If you’re a dog owner looking to train your dog, or at least are in the market to find a dog trainer, you’d be surprised to find a lot of opinions about how to go about it. Go on.
Talk to at least two or three different dog trainers. You’d likely get 2-3 varying opinions, too. Try going on the internet and doing a search. You’d end up with the same thing.
So once and for all, here’s a list of the most common dog training myths and misconceptions, plus the truth behind them.
Dog Training Myth #1: You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.
Isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, you should know it’s not even entirely correct.
You may have similarly heard that a dog needs to be at least 6 months old. That’s not correct, either.
See, old school dog training used heavy collar corrections. For a dog to withstand the pressure of wearing the collar, it has to be at least a year old. Modern methods do away with the use of the collar. So when is the best time to teach a dog new tricks?
The best opportunity to train a dog something new is when he’s still in the imprinting stage. That’s before 16 weeks of age. You stand to get better results to get him to learn new behaviors during this time, too.
However, it doesn’t mean that an old dog is incapable of learning anything new. With enough patience and in capable hands, a dog can learn no matter its age.
Dog Training Myth #2: Your dog is stubborn, dominant, stupid or all of the above if he can’t learn a behavior.
Believe it or not, just like humans, dogs also have personalities. They also learn at different paces, some will adjust quickly and some will take a bit more time and guidance.
And just like people, just because a dog can’t pick up as quickly doesn’t mean he’s stupid and stubborn. It can just be that there’s miscommunication between trainer and dog. Or maybe, the instructions are confusing to him. It could also be that he has physical limitations rendering him unable to follow the command.
Dog Training Myth #3: Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in the same bed as their humans.
It’s perfectly fine to let your dog sleep on your bed. That is, as long as he doesn’t display major behavioral issues like aggression.
If the dog does show signs of aggression, then that’s when you don’t allow it. This is to help establish good boundaries and rules within the home.
Dog Training Myth #4: Did your dog do something wrong? Use his crate to punish him.
Now here’s the thing. In dog training, you only have a couple of seconds to reward or correct behavior. That’s how short the window is for your dog to associate the action with the reaction. So if you’re using his crate as a punishment, he may not even know why he’s there when you get there. But, here’s where it gets a bit trickier. He may not realize being put in the crate is a punishment however; he will remember feeling bad about it. This can create anxiety towards the crate and in effect, he may no longer feel safe or comfortable inside.
Dog Training Myth #5: Your dog looks guilty because he did something wrong and he knows it.
Are dogs able to produce the same emotions as people? That’s the big question. And that’s a question that’s still being debated by scientists and experts.
However, studies show that the guilty look people see on their dogs’ faces is mainly due to the fact that they expect to see the look, not because the dog has anything to feel guilty about. In other words, the dog reacts to his human’s body language. When a pet owner’s body language reflects “something is wrong,””unhappy” or “upset,” the dog reacts by changing his own body language to one that reflects “worried” or “nervous.”
So no, your dog doesn’t look guilty because he knows he did something bad. He looks guilty because you look like you’re unhappy over something.
These 5 are just some of the most common dog training myths you’ll no doubt come across. Remember, not everything you hear is true. Neither is everything you read on the internet. When it comes to dog training, it helps to check the facts and then cross-check them some more.