There’s so much misinformation, myths, and downright lies going around in the online dog training world that I think it’s time to clear some things up.
So, let’s not waste time and get right into the 10 biggest myths of training dogs.
Lie #1: Dog training requires lots of time
Just absolutely is not true. If you know what you are doing and have proper instruction, then training your dog can actually be very simple. You don’t need to spend hours working on dog training tricks or attending dog obedience classes.
Those methods are from a time long past. Today, we know that those are largely a waste of both you and your dog’s time. If you are spending hours and hours getting nowhere then the answer is not more time but changing your methods.
Dogs are not the complicated animals some people want to make them out to be. They should be walked and exercised once per day, but you do not need to devote hours each night to be able to have a happy, obedient dog.
Lie #2: Dogs can only have one pack leader
Becoming your dog’s pack leader is very important, but that does not mean that you are the only human in your home who can be seen as one. Dogs will respect all humans in the home as pack leaders if you teach them that way.
I would go as far as to suggest that you should train your dog to respect all humans as pack leaders so that commands will be obeyed regardless of who is in your home. The idea that a dog may only have one master is simply false.
Dogs will respect someone who seems to know what they’re doing while still being calm and gentle, and will retreat or become aggressive with those who don’t.
Lie #3: You must go to puppy school
Puppy schools are not nearly as effective as most people seem to believe. And when you factor in the sky high prices some of them charge, they become an even bigger waste of time.
I know, you’re eager to train your puppy and it seems like a good idea so why not, right? But what you’ll find in these local classes is that they’re frequently overbooked, and you’ll spend more time each week sitting and socializing rather than learning.
While that may be an enjoyable time, at the end of your 4 weeks (or however long) you’ll realize you and your puppy have learned nothing. Yeah, you’ve “graduated” from the puppy class, but you’re lucky if you learned anything more than a sit command.
The most important things you need to know about teaching your dog to behave will not be covered.
Lie #4: The best dog training lessons are expensive
One of the best dog training sites around (ran by an excellent trainer named Dan) offers an entire free dog training video series. So saying that you must spend a fortune to train your dog obviously cannot be true.
But believe me, I totally understand where this myth comes from! Far too many people have spent obscene amounts of money, only to get very poor advice in return. Simply because they have no idea on where to go.
They’ve done pre-puppy school, puppy school, dog obedience classes, visited “dog behaviorists,” and yet they still have an unruly nightmare of a time dealing with their dog. They’ve just not been shown where to look.
If you’re one of those people, and I’m going to say you are since you’re reading this, why not check out Dan’s free video series?
Lie #5: Training a dog with positive reinforcement is the only option
Now, I want to make it clear: I am not saying positive reinforcement is BAD. In fact, I believe it’s great! It’s just not the complete solution that I see many dog trainers making it out to be.
Sometimes you also need to know how to put a stop to your dog’s unwanted behaviors. And the crucial thing to understand is that you must learn to gain your dog’s respect in a gentle, loving way.
Which definitely does not mean shouting at or hurting your dog, but you do need to be doing more than just rewarding their good actions.
It’s like teaching a child. You praise when they behave well, but when they behave badly sometimes you need to put them in a timeout or something similar that will make them think twice about misbehaving again.
Positive reinforcement, like tasty dog treats or giving them a favorite toy, has its place in dog training. The problem is just that it’s normally used incorrectly and far too much, which creates more problems for you than it will solve.
Lie #6: You should never use training treats
Food training treats used at the correct time and in the right way can actually be incredibly effective in your arsenal of dog training tools. The problem is that many people do not know how to do this without creating more problems.
There are important things to know about when to use them, and how to taper them off over time so that they do not become a crutch that you must always turn to when you want your dog to listen.
Lie #7: Training old dogs just isn’t possible
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”
We’ve all heard that one, right? Well, while you may have heard it from your mother, your father, your grandfather, the guy down the street… it’s just not true. Dogs are ready to learn and change at any age.
Obviously, it’s easier to teach a dog good behavior than it is to correct bad behavior that has been instilled in them over time, but oftentimes older dogs are only waiting for you to show them way.
Give them the gift of early retirement by letting them understand that you are the one in charge. This allows them to just switch off and relax, making for a much happier elder dog.
Lie #8: Training your dog is all about hard work and repetition
There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything. Usually, the wrong way is never going to work no matter how hard you try. So clearly then there is no point in spending hours and hours on methods that won’t work.
But train your dog the right way and often they will respond in a matter of minutes. You need to understand and appreciate that training your dog isn’t about how hard you work, but about doing things the right way.
Dogs are much smarter animals than we give them credit for, and will listen to your direction if they see you as the pack leader who speaks to them in a way they can understand.
Someone who successfully trains their dog works smarter, not harder.
Lie #9: Training small dogs is easier than training large dogs
Size just does not matter when it comes to dog training. Training large dogs can be very easy and quick, just as training small dogs can be a difficult, time-consuming chore.
It all comes down to knowing the proper way to go about things as you train your dog, no matter their size. Just like people, you cannot assume things about their behavior just by looking at them.
Lie #10: Destructive dogs act like that because they’re stupid
Most destructive dogs, or just dogs that cause trouble in general, are actually very smart. Usually it is the clever and determined dogs that cause us the most headaches, as they just won’t give up.
This where you need to work smarter, rather than harder, and learn a bit more about what’s really going on inside the heads of our wonderful doggies.
If you feel like you’ve been missing a crucial piece of the puzzle, that your time spent training your dog does nothing but make you more frustrated, that your dog is not listening, then it’s time to end the struggle and try something new.
Work smart and learn fast by taking a few minutes to watch Doggy Dan’s free dog obedience video series by clicking here. You’re also free to continue with the status quo and embrace the lies you’ve been told about training your dog. But I know what I would choose. 🙂