Tips on How To Train A Puppy in Tucson

Today we’d like to talk to you about how to avoid making the same common mistakes that everyone else does when training a puppy, so that you can start to focus on how to do things RIGHT.

It’s not your fault Many dog owners make mistakes without knowing it — maybe they got bad advice, grew up doing it one way with a family dog, or read something somewhere that wasn’t quite right. So let’s get started!

Mistake #1 Calling your dog over to you and then doing something he doesn’t like

Your dog is having lots of fun in the yard, playing around and having a good time. You call him in and immediately begin to clean his ears or put him in the bath. Or, he’s running around at the puppy park, you call him over, and put a leash on him because it’s time to go home. Even worse, your dog is being naughty in the lounge room so you call him to you, and yell at him for his bad behavior. Is it a surprise that your dog doesn’t come to you any more when called?

In his mind, coming to you results in something not very pleasant! Never call your dog to you and punish him. This will kill any enthusiasm he has for coming to you when you ask him to. Besides, to effectively punish a dog for a behavior, you need to catch him in the act. Any later is too late.

To help resolve the other two scenarios, call your dog over sometimes while he’s in the middle of playing. Give him a snack, pet him, cuddle him … and then tell him to go play again. This will teach him that coming to you doesn’t mean it’s the end of the game.

Mistake #2 Not Staying Consistent

Dogs learn best by repetition. They learn by doing something and experiencing the same outcome over and over again.  If you let your dog jump up on you when you’re in your weekend shorts and tee shirt, don’t get upset if he does it when you’re in a suit. He can’t tell the difference.

If you are inconsistent and do things haphazardly, or only hold the dog accountable sometimes, your dog isn’t going to learn anything. He’ll be more confused than anything else.

Mistake #3 – Expecting Too Much

Dogs learn at different rates. This is affected by their breed, their age and their individual temperament. If you put expectations on your dog, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You may also get frustrated at your dog for not performing, and he’ll recognize this.

Take it easy, and enjoy the training process. Most dogs get there in the end It’s not a race, and if your dog takes a little longer, that’s not a problem.

Mistake #4 Not Enough Positive Reinforcement

When your dog is learning, he needs regular rewards to teach him that he’s on the right track. Too few rewards and he won’t quite understand when he’s right In the early stages of training, it’s better to give him too many rewards than too few.

Mistake #5 Too Much Negative Reinforcement

Punishment isn’t the best way to train your dog For it to be effective, it has to be delivered at the exact time your dog is doing the wrong thing, otherwise he won’t connect the punishment with the behavior. This isn’t easy Too much negative reinforcement can also have an adverse effect on your relationship with him.

Mistake #6 – Sticking your dog’s nose into his messes to correct his “mistakes”

This is not appropriate under any circumstance. It is downright cruel. It can have several effects – Your dog will be terrified of you, – Your dog will think that he needs to hide when he has to eliminate, and – Your dog may even think that having to eliminate is bad. None of these are desirable.  Remember what we said about punishment above? If you punish your dog for doing this after the fact, he won’t have a clue what he is in trouble for. Nothing more needs to be said. Just don’t do it.


  1. I’m passing this along to my grand-daughter who just got her first puppy. There’s some good, basic advice here that I think she’ll grasp on to – beyond just “he loves me so much I KNOW he’ll understand what I’m trying to teach him!” LOL *IF* the home training doesn’t work out though, are there any specific trainers or facilities in Tucson that you would recommend? Would really appreciate some guidance on this, if we get to that point. Thanks!

    • Lee Justin says

      I knew a great trainer, but unfortunately she recently moved away from Tucson. I asked her who she recommended and she said that the people she worked with at PetSmart on Grant and Swan were all quite good, but that was almost 2 years ago, so she’s not sure who is still there. I’d say with patience, common sense and some of that “love” your little girl is exhibiting, everything should probably work out fine. 🙂