17 Common Myths About Dog Training

By Judith Aleguen | Updated on Jan 8, 2023

17 Common Myths About Dog Training

There are a lot of misconceptions and incorrect assumptions about training our furry friends, which can ultimately result in less successful dog training. It's safe to assume that for any given dog problem, you'd get as many suggestions for solutions as there are people to ask. Have no fear! This article will help you dispel widespread misconceptions about training canines!

1. Dogs can't learn new tricks after a certain age.

It's a common misconception that canines of a certain age can no longer be taught new tricks or routines. It's not impossible to train an old dog to do new tricks. Throughout their lives, dogs can continue to expand their intelligence and knowledge base thanks to their natural curiosity.

Due to their enhanced focus and attention span, older dogs have been found to pick up new tricks much more quickly than their younger counterparts. So don't think your dog is too old to learn something new!

2. Training a dog is all about punishment.

The use of punishment is not the only option for training a dog, although it can sometimes be effective. However, some evidence shows that training based on this discipline may be counterproductive. A dog's fear or aggression may be exacerbated by punishment, which can lead to even more severe behavior issues.

Trainers should also use positive reinforcement rather than punishment alone. Positive behaviors can be encouraged by rewarding the animal with food, attention, and affection. The trainer-dog relationship is strengthened through this method, resulting in longer-lasting success.

3. You have to be the alpha to train a dog.

Some forms of training, especially those that emphasize the importance of being the "alpha" or pack leader, have contributed to the spread of this myth. The reasoning is that a dog cannot be trained if it does not respect its leader.

However, modern trainers have primarily debunked this notion. In contrast to wolves, dog packs are not organized hierarchically. They are independent thinkers who can take direction from anyone. Trainers shouldn't try to dominate their dogs but instead, focus on creating a bond of trust and rewarding good behavior.

4. Training a dog is only for experts.

Another misconception is that only professionals should attempt to train a dog. A professional trainer's help is beneficial, but anyone can train their dog at home. With time and effort, any dog owner can teach their pet the fundamentals of obedience.

Books, online tutorials, and in-person courses are just some of the many options for getting started. Don't be scared to train your dog without a professional's help; you might be impressed with what you can do!

5. Aggressive dogs cannot be trained.

This is probably the most widely believed myth about canines. While some dogs may display aggressive tendencies, this results from a bad upbringing or medical problems. Dogs benefit greatly from human interaction and praise.

Aggression is a normal, adaptive response to fear or the need to defend oneself or one's territory, both of which can be seen in dogs. Some causes of aggression include heredity, upbringing, behavioral conditioning, and lack of socialization.

A dog's aggression is often preventable or manageable with proper training, socialization, and management. Aggression is dangerous for humans and dogs, so it's crucial to seek the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist if it becomes a problem.

6. Only positive reinforcement is effective.

In most cases, using positive reinforcement to train a dog is the most efficient and kind method of instilling new habits and altering undesirable ones—positive reinforcement training aid in forging stronger bonds between dogs and their human caretakers.

However, positive reinforcement isn't the only practical training method. Correction of dangerous or aggressive canine behavior sometimes requires the use of punishment. Punishment should be used on dogs only as a last resort because of the anxiety and fear it causes.

7. Dogs only listen to commands when they are hungry.

A hungry dog is more likely to obey commands, but some will still obey their owners' commands out of pure enthusiasm. Dogs are brilliant and friendly pets that can pick up on and respond to various cues and commands. It's crucial to figure out what motivates your dog specifically, as this could vary from dog to dog.

8. Training a dog is a one-time event

If you want to have a well-trained dog, you need to put in the time to train it every day. In other words, training your dog is an ongoing process. Training a dog is not a one-and-done activity but rather an ongoing process that involves introducing new behaviors, reinforcing existing ones, and modifying problematic ones.

If you want to keep your dog from becoming bored and destructive, regular training sessions are a great way to keep them busy. The best way to train your dog is to spend time with it daily, whether in formal training sessions or less formal ways during everyday activities like walks and playtime.

9. Training a dog is only necessary for obedience.

Even though obedience training is crucial, problematic behaviors like aggression, excessive barking, chewing, digging, and separation anxiety can also be improved through training. It can also aid in bonding with your dog and their socialization.

Training can also improve communication between you and your dog, increase the dog's safety and comfort while participating in activities like walking, playing, and traveling, and reduce the likelihood that the dog will exhibit negative behaviors. The earlier you begin training your dog, the better.

10. Dogs can outgrow all their bad behavior.

In most cases, a dog will outgrow undesirable behaviors if they are dealt with and corrected early in life. It's worth remembering, though, that every canine has its quirks. Aggression and anxiety, for example, may be more difficult to change without proper training.

11. Some dogs are just untrainable.

Although some canines may be more challenging to train due to differences in disposition or learning style, most dogs can be taught a wide range of behaviors with time, effort, and the right approach.

However, it's also important to remember that some canine behaviors can be more challenging to address than others, depending on the dog's age, background, and other factors. Nonetheless, any dog can be taught new tricks and altered its old ones if you go about it correctly.

12. Using aversive products can make training easier.

Aversive training methods or products, like choke chains, prong collars, or electric shock collars, are effective in teaching a dog a new behavior in the short term.

Some evidence suggests that these techniques can have unintended consequences, such as making the dog more aggressive, fearful, and stressed out. Remember that every dog is an individual, and the best approach for one may backfire on another.

13. Crate training is unsuitable for dogs since it restricts movement.

Crate training can effectively teach a dog to be alone for brief periods or housebreaking a puppy. Crates can help keep dogs from getting into mischief or having accidents when their owners aren't around. However, crate training must be used properly. It would help if you didn't confine your dog to its crate for long periods without providing it with sufficient exercise and socialization.

The ideal size for a dog crate allows the pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down easily. Adding a comfy bed or pad and regular mealtimes inside the crate will go a long way toward establishing a positive association between the crate and eating.

Start by putting your dog in the crate for just a few minutes at a time, and for several days or weeks, work up to leaving them there for more extended periods. Remember that crate training should not replace your dog's regular playtime and socialization.

14. Put your dog's note into the poop/pee to prevent potty incidents.

If you want to discipline or punish your dog, you shouldn't put its nose in its waste. This method lacks effectiveness. Dogs have trouble making the connection between past behavior and the punishment given for it at a later time. A dog's fear, confusion, or anxiety will likely increase due to this punishment, and it may grow distrustful of you.

15. Training should be food motivated all the time.

Many dogs can be encouraged to learn new behaviors by being given treats. But it's important to remember that not all dogs are motivated by food and that other rewards, like toys, praise, or play, may be more effective for some dogs.

Use a wide range of rewards in your training sessions, and pay attention to what motivates your dog specifically so your dog is less likely to become bored or frustrated with the training process. They will be more likely to stay interested and engaged throughout.

16. Dogs hate training.

It's a myth that all dogs despise being trained. Many canines enjoy working alongside their human companions and learning new skills. Remember that each dog is unique; some may be more difficult to train than others. Dogs can vary significantly in personality, with some being more independent and having trouble focusing, while others are more anxious and fearful.

When attempting to teach new behaviors or alter existing ones, it is essential to remember that training can be difficult for both the dog and the owner. It is vital to remain patient and consistent throughout the training process, as ups and downs are to be expected. If you're having difficulty training your dog, it may be beneficial to consult a professional trainer or behaviorist who can assess your dog's unique needs and recommend an appropriate training regimen.

17. Dogs stop listening if they hate you.

This myth that dogs will ignore their masters once they despise them is invalid. Dogs lack the capacity for hatred, but they can become agitated when confronted with certain people or situations, but their reactions are rarely motivated by malice. The most common causes of a dog's failure to respond to its owner's commands or the emergence of problematic behaviors are its feelings of stress or discomfort or its lack of understanding of what is expected.

In any case, a professional trainer or behaviorist should be consulted to determine an effective training program for the dog. A dog's behavior can usually be changed with proper training. Make sure to create a positive reinforcement training plan for your dog if you need help housebreaking him or correcting any other problematic behaviors. Now, we hope you are ready to train your pup!