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Stay the Course

Blue Line K9 Dog Training experts explain common mistakes pet owners make and how to fix them.

Blue Line K9 Dog Training was recently named The World's Greatest Dog Training Company by the Bloomberg Network. Blue Line K9 is a mobile dog training company building unbreakable bonds between owners and their dogs by making dog training fun and easy, no matter the breed, size, or problem. 

Blue Line K-9 was founded in 2007 by Veteran, CEO, and Master Dog Trainer Michael J. Soler. Houston locals Donnovon Angevine and Jorge Porras brought Blue Line K-9 from Maryland to Texas this year and serve the Katy, Cypress, Sugarland, and West Houston areas. 

Donnavan and Jorge are passionate about showing Houstonians a better way to train their dogs, so we sat down with them to learn more about the top three common mistakes pet owners make and how to fix them. 

Teaching Tricks vs. Obedience 

Many owners sign up for group training classes that teach their dogs things like "sit down," "come," "stay," etc. Those are neat tricks, but that's all they are – tricks.

These classes aren't teaching dogs to become obedient; they're just teaching simple tricks. While commands like those above are part of obedience training, they are not the end goal. Obedience is the immediate reaction to a command. At Blue Line K9, I take my experience in the Marines and show pet owners how to apply the same principles with their dogs. Training becomes a straightforward process once they understand the difference between obedience and tricks. 

First, we teach dogs the simple trick of sitting. Then start adding distractions and introduce as many distractions as possible to get the dogs to sit no matter the circumstance. Doing the same thing repeatedly becomes muscle memory, and once it's reached that stage, the dog is not just doing the trick but obeying a command.

Setting Proper Goals for Training

The second mistake owners make is not setting goals for a dog. Many dog owners don't know exactly what they want their dogs to learn. They often say that they want basic training for their dog. The problem is basic training has different meanings for different people. Some helpful questions to ask yourself are: 

  • Do you want to keep your pet from running out the door? 

  • Do you want to be able to share the same bed with your pet comfortably?

  • Do you want your pet to go for car rides? 

After some goal coaching from our trainers and discussion, owners can identify training goals and create a plan to achieve them. 

Be Consistent with Rewards

This tip is widely overlooked and substantially minimized. Owners should take the time to think about how they plan to reward their dogs during training. Inconsistent reward systems create confusion for pets and disrupt the training process. We recommend that our clients pick a reward and stick with it, whether it's petting, toys, or treats. Taking the time to prepare properly can be overwhelming, so this is one of the impactful ways we serve our clients. By having systems and support built into training, it takes the guesswork out of what to do next.

  • Photo courtesy of Blue Line K9 Dog Training