There is a lot of contradicting advice on the internet on how to train your dog. To be honest most of it can be misleading. That made us come up with this article. We try to dissect the commonly misunderstood concepts in dog training and what you can do to break these myths
1. Training a dog takes a lot of time.
This is simply far from the truth. If you know what you are doing, training a dog would be one of the simplest things you do. There will be no need to spend hours on end in dog obedience programs, walking around in circles even in the rain… This is the old way of doing things. Most of the time you just end up tiring yourself and your dog out and wasting a lot of your precious time. If you find yourself in this situation, then it is very likely that you are doing something wrong. See dogs are simple animals, yes they love to walk and exercise, but they also love to sleep for long periods, and most importantly, they just want to impress us and that is an advantage we have in any training session we engage with them.
2. There is always one pack leader in every house.
Their ancestral lineage has indeed left dogs predisposed to having a pack leader when out in the wild, but their living situations have changed since then. Dogs are now more geared to living in households and this leaves their survival to anybody in the household. What I am saying is that everybody in the household can perform the function of a pack leader for a modern dog.
Understanding this would change the dynamics when training your dog for your household. You should get everyone involved in such a way that it doesn’t matter who is at home. Anyone available at the time should be able to issue a command and our dogs should obey them.
That being said, your dogs would be more responsive to anyone who is gentle and calm and more importantly shows more understanding of what the dog is communicating. That is why you will find the dog more attached to some people in the house more than others.
3. Every puppy should attend puppy school.
I hate to burst your bubble but puppy schools are simply not as effective as people think. Far too often, you have a situation where dog parents have bought into the notion that taking their puppies to the local puppy school and sitting around other dog parents with their puppies and trying to learn a few tricks for some minutes is of some sort of immense value.
Now let’s put things in perspective, our puppies get the benefit of socialization earlier with other dog parents and their puppies, but this can easily be gotten by scheduling regular walks with your puppy which doesn’t require any form of expense and helps bonding with your puppy more. With puppy schools, the time spent is short, your dog may learn a trick or two but the more important training such as obedience training and more are left out. Obviously, such training cannot be completed in a month.
If you can afford the puppy school, go for it, but keep in mind that the responsibility of training your dog rests on you and not the puppy school.
4. Giving your dog Quality training is expensive.
The truth is that quality or professional dog training is not expensive. In fact, you can easily get high quality, professional dog training on the internet. Sadly, most people get drawn to shine and gingles instead of taking time to investigate where they get the training from. They end up spending thousands of dollars on agility classes, dog obedience classes, puppy schools, dog behaviorists, and more.
The best way to get quality training is to confirm from others who have had success in it. That means searching out and verifying the testimonials for the dog training program you may be interested in.
5. You only need Positive Reinforcement to train your dog.
Positive reinforcement is wonderful, it is a great way to teach our dogs so many things but it is only part of the training process. More important than positive reinforcement is treating your dog with respect, love, and care. You see, training a dog is very much like training a child, you praise them and share the joy when they do something good but you also need to be strict and discipline them when they do something wrong. Doing this will require other methods like placing them on timeouts or some other medical interventions. Like we said earlier, treating your dog with respect, love and care are more important than any positive reinforcement technique you can come up with as it makes them more disposed to follow your commands.
6. Not using dog food as treats
Apart from normal dog treats, using dog food as treats when done in the right way can do wonders for your dog. We as Dog parents seem to ignore this as nobody talks about it but most dog training experts are aware of this and how they can be used to train our dogs perfectly.
7. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.
The saying that “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks” is something that has been accepted as a norm, but people tend to forget that it is hard to find someone who would put in the time and effort to develop the relationship and bond that would allow them enough leverage to teach these old dogs the new tricks that they require to stay with them.
Dogs whether old or young are always eager to form a bond with the people around them and anyone that goes the extra length to bond with them can teach them any trick they want. Sure older dogs have some set of habits they have formed over time but these are habits they will willingly give up to bond with someone who truly cares for them.
8. All you need is practice and hard work.
The truth is that there is the correct way of doing things and the wrong way of doing things. Doing something the wrong way will never work no matter how hard you try. Doing it the correct way will get you the expected result in a matter of minutes. Dog training is not about hard work and spending endless hours trying to get your dog to do a particular thing. Smart dogs are always listening to their pack leaders and trying to read their body cues and how they communicate with them. Smart dog trainers have also learned to work smart with their dogs and not long and hard.
9. Smaller dogs are easier to train than bigger dogs.
This is another false assumption. A dog’s size does not matter when it comes to training them. This is just like assuming something about a group of people that you have never met. Just like human beings dogs have individual traits. You would find that some dog parents have it easy training their big dogs while having serious difficulty training the smaller dog. It all comes down to the dog’s personality.
10. Dogs that cause trouble are stupid.
This is again wrong and a matter of perspective. Look at it from the dog’s perspective. He or she wants attention and may not even understand that he is causing trouble. In fact, other dogs would see him and think wow that dog must be so intelligent, see the amount of attention he gets from his parents. This is also more impressive when he or she can get you to look at something or do what they want at that particular time.
For dog parents with such dogs, you just have to up your game and develop better strategies and techniques to manage your dog. After all, you are dealing with a genius dog. Why let all that potential go to waste
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.