When you walk into a pet store, a vet’s office, or even a dog park, you will get bombarded with conflicting information from dog owners, vets, and even trainers regarding what the best way to raise your dog is. Fortunately for us, dogs have been our loyal friends for several decades now, and thanks to Science, we have figured out some things about our canine friends.
If you ever felt mixed up over how to train your dog, do not fear! The following 3 most common dog training myths are going to convert you into an owner who knows how to single out the wheat from the chaff.
Dogs Want To Lead the Pack
Even though some trainers like to repeat Cesar Millan’s intonation about being “alpha over your dogs,” this idea has been discredited by Science. Wolves do not fight to be the leader as a pack is comprised of two parents and their pups. To sum up, dogs are not just wolves in disguise, and you do not have to bully them to teach them good manners. Dogs are social animals, but they are definitely not plotting to overthrow you to become “leader of the pack.”
Dominance Is a Personality Trait
Numerous dominance theory trainers also like to talk about how a dog has a “dominant” personality. According to them, dogs having this personality-type are continually striving to become top dog, also over their human owners. To keep these dogs in line, dominance-theory trainers propose that you should do everything in your power to make a dog understand their place.
Real dominance is merely a term for the fluid relationship between two dogs who want to be the first to claim an obtainable resource, for example, a comfy bed. It does not exist amongst humans and dogs. Even if it did exist, humans have control on most of the major resources; humans dictate when their dogs go out, when their dogs eat, and when their dogs get to play. Additionally, dogs are not going to battle it out Fight Club style in order to see who the boss is. Instead, one dog will quietly defer to the other dog.
Training Can Be Guaranteed For Life
There is categorically no way that you can guarantee that a dog is going to be “fully trained” for life as dogs are not robots, they are living animals. Dogs can learn or forget good and/or bad habits depending on how often they get to practice the behavior. Basic doggy manners are influenced by how humans interacting with the dog.
If the dog, who has until that time never begged, is constantly given table scraps during dinner time, then it is most likely that they might develop begging behaviors. Similarly, if a dog who formerly used to beg is not given any scraps from the table for the rest of its life, it is most likely that the dog will no longer carry on that unwelcome behavior. In short, even if you “train” a dog to not do something, human habits can certainly make them revert back to their previous behavior.
The bottom line? Positive behavior and support are going to get you a lot further in dog training than coercion.