Even more dog training myths

Dog training myths

Here we go with another round of dog training myths and misconceptions. There seems to be no end to them, so here we go again!

Myth # 1 - Dogs can be spiteful

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this one…

Spite is more complex a process than most people realize. In a nutshell it is one doing the opposite of what is desired, On Purpose, in order to inconvenience or otherwise punish someone else from some level of malevolence.

Let’s break that down. A dog would have to know what is being asked of them. Then choose the “wrong” thing deliberately to get back at you because they WANT to punish you.

Sounds a little nutty doesn’t it?

Myth #2 - Once a dog has tasted blood he will become vicious and aggressive

This is an interesting myth. It’s not true at all. But I feel like I know how such a myth could have come to be. 

Dogs who break skin due to fear or aggression, often will try the same tactic again if they think it worked. After a person is bitten by a dog the dynamics of the relationship change. Of course you don’t want to be bitten again, so you may change your patters and habits simply for self preservation. Dogs will notice this. In their mind they perhaps got closer to their own goals, and so biting is put on the list of things that work out for the better for the dog. Thus they are likely to do it again or try it again. 

This has nothing to do with the dog tasting blood. While not the most sanitary, if a dog licks a wound, or raw meat, or something similar where there is blood present, you don’t have to worry about some switch flipping in their brain turning them into a raging lunatic.

Myth #3 - Training tools, like prong collars or no pull harnesses, train your dog for you

Training is the only thing that trains a dog. Yes tools can work, but not on their own. They must be paired with the correct training for benefits to be lasting and worth a damn. For example I’m sure all of you know someone who has tried every tool under the sun to try and stop pulling with their dog, but their dog still, after years, pulls them or doesn’t have a clean walk. It might even be you. 

There is danger in using some types of training tools without proper experience. Dogs can easily develop fearful associations, superstitions, and other negative responses to tools being used improperly. They can also make issues worse, by adding stress to situations that are already tense and stressful. There are even some tools that can cause permanent or lasting physical damage to your dog and that should be avoided for training purposes(choke chains).

Myth #4 - Getting a new dog will fix issues with your existing one

Just no. 

This is a HUGE reason why many people get a second dog. They think their dog is lonely and needs a play mate. Or that he’s anxious alone. Or will feel more comfortable with another dog. This is NOT the case. Please do not get a dog for your existing dog. 

Bad habits, emotional imbalances in dogs, they are catching. Now instead of one barky dog, you have two. Instead of one anxious pup, you’ve got two. Guess what, when it comes to training them, you’ve got about triple the work. And god forbid you’re dealing with dog fights. 

It is not a good idea to get a new dog if your existing dog has known problems. Those issues should be addressed with training beforehand. Otherwise it’s like having a second child to try to help the first one. Not going to work out how you’d like. 

Myth #5 - Restricting your dog's freedoms will make them be better dogs

Nope. 

Your dog will not come out of their kennel any more likely to please you. There is a very high probability that the dog has zero clue why he was put in to the kennel in the first place, other than the whole experience was negative. Without training and the clear ability to communicate with your dog, there is no way for them to connect the dots and guess their way to better behavior. 

Management and restriction might be a part of a larger training plan, but alone it’s not teaching your dog anything. And besides is that really the kind of relationship that you want to have with your dog? Do what I want or else? I know that’s not who I want to be for my dogs.

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