Overcoming Common Training Challenges: Expert Tips from Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital

cute puppy training.

There’s really no limit to what your pet can learn, but a lot depends on how new information is presented to them. For them to fully embrace a new skill, and be able to repeat it, pets benefit from a structured approach. They need to feel secure and confident within the framework provided by their trustworthy owners. Overcoming common training challenges is much easier with our tips from Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital. 

Basics of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an effective, safe way to teach your pets. It encourages you to reward the behaviors you like (and want to see more of) and ignore the ones you don’t. Animals make a positive connection between an action and its reward, and learn to curb the behaviors that don’t lead to a reward. 

For example, we know it’s not easy to ignore a dog going potty on the kitchen floor. However, instead of overreacting to this event, an owner should simply redirect the behavior in a calm, neutral way. This could mean quickly picking up the dog and taking them outside to finish peeing, or simply cleaning up the mess (and adjust bathroom breaks accordingly). When they do go to the bathroom outside, lavish them with praise and immediately present them with a tasty, memorable treat. 

Overcoming Training Challenges

Whether you are crate training, agility training, leash training, house training, or teaching basic obedience, common training challenges may develop if/when these things happen:

  • Training sessions last longer than a pet’s attention span
  • Rewards aren’t given immediately after the “right” behavior
  • The reaction to good behavior isn’t understood ora appreciated by a pet 
  • Inadvertent punishment of good behavior
  • Accidental reinforcement of unwanted behavior
  • Training sessions are inconsistent
  • Rewards center on tasty treats alone
  • Bribery, instead of positive reinforcement, is used to elicit a trick or skill

Tips for Success

Pet training should be a fun experience for both of you. Keep training sessions short, about 10 minutes at a time. If your pattern is to introduce a new skill after, say, breakfast every day, maintain that trend every day as part of your pet’s routine. Always furnish your pet with tasty treats, praise, and enthusiasm immediately following demonstration of the skill. End on a positive note each and every time. 

Clicker training can be impactful when used in tandem or instead of treats. 

Patience is possibly the most important asset to your adventures in pet training. Every individual pet makes strides in their own time. Without an excessively calm exterior, your pet may react to any agitation you feel, reducing any progress made. Neutrality is key when you see unwanted behaviors. 

A Bright Future

Set your pet up for success by reducing situations in which they could answer unwanted instincts (like chewing or other destructive behaviors) or distractions (such as training them in a park full of squirrels). Remove all items or distractions during training sessions, be sure that excessive energy has been burned off, and they are well hydrated. 

If you need extra support, please call us at (916) 624‑PETS (7387) or schedule an appointment to have your pet’s behavior assessed. Your friends at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital are always happy to help, and look forward to seeing your super-smart, well-behaved pet sometime soon!