These three most common dog training mistakes are ones that probably every dog owner has made. And they can cause real problems for the relationship between an owner and dog. However, these are also training mistakes that you can fix immediately and then see almost immediate improvements in your dog's behavior.
Mistake #1: Punishing Your Dog for Coming to You
This may be the number one new dog trainer mistake. The excited dog bolts out the door and runs away from you. You chase him down and finally get him to come to you. Then you berate him, or otherwise punish him, for running away. However, what you really just did was punish him for coming to you. In the dog's mind, he came to you and was then punished. Since you want him to come to you when called, reward him with treats and affection whenever he nears you.
Mistake #2: Punishing Accidents
There's no way to give an appropriate consequence for a dog peeing or otherwise eliminating on the floor or in the house. If you found the accident after the fact, you cannot expect your dog to relate a consequence now for something he did five minutes ago or five hours ago. What he will do, is relate the consequence to coming near you. Also, if you punish at the exact moment he pees in front of you, you may make him pee more, as a dog urinating in front of his owner can be a submissive behavior. He is doing it to communicate to you that you are the lead dog. Punishment will make him pee in front of you more often, since you did not seem to understand this communication last time. Instead, prevent accidents by taking your dog outside for regular potty breaks. If you do catch your dog having an accident, take him outside and tell him to potty outside. Then reward him for going outside.
Mistake #3: Rewarding Growling
This often happens with small dogs. The dog growls out of fear at another person. The owner scoops up the dog and comforts him with sweet talk and pets. What really happened is the owner rewarded the growling. Next time stand next to the person being growled at and face your dog while telling him "No." Then give him pets and affection when he calms down. Aggressive behavior towards any human without cause should ever be tolerated and certainly not rewarded.
Dogs live and think in the moment. What happened two minutes, or even two seconds ago is long in the past for your pooch. If you reward good behavior as it happens, you will be making positive changes to improve your relationship with your furry family member. If you are having difficulty applying rewards and consequences to improve your dog's behavior, then seek professional advice from a dog trainer.