Just like your parents told you, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do something. The vast majority of folks with a canine family member want to do dog obedience. But there’s a common set of mistakes that, if you keep an eye out for them, can be avoided.

First, remember that your dog is not a furry child. Sure, we all love them, but dogs perceive the world and process information in a totally different way than humans. The average adult dog has a cognitive level similar to a human 2 year old. But that’s where the similarity ends. Dogs are great at processing language, but they don’t use logic the way we do and they don’t understand cause and effect like us. We know it can be frustrating for you to repeat a command and your dog seems like he’s ignoring you. Remember, he’s not necessarily being stubborn. He might be distracted, or they just might fail to understand that the word “come” means the same thing today as it did yesterday.

The name of the game is patience, and that’s where many pet owners do their dogs a disservice. They’re so anxious for the dog to become well-behaved instantly that they don’t bother to slow down and work at the dog’s pace. Be prepared to say the same command over and over. Occasionally, a dog will “get it” quickly, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Go easy, take your time, and before you know it you’ll have a model canine citizen.