Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Seven Dog Training Myths

There are many misconceptions and myths about dog training and behavior.

Myth Number One: prong collars cause dogs to be aggressive. Wrong.

You can make a fine meal with a knife, or you can kill someone with it. It is all about who is holding the knife. The same is true with all dog training equipment.

Myth Number Two: Treadmills make dogs aggressive. Wrong. Criminals use treadmills to get pit fighting dogs into top physical condition before a fight. But, let’s say you are injured and you want to keep your dog in top physical condition, or you need to exercise your working dog, you could use a dog treadmill to provide the exercise needed… just like you could have them swim to get in shape. The problem isn’t the treadmill, the problem is what the owner is then going to do with the dog.

Myth Number Three: If a dog tastes blood, it makes the dog vicious.

Wrong. Viciousness is a result of either abusive treatment of a dog, illness, or faulty genetics. In fact, many breeders feed their dogs “raw diets”, because they believe it is healthier than feeding dogs processed commercial foods. You don’t see these dogs on the raw diets becoming vicious. The two are in no way related.

Myth Number Four: Tug of war makes a dog aggressive.

Wrong. However, there is a proper way to play tug with a dog, and an improper way. If you do it wrong, then you can make the dog aggressive towards you.

Myth Number Five: The best way to train a dog is with _________ (fill in the blank… food, petting, toys, tug, leashes, metal collars, fabric collars, head halters, clicker training, etc.). There are some laws of behavior, which always work a certain way. On the other hand, there are various methods of applying those laws. That is why you see so many dog training books… and why I don’t recommend dog training books to my customers. You need to know quite a bit about all the different methods before you can knowledgably apply them… or give “expert” opinions about them.

Myth Number Six: When a dog “guards” a toy or its food bowl, sleeps on your bed, growls at you, goes out the door before you, or eats before you eat, these behaviors are a sure sign your dog is demonstrating dominance towards you.


Aggression is more complicated than this. And so is dominance. Most dog trainers and behaviorists have no clue concerning aggression or dominance.

There are many Dog Training Myths.

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