• Allison Daack

Common Myths In Dog Training

Myth 1: You have to be the Alpha and enforce pack rules.

The latest science in canine behavior shows that the whole concept of dominance theory is heavily flawed. Many advances through research have shown that our original understandings of social hierarchies in wolves were wrong, yet the myth still cycles. A lot of the unwanted behaviors we see in dogs comes from them being accidentally rewarded for it, fear or anxiety. Positive, force-free training that acknowledges the dog's emotional state and adapts; creating a relationship built off trust and respect, is were we are going to find success.

Myth 2: Dogs need to be punished for unwanted behavior.

Science has shown that punishing a dog can prevent their ability to learn or retain information, create or perpetuate fear or aggressive based behaviors, and increase the risk of injury to the dog or people around the dog. It's important to understand a dog's emotional state and to be able to address that, to then be able to address the underline behaviors. When using punishment the dog may stop in the moment but strictly to avoid the punishment, not in understanding of what you want.

Myth 3: Thinking that dog training is only about behavior and consequence.

There is so much more to dog training that just asking a dog to sit and they sit. As pet parents it is important that we recognize that dog training is almost a way of life. It takes multiple classes and continual work through the dogs life, from; expanding cues, nutrition, physiology and health, grooming needs, all forms of enrichment, addressing and readdressing their emotional state and needs as they change through life. It's constantly managing their training and their world to make sure it is an appropriate size for that dog's needs.

Myth 4: Just let the dogs work it out!

Just because dogs can communicate doesn't mean they are good or accurate with it. Especially if I have a dog with fear or anxiety issues. Dogs can and do miscommunicate or misunderstand each other. All the time. Just because yelling or joking is a form of communication, that doesn't mean it's appropriate for the environment you're in or for the people you're around. That is why it's so important for puppies to stay with their litter until aprox. 8 weeks and why after that we want to ensure that they are getting healthy socialization, a lot, especially until they are 4 months old. By utilizing key developmental periods they can learn better communication skills and coping skills. If you dog is having a lot of problems one way or another when interacting with other dogs, I really recommend having a professional help you through that process. That way you don't have to worry about them picking up wrong skills.

Recommended reading:

"How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves" Sophia Yin

"Don't Shoot the Dog" Karen Pryor


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