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Published August 30, 2021

The top 10 myths in dog training

  • Tips & Tricks
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Dog forums, Facebook, Instagram, books, dog trainers, veterinarians, trade journals, gossip magazines, TV shows, etc. the information market on dogs is huge.

Whether that’s good or bad, we’ll leave that to one side. It is important to us that you ALWAYS question everything you read, hear and see and NEVER act without thinking about it. Whether expert or layman, knowledge about dogs is no more static than knowledge about our own species, so we ask you not to see the following myths set in stone, but as food for thought.

The top 10 current dog myths:

Puppies have puppy protection.

The fact is, there is a kind of puppy protection in dogs‘ own social groups. One’s own genetic material is protected, but not foreign genetic material. Foreign puppies can even be seen as competition in dogs, which in the worst case can also lead to an attack. If the puppy is no longer in the family group (i.e. mother, father, and siblings), no form of puppy protection applies. Strange bitches can react differently to puppies, depending on the stage of the cycle, so here again, there is separate caution!

Dogs should never win tug-of-war games.

A common myth is that winning tug games gives the dog a sense of superiority over its owner. This is not entirely true! If you and your dog have a good relationship or even a bond, then your dog understands that it is a game and not a taking away of a resource. A play-out game always consists of alternating between winning and losing. Why should your dog always be the loser? By winning, your dog’s self-esteem is confirmed and at the same time, he associates a positive emotion with you and this game. So let him triumph sometimes!

Your dog must always walk behind you and may only enter new rooms/areas after you.

Scientific field research on wolves (e.g. Bloch) shows that running positions and status rank are not the same or dependent on each other. There may be very different reasons why one animal runs ahead and another brings up the rear. Examples would be Strength, better endurance, courage, or curiosity. So it doesn’t give you an advantage in your power position if you always let your dog run behind you. However, rituals that your dog only leaves the front door after you are quite reasonable from the point of view of safety for your dog. It is important to remember that your position of power has nothing to do with your position towards your dog.

Rewarding with treats should be avoided.

A contentious issue with many dog trainers. We would like to give you some food for thought on this: When is it worth it for your dog to make a change in his behavior? This question is individual for each dog, but also for each situation you are in with your dog. In the word „reward“ there is the word „reward“. A behavior change is always executed only if the change results in an improvement for the dog. So if your dog does not like treats, then it is not worth changing his behavior for that. If he likes treats, it is certainly a good incentive to improve his situation. But you can also reward your dog with play or affection. Especially because food is finite and your dog will eventually get tired of it. Tip from our trainer team: Find two rewards that are rewarding for your dog and combine them. You know your dog best!

Old dogs can’t learn anything anymore.

True to the saying, „You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.“ This would be a nice excuse for all those who take in a dog at an advanced age, but it’s not true. Ever heard of „renewable cells“? Especially cells in the hippocampus (learning center) are incredibly plastic, i.e. they renew and change, therefore even an old dog can learn new things and is still able to be trained. This does not mean that it is an easy way, especially with undesirable behaviors, with which the dog has already had success several times, can be very stubborn and you should consult a trainer. Feel free to contact us with such concerns in our trainer chat.

They’ll sort it out between themselves.

We hope at this point that it is no longer a myth, but that this sentence is now ringing alarm bells for all dog owners.

For all those who are still stuck on this sentence: What should they regulate?

We hope it is clear to everyone that you can, and should intervene in a dispute between dogs if the situation gets out of hand. Apart from the fact that a small 4 kg dog can hardly stand up to a 40 kg dog. As a reliable bonding partner, it is your duty to protect your dog.

As a reliable bond partner, it is your duty to stand by your dog as a safe haven in unsafe situations. You are responsible for your dog!

Dogs must always be friendly to each other otherwise, they have a behavior problem.

Ok. Question: Do you like everyone? Have you ever fought with anyone? Why should our dogs be like every other dog? There are also sympathies and also not with our fur noses. It is important to know that it also depends on the situation. Age, health, gender, hormone status, all things that can turn friends into enemies. Observe your dog and you will quickly realize with whom he can and with whom not. Having a few friends is nice, but being friends with everyone on the dog run can also be quite stressful.

Dogs are not allowed in bed with you otherwise, you will make him the boss!

A ranking problem can be based on many reasons, but it does not arise from letting your dog sleep with you. Dogs usually choose to jump on the bed or sofa because they find it just as comfortable as you do. As a rule, lying in contact with your dog even promotes your bond! So there’s no drama as long as you want your dog to keep you company in bed or on the sofa. A recent study even found that women sleep better when a dog sleeps in their bed. If you still want your dog to sleep somewhere else, it helps to make this place extra comfortable for him, e.g. by hiding food or chewing items there at irregular intervals.

A chest harness is better than a collar.

This is a topic about which many veterinarians and dog trainers certainly argue. We don’t even want to talk much about that here, because we’re not vets either! Fact is, the chest harness was originally used for dogs to pull e.g. a sled. It is also a fact that a harness distributes the pulling weight evenly over the body and a collar does not. Thus, the collar exerts a force on the cervical spine at a high pull. If your dog pulls strongly, it is up to you whether you simply train it off, then a collar will not cause any damage to your dog or whether you decide to put on a harness. It doesn’t mean that you can’t train your dog to pull with a harness. It is your dog, you decide. We don’t want to judge better and worse here, our trainers use both!

Dogs that growl are aggressive.

Sometimes we humans just have to let go of our need for harmony and admit that our dogs, too, are allowed to express displeasure. How else are they supposed to show us that they don’t like something? They cannot speak! Growling and baring of teeth is a warning that another dog or we are doing something that causes displeasure in our dog. This can be a pain, undercutting of distance, etc. It mustn’t turn into something more! Learning to read the dog is very important. If you are unsure, you should consult a trainer! Feel free to send us videos in our trainer chat of a situation where you would like to have an assessment.

Those were our top 10 myths about dogs. We hope you were able to get a good overview, if you want more information on individual topics, take a look at the Pupy App. There you will get regular tips for you and your dog and you can contact our professional dog trainers if you have any questions.

We wish you a lot of fun with your dog

Your Pupy Team

Written by:

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Sarah MertesZertifizierter Trainer