researchers trained monkeys in two groups to follow commands. The first group received a treat as a reward every time they followed a command and the second group was rewarded randomly with treats for following a command. The researchers found that the first group became dependent upon the reward and only would follow a command if a treat was offered for doing so. The second group however would follow the command every time because they didn’t know whether they would get a treat or not. How does this relate to training your puppy you ask? The same thing can be found with your pooch. Instead of giving a treat for every correct command followed, only reward them with food some times. Of course this doesn’t mean that you can’t always praise them with a pat for following your command.

3. Don’t Ignore Bad Behaviors

You may have found information informing you to ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior when you learn how to train a puppy. This is poor advice as your puppy needs to know right from wrong. Should you never correct them, the bad behavior will become an acceptable behavior to them. By all means this does not mean to hit or use any harsh punishment on your dog for a bad behavior. Simply telling your dog “no” and showing them the correct behavior is a simple way to remove bad behaviors. Things such as chewing your favorite shoes or barking unnecessarily can become a large problem should you leave it go without correction.

4. Hitting Your Dog Or Using Harsh Corrections

Quite simply put, this is a quick way to lose trust with your puppy. There is a big difference between your dog following your commands out of respect and trust as opposed to out of fear. The old ways of learning by hitting the nose of your puppy or spanking are out of date. In fact it is the cause of many dog attacks as irresponsible owners have hit their dogs as a teaching method. When another person attempts to pat the dog it becomes fearful and attacks the person out of defense. So if you want your dog to know they have done something wrong, correct them verbally and then show them the correct way of doing things. If you don’t know how to train a puppy without using violence then it might be a good idea to find a professional trainer to help.

5. Patting Your Dog Or Praising After Correcting Them For Doing Something Wrong

A very common mistake made when people learn how to train a puppy is to pat their dog after they have just corrected them for doing something wrong. In fact who can blame you for feeling bad about correcting your dog when they look at you with their gorgeous puppy eyes. However by patting your pooch directly after correcting them, it provides a mixed message. In fact your dog may associate doing something wrong with being patted after they are corrected. Instead it is better for you to correct your dog and then show them the right way to do things. Should they do this right, then it is a good idea to praise them so they associate the new behaviour with being rewarded. This doesn’t mean scolding your dog for misbehaving and then ignoring them for the rest of the day. Your puppy will know pretty quickly when you are displeased with them, just make sure you help them do the right thing and then offer praise.

6. Punishing Your Dog For Doing The Right Thing Without Knowing

You might look at this common mistake and think what on earth are we talking about? An example to use is when you walk your dog off lead and then for some reason you need them to come. You call your dog and then their reward is being put back on the lead. Obviously you are putting them on the lead for good reason however your puppy will associate being called with being told off. This is a problem. To counter this, use a similar solution to the rewards one mentioned above. If every time you call them they go on the lead, obviously they won’t come because they assume they will be put back on the lead. Instead call your dog on walks and when they come praise them and give them a pat. Maybe take a couple of treats with you and randomly give those as well. This way your dog doesn’t always think they will be put on the lead when called. This also applies for many other things so it is important to always think about how your dog would associate your commands.

7. Rubbing Your Dog’s Nose In His Latest Toilet Mishap

Surely this mistake would have been removed from the basic trainer’s handbook on how to train a puppy. Unfortunately this very old school method of training still exists and is practiced in some places. Rubbing your puppy’s nose in the mess they left behind hours earlier is not going to accomplish anything a part from irritating your dog. Surely you wouldn’t want to pat your dog after their nose has been in their left behind mess either. Showing your puppy the right place to go to the toilet is the best way to potty train your dog. The hard part is that the only way to show them is by catching them as they do it and taking them to the right place to go. It is hard work but worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Shelley Davies and Jason Turnbull, passionate dog lovers and creators of, are striving to educate people on the keys to owning a puppy. Knowing how to train a puppy, how to take care of your dog and how to have fun is essential for your new best friend. Learn more tips on how to train your new family member by visiting