Good Doggie! Myths about Training Man’s Best Friend

Bringing a dog, especially a puppy, into a family can be a time of joy, and of hard work. Many hours, patience and dedication are required to train your new family member especially when he doesn't always see things the way you might. Your new dog will generally want to please you and be rewarded for good behavior, but will need good training in order to do that. When training a dog, look past some myths and realize that man’s best friend, even the most squirrely of the bunch, can be taught to be a very good dog.

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MYTH: Shouting and Loud Talking are Required

A dog does not need to be shouted at to do the commanded behavior. The animal must understand what is expected of him and this is taught through a reward system such as treats, play time with a favorite toy or snuggling. Words said repetitiously and in conjunction with the expected behavior gain more results than screaming or shouting at the dog.

MYTH: Bad Dogs will Always Be Bad Dogs

A dog who is exhibiting bad behavior can be taught to change. A bad dog becomes a good dog through the patience of a loving owner who takes the time to train him.

MYTH: More Than One Dog is Twice the Trouble

If one dog is difficult, two must be worse, right? Wrong. Often, not much more work is required when lovingly training two dogs. The dogs are great entertainment for each other too and keep one another occupied during dinner or study time.

MYTH: Not All Dogs Can Be Trained

With time and understanding of a dog’s personality, an owner can confidently train a dog to behave in the expected ways. Dogs want to please their owners and once a dog understands that an owner holds the keys to food, love, water, play time and a comfortable sleeping place, a dog will do whatever that owner asks. The only exception is if the dog has a physical limitation or a neurological condition that prevents him from understanding commands and behaving appropriately.

MYTH: A Jumping Dog is Showing Dominance

Dogs do not jump to show dominance. They jump to play or to get closer to a person’s mouth. Puppy’s jump up to their parents’ mouths for food and will similarly want to lick their owner’s mouths. Look at the body language of a dog when he jumps to realize it is not an aggressive action. Usually the ears are down with the eyes slightly closed to show relaxation. Jumping from dogs is a greeting, but owners can train their dogs not to jump by ignoring the behavior and not rewarding the dog with love until the jumping stops.

MYTH: Physical Corrections are the Only Way to Train a Dog

When a dog jumps, some owners knee him in the chest to get him to stop. This physical correction does not teach the dog not to jump, but it teaches him to be wary of humans. Physical corrections such as grabbing a dog’s neck should not be used. Verbal corrections, withholding of treats and using a reward-based system are better options.

MYTH: Dogs Should Not Receive Food Rewards

One of a dog’s favorite things is food. Compared with the love of his owner or playing with his favorite toy, dogs love to eat. Food rewards do work to train a dog to perform good behavior. Asking a dog to sit quietly before he is given dinner teaches the dog to sit quietly and not jump and bark for his food.

MYTH: No Table Scraps

Not all table scraps are bad for dogs, nor are all table scraps good. Speak with a vet regarding which foods a dog can eat and which to avoid such as grapes, raisins and chocolate. A dog that sits quietly during dinner can be given a scrap, if the owner is comfortable with that.