Are you making this mistake with your puppy? Expert dog trainer reveals what not to do

Portrait of a border collie puppy sitting with his owner in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While there's no denying that bringing home a puppy for the first time can be a joyful experience, there's one thing about being a pet parent to a small bundle of fluff that can prove challenging — and that's training. 

Whether it's crate training a dog or you're in the throes of the puppy teething phase and are trying to get your little one to stop chewing everything in sight, helping your puppy learn the ropes takes time.

No wonder so many new pet parents report experiencing the puppy blues in the first year of their new fur friend's life — all of that training can leave you feeling exhausted!

But there will come a time when your puppy starts to understand what's expected of them, and this crucial moment is where expert dog trainer Amelia Steele sees so many of us go wrong. 

"I see it all the time where people get a puppy, the training goes really well, the puppy's listening, responding to their name, it's staying with them on a walk, and then because they can do all those things and they can listen so well, the person thinks 'hey, my job's done,' and they stop rewarding the dog," explains Steele.

Steele says that not continuing to reward your dog or stopping training altogether will have big implications when your puppy reaches adolescence.

"When a dog's adolescent phase starts, which is usually around six months, their interest in the environment increases because their hormones are increasing. 

So what happens is if you stop rewarding them and then all of a sudden the environment is much more interesting, all of that training that you've done will go out the window."

If you a have a puppy or a young dog, Steele says that it's important that you continue training all the way through the adolescent phase and that you keep rewarding them for the things that you like.

Doing so will ensure that all the hard work you put in during those early months of your puppy's life won't disappear the minute they reach the dreaded teenage phase! 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.