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Bark Bytes… Does Your Dog Make Mistakes?

Bark Bytes… Does Your Dog Make Mistakes?

People often believe that their dogs are “perfect” and they never make mistakes as they are dogs.   But no dog or person is 100% perfect all the time.  When a dog makes a mistake it’s often the owner’s fault for not teaching the dog what is expected or what is acceptable.

To prevent this from happening:

  • Be Proactive: You should try to make a mental note of what occurred so you can recreate the situation and teach him what you do want him to do.
  • Education: Educating your dog is one of your responsibilities both as a dog owner, and as its leader. It’s the owner’s responsibility to keep him safe and teach him how to not just survive but to thrive.
  • Do some planning: Try to come up with different but similar scenarios, so you can practice educating your dog.

Educating and teaching your dog:

  • Educating a dog is a lifetime commitment. If you do not maintain rules or you become lax, a dog will see you as being weak and will revert back to previous behaviors.
  • Things take as long as they take, depending on your consistency and the dog’s age and personality. Also, are you communicating clearly with your dog and does he understand you. For example, just calling his name is not being clear…tell him what you want.
  • The more frequently you work with your dog, the quicker he will learn. Dogs are routine oriented. Incorporate the commands and rules into your daily routine.
  • Training is an opportunity to enhance our bond and develop trust while having fun spending time working together.
  • As he trusts you as his owner and leader, he knows that you are not going to let anything bad happen to him. This trust takes time and effort on both your parts. It took patience and not putting him in situations he wasn’t prepared to handle.

How can you tell training is working?

  • When your dog is in situations that he has been trained in, he will remember the expectation and behave accordingly.
  • If you have established strong leadership with your dog and he is in a situation and doesn’t know what to do, he will look to you for a response or guidance. It’s your dog’s way of asking what he should do. If you show him what you want in that situation, he’ll usually follow your lead and get a lot of praise.

The reality is we all make mistakes.  What we do with those mistakes is what’s important.  We can berate ourselves or our dog or we can turn them into learning experiences and use them to grow.

The choice is yours.  So make the right choice…educate your dog and so you can have the loving relationship you all desire.

Vicki and Richard Horowitz, of Woodbridge, are dog behavioral therapists and trainers with Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company.  For more information, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit

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