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5 Dog Training Myths Exposed


There is so much misinformation out there about dog training that it can be difficult to know what information you can actually trust. Some training techniques are not at all recommended and the last thing you want as a dog owner is to discover that you have been doing more harm than good. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the most common dog training myths and the truth behind them!


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You Can Only Train a Puppy, Not an Older Dog

This is what I like to call the 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' myth! A large number of dog owners seem to think that once their dog gets to a certain age there is no point in training it if they have not done so already. This is completely untrue! You most certainly can teach an old dog new tricks because dogs are not set in their ways like we human beings are! In an ideal world, the younger you can start dog training the better, but you can still effectively train an older dog it just takes a little perseverance! Dogs actually thrive on learning new things and starting obedience training with an older dog might even give it a new lease of life!

Positive Reinforcement Only Works With Small or Willing Dogs

Positive Reinforcement is very much the most gentle and humane method of dog training, but some owners seem to think that it will only work with smaller breeds, willing learners and non-aggressive dogs and that big or aggressive dogs need a firmer hand. This is not true. Did you know that Positive Reinforcement is actually the same technique used by Sea World to Train their Killer Whales? Mammals don't get much bigger than that! Animals have a natural instinct to seek out things that reward them, so regardless on the breed of dog you own, Positive Reinforcement can be the most effective way to train them into the behaviours you desire.

Dogs Are Pack Animals and Should Be Trained Accordingly

This is perhaps one of the most common misconception when it comes to dog training. It is true that dogs are descendants of wolves, but that does not necessarily mean that they behave live wolves. After all, we were once apes, but most of us do not go around throwing faeces at each other and grooming for fleas! The 'dominance method' is one of those training techniques that just refuses to go away. The truth is that pack hierarchy can only exist within the same species and dogs are smart enough to know that we are not bigger, more dominant dogs so trying to force them to believe this is pointless.

Dogs Should Not be Allowed to Sleep in Your Bed

This is something that is thrown around a lot. People think that allowing a dog to sleep in your bed, get on the furniture or sit in your lap is going to cause behavioural issues. This is not the case at all. It all comes down to your own personal preference. If you want to snuggle up to your dog at night then that is your choice. You will not be encouraging any undesirable behaviours. The problem comes with allowing your dog to get into your bed if you would really rather he didn't!

Playing Tug Will Encourage Aggression

Lots of people seem to think that playing tug of war with your dog is going to encourage aggression, especially if you let them win. However this is simply not the case. Studies have actually been conducted into just that. Dr John Bradshaw successfully demonstrated that when a dog was repeatedly allowed to win at tug of war it just wanted to play more!

These are some of the most common myths surrounding dog training. It just goes to show what you think you know may not be accurate, so do spend some time researching training techniques from credible sources.

Brian Stephenson loves all animals, if it has four legs he is probably a fan! Brian is a contributor to various blogs and online publications where he shares his experience and love for our 4 legged friends.