7 Common puppy training mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Common puppy training mistakes

Puppies are adorable, but they also need proper training to become well-behaved and happy members of your family. Puppy training is not only beneficial for your puppy, but also for you and your relationship with your furry friend. Training your puppy can help you prevent behavior problems, enhance communication, strengthen your bond, and have more fun together.


However, puppy training is not always easy, and many puppy owners make mistakes that can hinder their progress and frustrate their puppies. Some of these mistakes can even cause harm to your puppy or make them develop bad habits that are hard to break. If you want to train your puppy successfully, you need to avoid these common pitfalls and follow some best practices.

In this article, we will discuss 7 common puppy training mistakes and how to avoid them. By following these tips, you can make your puppy training more effective, enjoyable, and rewarding for both you and your puppy.

Puppy training mistake #1: Inconsistent Training

One of the biggest mistakes that many puppy owners make is not being consistent in their puppy training. Inconsistency means not following the same rules, commands, or expectations every time you interact with your puppy. For example, you may sometimes allow your puppy to jump on you when you come home, but other times scold them for doing so. Or you may sometimes use the command “sit” to ask your puppy to sit down, but other times use the word “down” or “stay”.


The need for consistency in puppy training is crucial because:

  • It helps your puppy learn faster and easier
  • It prevents confusion and frustration in your puppy
  • It reinforces good behavior and discourages bad behavior
  • It builds trust and respect between you and your puppy

How inconsistency affects training is by:

  • Slowing down or reversing your progress
  • Creating mixed signals and uncertainty in your puppy
  • Encouraging bad behavior and habits in your puppy
  • Undermining your authority and credibility as a leader

To be consistent in your puppy training, you need to:

  • Set clear rules and boundaries for your puppy
  • Use the same commands and cues every time
  • Reward good behavior and ignore or correct bad behavior
  • Involve everyone in the household in the training process

Puppy training mistake #2: Using Punishment as a Primary Training Tool

Another common mistake that many puppy owners make is using punishment as a primary training tool. Punishment is any action that reduces the likelihood of a behavior occurring again, such as yelling, hitting, or scolding. Punishment is not an effective or humane way to train your puppy because it can cause:

  • Damage to your relationship with your puppy
  • Fear, anxiety, or aggression in your puppy
  • Reduced motivation and willingness to learn in your puppy
  • Confusion and misunderstanding in your puppy
  • Suppression of your puppy’s natural instincts and behaviors

Instead of using punishment as a primary training tool, you should use positive reinforcement as a primary training tool. Positive reinforcement is any action that increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring again, such as praising, petting, or giving treats. Positive reinforcement is more effective and humane than punishment because it helps you:

  • Teach your puppy what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do
  • Motivate your puppy to learn and cooperate with you
  • Strengthen your bond and trust with your puppy
  • Create clarity and understanding in your puppy
  • Encourage your puppy’s natural instincts and behaviors

To use positive reinforcement effectively, you need to:

  • Use treats, toys, or praise that are suitable and appealing for your puppy
  • Use a clicker or a verbal marker to signal your puppy when they perform the correct behavior
  • Be consistent and timely with your rewards
  • Vary the type and frequency of rewards to keep your puppy interested and challenged
  • Gradually reduce the reliance on treats and use other rewards such as praise or play

Puppy training mistake #3: Ignoring Signs of Separation Anxiety


Another common mistake that many puppy owners make is ignoring signs of separation anxiety in their puppies. Separation anxiety is a condition where a dog becomes distressed or panicked when left alone or separated from their owner. Separation anxiety can affect any dog, but it is more common in puppies who are not used to being alone or who have a strong attachment to their owner.

Separation anxiety can cause various problems for your puppy, such as:

  • Barking, whining, or howling excessively
  • Chewing, scratching, or destroying furniture or objects
  • Urinating or defecating in inappropriate places
  • Escaping or attempting to escape from their crate or enclosure
  • Showing signs of depression, lethargy, or loss of appetite

Separation anxiety can also cause problems for you, such as:

  • Noise complaints from neighbors or landlords
  • Damage to your property or belongings
  • Guilt, stress, or frustration over your puppy’s behavior
  • Difficulty leaving your puppy alone or going out

To train your puppy to cope with separation anxiety, you need to:

  • Gradually accustom your puppy to being alone by leaving them for short periods of time and gradually extending them
  • Provide your puppy with a safe and comfortable place to stay when you are away, such as a crate or a room
  • Provide your puppy with toys, treats, or puzzles to keep them occupied and distracted when you are away
  • Avoid making a big fuss over your departures and arrivals, as this can make your puppy more anxious or excited
  • Seek professional help from a trainer or a behaviorist if the problem persists

Puppy training mistake #4: Failing to Socialize Your Puppy

Another common mistake that many puppy owners make is failing to socialize with their puppies. Socialization is the process of exposing your puppy to different people, animals, places, sounds, smells, and situations. Socialization is important for your puppy’s development because it helps them:

  • Learn how to interact appropriately with others
  • Become more confident and adaptable in new environments
  • Prevent fear, anxiety, and aggression
  • Enhance their physical and mental health

The importance of socialization in puppy training is evident because:

  • It makes your puppy more obedient and responsive to your commands
  • It makes your puppy more friendly and sociable with other dogs and people
  • It makes your puppy less likely to develop behavior problems or phobias
  • It makes your puppy more enjoyable and fun to be around

Consequences of failing to socialize your puppy include:

  • Your puppy may become fearful, nervous, or aggressive towards unfamiliar stimuli
  • Your puppy may develop separation anxiety or destructive behavior
  • Your puppy may have difficulty coping with changes or challenges
  • Your puppy may miss out on opportunities to play and explore

To socialize your puppy properly, you need to:

  • Start as early as possible, preferably during the first 16 weeks of your puppy’s life
  • Expose your puppy to a variety of positive and safe experiences
  • Gradually introduce your puppy to new situations and people
  • Reward your puppy for calm and friendly behavior
  • Avoid forcing your puppy into situations that make them uncomfortable or scared

Puppy training mistake #5: Overfeeding Your Puppy

Another common mistake that many puppy owners make is overfeeding their puppies. Overfeeding is giving your puppy more food than they need or want. Overfeeding can be harmful to your puppy’s health and training because it can cause:

  • Obesity, diabetes, or other health issues
  • Reduced energy and activity levels
  • Difficulty learning and performing skills and behaviors
  • Increased risk of choking or vomiting

The importance of regulating your puppy’s diet is evident because:

  • It helps your puppy grow at a healthy and appropriate rate
  • It helps your puppy maintain their optimal weight and shape
  • It helps your puppy avoid health problems or complications
  • It helps your puppy enjoy their food and treats more

To regulate your puppy’s diet effectively, you need to:

  • Consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist to determine the best type and amount of food for your puppy based on their breed, age, size, and activity level
  • Feed your puppy at regular intervals and avoid free feeding or leaving food out all the time
  • Measure your puppy’s food portions and use a measuring cup or a scale to ensure accuracy
  • Avoid giving your puppy table scraps, human food, or excessive treats
  • Monitor your puppy’s weight and body condition and adjust their diet accordingly

Puppy training mistake #6: Not Establishing Clear Boundaries

Another common mistake that many puppy owners make is not establishing clear boundaries with their puppies. Boundaries are rules and limits that you set for your puppy’s behavior and access. Boundaries are important for your puppy’s training because they help you:

  • Teach your puppy manners and respect
  • Prevent or correct behavior problems such as jumping, biting, or stealing
  • Protect your puppy from harm or danger
  • Provide your puppy with structure and security

The importance of boundaries in puppy training is evident because:

  • It makes your puppy more obedient and responsive to your commands
  • It makes your puppy calmer and more relaxed
  • It makes your puppy less likely to develop bad habits or vices
  • It makes your puppy more fit and healthy

To establish clear boundaries with your puppy, you need to:

  • Decide what behaviors and areas are acceptable or unacceptable for your puppy
  • Communicate these boundaries to your puppy clearly and consistently
  • Reward your puppy for respecting the boundaries and ignore or correct them for crossing the boundaries
  • Involve everyone in the household in enforcing the boundaries

Puppy training mistake #7: Rushing Puppy Training

The last common mistake that many puppy owners make is rushing their puppy training. Rushing training means trying to teach your puppy too much too soon, or expecting them to learn faster than they can. Rushing training can be detrimental to your puppy’s learning process because it can cause:

  • Confusion and frustration in your puppy
  • Loss of interest and motivation in your puppy
  • Poor retention and recall in your puppy
  • Stress and anxiety in your puppy

The need for patience in puppy training is vital because:

  • It allows your puppy to learn at their own pace and ability level
  • It allows you to adjust your methods and goals according to your puppy’s progress
  • It allows you to build a strong foundation for future learning
  • It allows you to enjoy the journey rather than focus on the destination

To avoid rushing training, you need to:

  • Break down complex skills into smaller steps
  • Repeat each step until your puppy masters it before moving on to the next one
  • Review previous skills regularly to reinforce them
  • Celebrate every achievement, no matter how small


Puppy training is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that can improve your puppy’s behavior, health, and happiness. However, it can also be challenging and frustrating if you make some common mistakes that can hinder your progress and harm your puppy. By avoiding these 7 common puppies training mistakes and following some best practices, you can make your puppy training more effective, enjoyable, and rewarding for both you and your puppy.

Remember, the key to successful puppy training is to start early, be consistent, use positive reinforcement, socialize your puppy, regulate their diet, establish clear boundaries, and be patient.

We hope this article has helped you understand the 7 common puppy training mistakes and how to avoid them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you. Happy training!


How Long Does It Take to Train a Puppy?

The answer to this question depends on various factors such as your puppy’s breed, age, personality, history, and issues. It also depends on your training methods, goals, and expectations. Some puppies may learn faster than others due to their natural intelligence, temperament, or motivation.

However, in general, it takes at least several weeks to months to train a puppy for basic skills and behaviors. It may take longer for more advanced or complex skills or behaviors.

The key to successful dog training is to be consistent, patient, and persistent. You should not expect immediate or miraculous results from your training efforts. You should also not compare your dog’s progress with other dogs’ progress. Every dog is different and learns at their own pace and ability level. You should focus on your dog’s individual strengths and weaknesses and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small.

Is Age a Factor in Dog Training?

Age is a factor in dog training, but it is not a determining factor. Age affects your dog’s learning ability, speed, and retention. Generally speaking, younger dogs are more receptive and adaptable to learning than older dogs. Younger dogs also have more energy and curiosity than older dogs.

However, this does not mean that older dogs cannot learn new skills or behaviors. Older dogs can still learn as long as they are physically and mentally capable. However, training an older dog may require more time, patience, and adaptation than training a young dog. You may also have to deal with some challenges such as health issues, ingrained habits, or reduced attention span.

The most important factor in dog training is not age but motivation. Motivation is the drive or desire that makes your dog want to learn and perform. Motivation can be influenced by various factors such as breeding, personality, history, environment, and training. To motivate your dog to learn, you need to use positive reinforcement and treats that are suitable and appealing for your dog.

Can I Train My Dog Without Professional Help?

Yes, you can train your dog without professional help if you have the knowledge, skills, and resources to do so. There are many sources of information and guidance that you can use to train your dog on your own, such as books, videos, websites, or online courses. You can also join a local dog club or group that offers training classes or activities for dogs and owners.

However, there are some situations where you may need professional help from a trainer or a behaviorist. These include:

  • You are not seeing any improvement or results from your training efforts
  • You are feeling frustrated, stressed, or hopeless about your training situation
  • You are dealing with serious behavior problems such as aggression, anxiety, or phobias
  • You are unsure or confused about how to train your dog properly

If you decide to seek professional help for your dog training, you need to do your research and find a reputable and qualified trainer who has experience with your dog’s breed, age, and issue. You also need to ask for referrals, testimonials, or reviews from other dog owners who have used their services. You also need to check their credentials, certifications, and affiliations with professional organizations. You also need to observe their training methods and philosophy and make sure they align with yours. You also need to communicate your goals, expectations, and concerns with them clearly and openly.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to train your dog in 6 easy steps. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you. Happy training!