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The Five Most Common Dog-Training Misconceptions

If you've had a dog or have been around dogs long enough, chances are you've heard at least one of these... We're here to set the record straight on the five most common misconceptions that we hear in the dog-training field!

  1. Sticking your hand in your dog's food bowl will prevent him/her from becoming food aggressive. FALSE. In fact, this can create food aggression. Would you like it if someone stuck their hand in your plate of food while you were eating? Probably not! The same holds true for dogs. While some dogs will tolerate it, others will think you are trying to take their food, and they might have something to say about it! There are lots of other, more effective ways to prevent and/or address food aggression. If your dog is not showing signs of food aggression, let them eat in peace and, chances are, you won't have any issues develop!

  2. Shoving your puppy's nose in his pee/poop will help with house-training. FALSE. It can make your puppy scared of you, however, so we definitely don't recommend it. If you missed your puppy's accident and have to show them their accident after the fact, you're not house-training correctly, and it's not your puppy's fault. Keep eyes on your puppy at all times so that you can interrupt them and rush them outside if they start to pee/poop. This will send a much clearer message.

  3. Puppies/dogs are spiteful. FALSE. Owners will occasionally tell us that their dog did something out of spite. For example, "My dog was outside for 15 minutes, and he came inside and immediately peed in the floor. He was being spiteful because I wouldn't go outside to play with him." As much as we love dogs and think they're the greatest four-legged creatures on the planet, we hate to say it, but, they just aren't that smart. They're truly not smart enough to be spiteful, and there's usually a very simple explanation for why dogs do what they do. In this owner's case, their dog was probably too busy smelling things and enjoying all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors to remember that he needed to potty. Once he got inside in a less-stimulating environment, it dawned on him that he had to pee REALLY bad and, well, you know the rest....

  4. Alpha-rolling dominant dogs will show them who is boss. FALSE. While we do feel that dogs should respect their owner's authority, alpha-rolling your dog is not how you assert that authority. In fact, with a truly dominant dog (there are very few of these in reality), it is the fastest way to get you bit! Fighting fire with fire just doesn't work, and there are so many more effective ways to train your dog that don't involve physical confrontation... The results are much better too! Do you want to have to alpha-roll your dog every time he doesn't sit when you told him to? With proper training, you won't need to "assert your dominance." Your dog will simply follow your lead.

  5. Old dogs can't learn new tricks. FALSE. There is no age that is "too old" for training! Older dogs are usually just a little more "set in their ways" and may require a little extra time to "get things," but they love learning just as much as puppies... They tend to be a bit more patient too!

Have you heard about a dog-training myth/technique and are wondering if it's true or false? Let us know in the comments, and we'll tell you!

Happy Training!

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