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Dog Training Myths

Dog training is an essential part of ensuring that a dog is happy, healthy and safe. Some dog training can be relatively easy; many dog owners are able to teach their dogs basic commands, like sit and stay, without too much trouble. But dog training can be difficult, confusing or even frustrating! It makes matters complicated when myths and legends about dog training enter into the equation. There are many myths about dog training, some of which can actually confuse or frustrate a dog—or its owners. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly spread myths about dog training, and how the facts measure up.

Myth: A dog knows that they’ve disobeyed because they look guilty.

Dog_Training_MythsThis myth is incredibly common–and incredibly untrue! While the debate as to whether or not a dog can feel guilty in same way that a person can is still up in the air, the “guilty look” that people see in their animals is not the product of a guilty conscience, but a learned behavior. A dog can pick up on the body language and vocal inflections of their owners. When an owner sees that something is wrong, such as a chewed up couch or a puddle on the floor, they will typically react by becoming upset; their pet will react accordingly by appearing “worried,” because they know that this behavior will appease a human who is displaying upset or angry types of body language. The dog does not necessarily know that it’s done something wrong—it is simply picking up on human body language and reacting accordingly.

Myth: A puppy should be six months old before training begins.

This myth likely originates from old school training methods which typically used heavy or spiked collar corrections, which meant that the dog should be old enough to withstand the potential corrections from the collar. Today, however, positive reinforcement training has done away with harsher corrective methods. In reality, you should start training your puppy as soon as you can! Puppies will likely take longer to train because of their shorter attention span, but there is no reason that you can’t begin your puppy’s training as soon as possible.

Myth: A dog that can’t be trained to respond to a certain command is stubborn, stupid or dominant.

This myth often leads to frustration both on the part of dogs and their owners—but it doesn’t have to be this way! It is true that some dogs may be more stubborn against training than others. However, these dogs simply require more patience and a better understanding of the situation from a “dog’s point of view” from their owner. Imagine that you are a dog—are the commands you are giving clear and consistent? Do they make sense? Would you want to obey them? Before you write off your dog as dominant, dumb or stubborn, take the time to think about how your dog perceives the training and adjust your own actions accordingly.

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