Dog training is an essential part of owning a pet. It helps both the pet and the parent to interact with each other in a healthy and happy manner. But, there are a lot of misconceptions about how dog training works and what methods are most effective.
It’s important to remember that dog training is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each dog is unique, and a tailored approach is necessary for effective training.
Every pet parent wants a well-behaved dog, and proper training is crucial to achieve this goal. However, there are several common misconceptions surrounding dog training that can hinder the process. In this blog post, we will debunk the common dog training myths to help pet owners separate fact from fiction.
Top dog training myths
Myth 1: Dogs cannot be trained after a certain age
Many pet owners believe that dogs cannot be trained after a certain age. However, this is far from the truth. While training a puppy is easier, older dogs can also be trained with the right approach. Some trainers find older dogs are often easier to train in some ways because they have a longer attention span and are calmer than younger dogs.
It’s important to keep in mind that older dogs might require a different training approach than younger dogs. Older dogs may require more time and patience in the training process. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, can often be effective in training older dogs. You can teach an old dog new tricks!
Myth 2: Some dog breeds cannot be trained
Many people believe that certain dog breeds cannot be trained, but this is purely a myth. All dog breeds can be trained with the right approach, using reward-based methods tailored to the breed’s specific characteristics. For instance, herding dogs may require more physical exercise during training, while guard dogs may require more socialisation.
Contrary to misconception, desi dogs are easy to train owing to their keen sense of alertness and adaptability.
Myth 3: Punishment is the best way to train a dog
Some pet owners believe that harsh punishment is the best way to train a dog showing bad behaviour. However, this is not only counter productive but can also be harmful to the dog. So watch out for trainers recommending a shock collar as mandatory in dog training sessions.
Positive reinforcement like rewarding good behaviour tend to be more effective than punishing. It also helps build a stronger bond between the dog and its owner.
Myth 4: Professional dog trainers are not necessary
While some pet parents can successfully train their dogs on their own, professional training can provide you with valuable insights and techniques that can make training easier and more effective. A professional dog trainer can provide valuable guidance and support, especially when it comes to handling specific behavioural issues. They can also help ensure that the dog learns in a safe environment, minimising any potential harm or confusion.
Myth 5: It’s impossible to train a dog with behavioural issues
Behavioural issues such as aggression, separation anxiety, or excessive barking, can make the training process more challenging. However, these behaviours can be modified with proper training, patience, and consistency. There are several training techniques available, such as desensitisation, counter-conditioning, and positive reinforcement that a professional dog trainer can use to effectively modify the dog’s behaviour.
Myth 6: The alpha dog myth – the idea that you need to be the “alpha” or dominant over your dog to train it properly.
The idea of asserting dominance over dogs using the “alpha wolf” approach has been debunked. Dogs and wolves want to be part of a loving family with structure and safety. Despite this, some dog trainers still promote the “dominance theory” approach to gain respect from dogs.
Myth 7: You should train your dog on your terms.
Dogs thrive on routine and structure. Therefore, it is crucial to train your dog based on their natural behaviour patterns, learning style, and personality. Understanding your dog’s unique needs and preferences is key to successful training.
Myth 8: Dogs understand English.
Dogs respond to tone and body language more than the actual words you say. While they may learn a few words, it is essential to focus on your tone and actions to communicate with your dog effectively. English, Hindi, German, they are all the same to a dog… (with French being an enigma just as for us).
Myth 9: Dogs will automatically obey their owners.
Training is essential to establish a healthy relationship between you and your dog. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to creating a well-behaved and obedient dog.
Myth 10: Dogs are naturally aggressive towards strangers.
Aggression in dogs is often a result of fear, anxiety, or lack of socialisation. Proper training can help prevent aggression towards strangers and other dogs.
Dog training requires patience, consistency, and a willingness to learn. By understanding and debunking common myths, you can provide your furry friend with the best possible training experience. Remember to focus on positive reinforcement, establish clear communication, and tailor your training approach to your dog’s unique needs and personality.
Proper dog training is one of the most essential aspects of caring for your pet. Separating fact from fiction and debunking the common myths surrounding dog training can help pet owners achieve their training goals effectively.
Dog Training FAQ
What are the most effective dog training techniques?
The most effective dog training techniques use positive reinforcement, reward-based methods that reinforce good behavior.
Will punishment-based techniques harm my dog?
Yes, punishment-based techniques can harm your dog and can cause trust issues between you and your pet. Positive reinforcement techniques are always recommended.
Can all dogs be trained to do anything?
While different breeds have their own unique characteristics, with the right approach, most dogs can be trained to perform various tasks.
How long does it usually take to train a dog?
Training time can vary depending on many factors, such as the dog’s age, breed, temperament, and the training methods used. Consistency and patience are essential in the training process, and it may take weeks or even months to see desired results.
With the right approach, and positive training, any dog can be trained to be a well-behaved companion. If you need any help with dog training, don’t hesitate to contact a professional trainer.
One of the common dog training myths is that one can achieve better results by increasing the value of the reinforcement alone. However, there are other ways to interfere with teaching the dog. Here are some of the terms used to explain this concept:
1. Splitting – breaking the task down into smaller pieces. e.g. teaching a dog to hop up onto a stool.
2. Three D’s – distraction, duration, and distance.
3. Reinforcement histories – expectation and consistency are essential. The reinforcement history has made pulling a really valuable behaviour to the dog.
4. Jack-potting – deliberately giving an extra special treat, where you would normally only give a regular one for doing a behaviour.