Even those who know a bit about dog training and are perfectly happy with the status of their dog’s education are likely to become better trainers if they learn to avoid these common mistakes.

When someone asks me, “What do you do for a living?” my answer—“I’m a dog trainer”—is often followed by, “Oh, me, too! I mean, only with my own dogs, but I love it!” Perhaps because dogs are so familiar to us, it’s easy to assume that we know how to effectively train them. Sometimes, it’s what we think we know that isn’t so that trips us up. Here are some of the most common problems I’ve observed over the years.

1. Making training sessions too long.

Multiple short training session are better than one long one, but many novice trainers don’t realize that when trainers say “short sessions,” we mean 30 to 90 seconds, not 20 minutes or more. This surprises many…

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