For many people, it isn’t easy to envision life without a dog. These pets are not only companions, but they are regarded as man’s best friend. It is the reason many people like having them around. Dogs are known for their affection, devotion, cheerfulness, and passion for life. Like other domesticated animals, dogs have annoying tendencies that might make it challenging to put up with them.
However, to get along with your dog, you must train it. Many people fail to train their dogs because of the many myths surrounding dog training. To make it feasible for you to cope with your dog, you need to teach her some skills. Forget about the myths that keep many people from instilling some discipline in their dogs. There is no short cut to having well-behaved and dog trainers.
Make your way towards a well-behaved and well-trained dog. Top dog training myths debunked by world’s best experts.
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1. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
Top 3 Myths by Maneka Sanjay Gandhi:
- Older dogs over 5+ years cannot be trained or retrained.
- Old rescued dogs will not respond to a new name.
- Beating and threats are essential to train a vicious dog.
2. Ian Stone
Top 3 Myths by Ian Stone:
- Revenge Peeing or Pooping – In 2009 a study at Bernard College thoroughly debunked this. In the experiment, owners were intentionally misinformed about whether or not their dogs were good or bad while the owner was away. Whether or not the dog “looked guilty” was entirely dependent on the owner’s perception of wrongdoing, and had no correlation to whether the dog had actually done anything or not.
- Everything is Dominance – Dominance is about resolving the distribution of rsources without violence. And yet, all sorts of behaviors from leash grabbing, to jumping, to
potty mistakes, to puppy biting are attributed to dominance. It’s vastly misunderstood by most owners and overly misapplied to annoying behaviors. Dominance is a thing, but not nearly at the scale many believe it is.
- Puppy Behavior is Aggression – 99 out of 100 times that owners swear up and down that their puppy isn’t normal and is showing “concerning signs of aggression,” it’s
normal puppy behavior. True puppy aggression does happen, but it’s rare. The vast majority of the time it’s just shocking to owners how much work and management is involved.
3. Nigel Reed
Top 3 Myths by Nigel Reed:
- Your Dog Should Always Walk on a Particular Side –
Many trainers tell owners to always walk the dog on the left or the right side and never change sides otherwise the dog will get confused. I disagree, a more sensible rule is to have the dog on the side away from danger be that traffic or any other threat. Teach them that you decide what side they should be on and as you adjust their position accordingly when dangers appear they will learn that you are protecting them. Sticking to one side when
the dog feels threatened will knock its confidence in you as their protectors.
- Picking Up Your Dog Makes Them Think They Are in Charge –
This depends on the context. For example, if your dog is being attacked then picking them up will boost their confidence that you will protect them. Or picking them up for a cuddle when you decide if they are happy to be picked up will strengthen the bond. However, constantly picking the dog up and panicking each time you see a situation will knock their confidence.
- You Should Never Have Your Dog on Your Bed –
I allow my dog on my bed but many say you shouldn’t. People say this because often the type of person who allows their dog on their bed doesn’t have any boundaries. People then believe the dog being on the bed is the root cause of the dog’s problem behaviour when actually it is a series of errors. This is the difference between understanding causation (a single event) and correlation (multiple events). I have boundaries in many situations so my dog doesn’t all of a sudden question my actions when I invite him on to my bed.
4. Sara Carson
Top 3 Myths by Sara Carson:
- Correcting your dog hours after they made a mistake.
- Dog tricks are not important for your relationship with your dog.
- The obviously myth where old dogs can’t learn new trick.
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5. Robin Bennett
Top 3 Myths by Robin Bennett:
- That dogs pee/poop in the house out of spite or to get back at their owners.
- That you have to show your dog that you are the boss by rolling him over, going in front of him, or doing any of the other dominance based methods of training.
- That dogs can’t learn because they are stubborn, stupid or spiteful.
6. Natalie Dobkins
Top 3 Myths by Natalie Dobkins:
- To prevent resource guarding you should put your hand into your dog’s food and take items away from them on a regular basis.
- Socializing your dog means taking them to the dog park, allowing them to meet every person they see and frequently have on leash greetings.
- If your dog has a lot of energy you should exercise them more.
7. Steve Courtney
Top 3 Myths by Steve Courtney:
- He Will Grow Out of It – Puppies display behaviors through instinct, as they don’t have an education at this stage of their lives. People who have problems with their puppies love top relay on the “grow out of it” training method, but I never see them wait for a puppy to grow out of toileting in the house. Puppies need education and guidance on “how to” behave.
- My Dog is Anxious – As a behaviorist that rehabilitates a lot of aggressive dogs, a high percentage of dogs are diagnosed or described as “anxious”, then treated and often medicated for anxiety. When this has not worked and the dog comes to see me, it is quite clear that many of these dogs are overstimulated and lack impulse control. In many cases, effective Life Skills training reduces and, in many cases, extinguishes displays of lunging, barking and pulling behaviors.
- Positive Reinforcement is the Best Way to Train a Dog – This myth has gained a lot of momentum, but is not only a myth, but scientifically impossible. Positive Reinforcement is adding something that will increase the likeliness of the behavior and is a quite effective quadrant of operant conditioning, but as the dog’s expectations and desire for the reinforcement increase, the dog will at some point have the reinforcement delayed, withheld or removed from the exercise when the trainer wants to alter the behavior. This is the Negative Punishment quadrant of operant conditioning and will take place with or without the trainer being aware or intending it.
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8. Sarah Hodgson
Top 4 Myths by Sarah Hodgson
- 1. The best way to house train a dog is to rub their nose in their feces.2. Dogs should never sleep on the bed.3. E-collars, shock collars, vibrating collars, citronella collars are effective ways to train dogs.4. Dogs bark, ignore you, eat before you, and mount on you to show you their dominance.
Final Comments by Sarah
- Every single statement above is a myth. While the bond we have with our dogs is as strong as any human adoration, they’re not human. They’re animals, very focused on the here and now. They repeat anything that makes them feel safe, happy, and loved. Assign words to everyday routine, and reward them as you guide them through the day. Dog training doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective, but going into training with the attitude that you have to tame and control your dog will only result in an animal that responds in an equally threatening manner—
not out of dominance but out of fear. Dogs mirror what they are modeled. Model kindness and fairness, and tell your dog what to do instead of what not to do. Then, you’ll have a nurturing dog that bonds to you like a child to a parent.
9. Amber Aquart
Top Myth by Amber Aquart:
- One of the biggest myths about dog training that I think NEEDS to be debunked is that, “If your dog isn’t listening, he is being stubborn.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! The reality is, if your dog isn’t listening, there is always a reason. It is up to us to break down the steps for our dogs and make things easier for them when they are struggling to listen.
10. Gaz Jackson
Top Myth by Gaz Jackson:
- Claims that positive training will fix all, one method for all training and problems.
11. Johanna Devereaux
Top 3 Myths by Johanna Devereaux
- Dogs can be trained in a few weeks with a few classes.
- Not all dogs are trainable.
- Positive dog training can only get you so far.
12. Chelsea Rivera
Top 3 Myths by Chelsea Rivera:
- Non-breed dogs can’t be trained as well as full breed dogs.
- Dogs want and need boundaries.
- Simply keeping your dog away when he’s done something bad, doesn’t discipline him at all.
13. Brain Johnson
Top 3 Myths by Brian Johnson:
- You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks –
The truth is that you can teach any teachable dog. Just like people, learning has more to do with attitude than age.
- Certain Breeds of Dogs Are Mean and Should Be Avoided –
While it is true that there are some traits that are typical within breeds such as the desire to retrieve, point, or herd, most behaviors are learned. Proper training and socializing plays a larger part than genetics when it comes to being nice or nasty.
- Rather Than Purchase a Dog From a Breeder, It is More Responsible to “Rescue or Adopt” a Dog From a Shelter –
It seems that we live in a day and time when everyone is trying to tell everyone else why they should do and how they should do it. The purchase of a dog is a deeply personal and long term commitment. Each potential pet owner should consider all options and decide the best one for them. Some people choose to have children naturally and others choose to adopt. Some people only buy new cars while others feel great with a good used one. The main thing is to make sure that you are ready to provide for the needs of tour new dog for the next 10-15 years. Pick well and treat them right and you will be glad you did.
14. Simon Prins
Top 3 Myths by Simon Prins:
- Working Double Blind is Not Important –
If you know where the target is, the dog will use your body language to make the final decision. If it’s blind the dog will use the body language of the bystander(s) to make the final decision. If it’s double blind then there is no extra information and the dog needs to make the decision alone! Working double blind is the key to train to an operational level and test yourself and your dog.
- Detection Dogs Need to Receive Their Reinforcements Always at the Source –
In the beginning, during the imprinting phase, reinforcement at the source is a good start. But as soon the dog understands the rules of the detection game we start using a bridge as indicator for remote reinforcement. That means when the dog alert at the source and meet criteria a bridge signal is given. The dog returns to the handler to receive the reinforcement. For this procedure the handler need to have a perfect timing, good observation skills and dare to make decisions.
- Pseudo Scents Are the Same as the Real Stuff –
Does a whiskey drinker taste the difference between a blended or a malt whiskey? Do you taste the difference between a instant or freshly roasted bean coffee? Do you taste the difference between a hamburger from a fast food restaurant or a real grilled hamburger? There is a difference between pseudo and real. Dogs are really good at discrimination. So if you do a real good job on imprinting pseudo, the dog will only find THAT specific pseudo from THAT brand. So there must be a difference between pseudo or real. If I want to drink a malt whiskey, a quality coffee or a real tasty hamburger I know where to find it. And if I want to find the real stuff, I know what to look for because I have imprinted those details in my mind. I’m not judging but I only ask you to train your dog with the end goal in mind.
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