“Anything a dog can learn on his own is more effective and better understood than what humans can force on the dog.” – Randy Hare
Probably the most common training mistake is being inconsistent. Inconsistency exists in the mechanicals and in your emotion. Emotionally, you, the trainer, become overly excited, frustrated, and/or stressed, and your dog doesn’t even know who you are anymore. Maybe your voice gets really high, loud, commanding or shrill. Maybe you start to beg, or plead with your dog to do what you're asking. When you get like this, your dog starts searching for some way to get away from you. Who can blame her?
Many people embrace the concept that there are no bad dogs, that there are only humans who aren't handling the dog correctly. Despite this, I still see too much that puts the dog in the hot seat, teaches the dog to behave, suppresses the dog's natural energy and instincts. I'd rather see people replace "training" with "playing" and teaching a dog how to be a dog and how to live in the human world. The days when trainers concentrated mainly on showing dogs, competing with their dogs, hunting or working with their dogs is largely a thing of the past. I'd say that 90% of all dogs are pets and companions. Why continue to follow a model that doesn't fit the paradigm?
Seeing what is happening around us, what is there and not there, is something we unconsciously do all the time. Make a decision to consciously do this. You can learn a lot about people -- and dogs -- very quickly.
"He should just do it because I have asked". I have often heard this despondent remark from the humans during class and at private training lessons. Regardless of the difficulties at that time (anxiety, confusion, fear, or lack of solid previous training). In my view, not only is this statement a little dictatorial, but it also lacks realism.
I have heard there are trainers that say they can train a dog with only this motivation "because I asked". I've never seen a mention,however, of how they will get a distracted, unfocused, could care less about the human at the other end of the leash, dog to "do as one asks".
So, when faced with this plea, I can only ask one question: ‘How’s that working out for you?’. ‘That’ being the often unsuccessful demand that the dog should simply obey - the plea for me to do it all, for the magic wand to come out of the closet.