Dogs are humans’ oldest non-human companion – the two have been living together for at least 11,000 years. Dogs are known to be the first animal species to be domesticated by humans.
Even though humans have learned a lot about dog behavior and how to mold it the way they want, over this long period of time, there is still plenty of wrong information and myths circulating around. With an ever-increasing number of pet dogs – there are 90 million in the US alone– it is essential that these myths are put to rest so humans and dogs can enjoy a healthy and happy relationship. While we cannot address all the myths about dog training in this blog post, we aim to address some of the most prevalent ones.
Let get started!
Myth # 1 – You Have to Let Your Pup be 6 Months Old before Starting Training
The Fact – Dog training should ideally start at 7 to 8 weeks.
Dogs, just like humans, begin learning from their surroundings and people around them quickly after birth. And just like children, pups are quick learners. Delaying training means you’re giving your pup the chance to develop habits on their own, which won’t necessarily be the desired ones. So, don’t delay the training. 7 to 8 weeks old pups are capable of learning basic obedience commands, walking on leash, and socializing with new people and pets. They can also be potty trained.
Myth # 2 – Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Doesn’t Work Once You Stop Giving Treats
The Fact – Positive reinforcement dog training, if done the right way, involves phasing out material rewards and treats and using intangible rewards, like praise, cuddle, attention, and petting. The right kind of positive training also involves manipulating different types of rewards, so dogs do not associate positive behaviors with specific things.
Myth # 3 – Rub Your Dog’s Nose in the Mess to Stop Potty Accidents
The Fact – It doesn’t work the way people claim it to; rubbing your dog’s nose into the mess won’t help them realize that it’s a punishment for the mistake they just did. If anything this will do is to make your dog afraid of you and make house training even more difficult.
Myth # 4 – A Guilty Look on Dog’s Face Means They’re Aware and Guilty of Their Mistakes
The Fact – Dogs have very poor short-term memory; it doesn’t even take them a couple of minutes to forget an incident, or in this case, something they have done. Don’t mistake the guilty look on their face for their realization of the mistake or wrong behavior. Dogs’ guilty appearance is nothing more than a response to the change in your body language or voice tone, which they’re quick to judge. So, the next time your dog does something wrong and then appears cowered with sad eyes, flattened ears, and tucked tail, don’t fall for it. He is not guilty of what he did!
Training a dog is not as simple and straightforward a process as it may appear. The widespread prevalence of wrong information makes it even more difficult, as many dog owners are unable to figure out what tactics are right and which ones are, in fact, harmful for the training process, dog’s personality, and the relationship between you two. If you find yourself in a difficult spot with your dog training, do not hesitate to consult a professional dog trainer.