Thursday, April 28, 2011

5 Dog Training Myths Debunked!

Prong collars, dominance theory and puppies, oh my! With dog training television shows, books, and the internet, pet owners are inundated with a plethora of training information on a daily basis that is enough to make anyone’s head swim. Unsure of which methods to adopt? We’ve tackled some of the confusing theories you might encounter.

Myth: Puppies younger than 6 months of age can't be trained.
This concept took hold back when collar corrections were all the rage and punishment was acceptable. Modern dog training relies heavily on positive reinforcement which can easily be applied to a young puppy. Puppies are eager little learners and though their attention spans may be short, they are easily motivated by healthy treats, attention or play. Set aside short chunks of time to teach a desired behavior several times a day and keep providing those rewards!

Myth: All interactions with dogs are either dominant or submissive.
In recent years, dominance theory has become a bit overblown. Dominance theory classifies interactions between dogs and owners as either dominant or submissive. However, we feel that this approach is too simplistic and doesn't take into account the myriad dog behaviors that have little to do with dominance or submission. If your canine exits the door in front of you before you go on a leisurely walk, that doesn’t mean your dog is trying to dominate or control you. Your dog is probably just excited to get going! If your dog acts out in an uncontrolled way like eating scraps off the table or pulling on his or her leash for walks, simply teach the correct behavior and reward rather than blaming it on dominance.

Myth: An old dog can’t learn new tricks.
This is an old adage that many people choose to believe when they experience training hurdles. Just because you adopt a mature dog or your pet has carried some bad habits into adulthood doesn't mean training is a lost cause. Treat your mature dog as though it were a puppy; start from square one. If your dog isn't housebroken, begin by taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom and reward afterwards. Teaching new skills and reinforcing old ones is beneficial to dogs at any age and is a wonderful way to keep your dog’s mind young.

Myth: Your dog will seek revenge if you leave him alone.
Though guilt, revenge, and payback are all actions and emotions that exist far too often in the human world, they have little or nothing to do with the realm of our furry four-pawed friends. If you leave your dog alone for a long period of time and return to find the contents of your garbage strewn across the kitchen floor, rest assured that it was not done with vindictive or malicious intent. Our lovable pups are blissfully unaware of those turbulent emotions. Instead, your dog is likely to be acting out in response to anxiety and boredom. If your dog has issues being alone, refer to our previous blog post for some helpful tips.

Myth: Crates should only be used for punishment.
Just because a crate has bars on it does not make it a prison. Crates are an excellent tool for potty training, quiet rest time, and are essential for traveling. If you only use a crate as punishment, it will be very difficult to use the crate when other situations arise, like traveling cross country or even using it as a safe haven for your pet during a thunderstorm. Make your crate comfy with blankets, familiar with toys, and appetizing with treats, food, and water, and your dog will associate pleasant thoughts with the crate. This way, if you are having guests over and don't want your dog getting underfoot, you already have a secure and comfortable place to let Fido rest for a while. 

Though it is great that our dog-loving society has no shortage of training information, it can certainly make the training process a mystifying one. Morris K9 Campus is dedicated to staying on top of the latest training tips and techniques while simultaneously incorporating tried and true strategies that have proven effective over the years. If you feel overwhelmed or perplexed by the practice of dog training, consider visiting Morris K9 Campus for guidance on the training process. Our motto is that a well-trained dog is a happy one! 

What dog training myths have you discovered? Which techniques have proven particularly effective for you and your dog?


  1. Positive reinforcement has done well with me, but since I'm a terrier, my bark cannot be trained out of me, BOL!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  2. Myth: you should physically correct your dog when it growls in order to teach it that growling is bad.