So you’re about to em-bark on the exciting adventure of puppy training? Training a pup is tough work, but if you have the right information, you’ll find it to be a much smoother process. There are many dog trainers with varying educational levels and skills. Without a doubt, you will come across different opinions from different people regarding dog training. Even though the internet has played a big role in educating people about many different topics including dog training, it has also helped to spread many myths concerning dog training. Below are the five popular myths regarding dog training that you should be aware of before you start the training process.
Myth 1: Puppies younger than 6 months can’t be trained
This myth started with the “old-school” training where heavy-collar-corrections were used and thus required the dog to be old enough to hold-up to collar-wearing and handling the pressure of collar-corrections and punishments throughout training sessions. The current modern dog training methods which are based on affirmative underpinning & cooperation with a dog allow you to start training the dog as early as you can. Even though the puppy will need more patience due to its shorter attention span as compared to an adult dog, nothing should stop you from getting started right way. It’s obviously a good idea to start with potty training right away, and then slowly introduce them to new concepts as they grow older and stronger.
Myth 2: Letting your dog socialize will teach them bad habits
Many new owners resist socializing their pup too early because they are worried about diseases as well as the effect other dogs will have on their puppy. The truth is that if you want your dog to grow into a well-adjusted dog, socialization is important during puppy training. Allowing your dog to be around other dogs will allow him or her to experience different environments, which will allow them to be comfortable in any environment in the future. There are risks involved with socializing your puppy at a young age, however, a lack of proper socialization will take a far greater toll on your dog as they grow older. Exposing your puppy to other dogs might teach them a few things you didn’t want them to learn, however they aren’t as serious as the consequences and habits that will come from improper socialization.
Myth 3: Using people food during training will make them beg at the table
Many people worry that if they use anything but dog treats during training, the dog will learn to beg at the table when you are eating dinner. While many dogs are highly motivated by food, you can teach them the difference between when you are offering them a snack, and when you are eating dinner. The truth is, feeding dogs from the dining table is what will cause them to beg at the table. It only takes one bite from your plate to their mouth for the dog to learn to beg at the table, so this should be avoided—especially in the beginning. If your dog begs at the table, train them from the beginning to go to a specific spot in the house while you are eating. Train them to stay in their bed, or in the other room so that they get used to being away from the table while you eat.
Myth 4: Older dogs can’t learn new tricks
People often use the cliché that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, however, any animal can be trained at any age. Nevertheless, bear in mind that older animals usually have behaviors that they have rehearsed for a long time and hence take longer to change those behaviors. On the other hand, because of maturity and development, it can also be harder to train puppies than it is to train older dogs. This is because older dogs are usually calmer than puppies and consequently have better attention and focus when working with their trainers. Owners who get a dog at one or two years old think it is too late to train them, but with a greater attention span and a calmer temperament, they might be the perfect age for training.
Myth 5: The use of food during training is bribery
All animals (humans included) need some kind of motivation when being taught something new. This serves as a reinforcement or reward for getting it right. Food is often used by dog trainers simply because dogs like food; however, many other things can be used as rewards for dogs. Such things may include toys, work, play, happy talk and many others. For most dogs, using food can be the easiest motivator, which will make the training go by more quickly. However, if you are worried that your pup is getting too many treats throughout the day, you can try using other rewards to entice them.
Most of these myths are based on ideas that are not backed by scientific studies, which makes them tough to prove. As a matter of fact, many of them have been dis-proven by scientific studies. Avoid the bandwagon as you are training your dog, and try to do your research about real tactics that will help your dog. Relying on “common knowledge” could get you and your dog into some bad habits from the beginning, which will be difficult if not impossible to correct later down the road.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, and a spunky Jack Russel Terrier who makes life interesting! Dixie got her information about the importance of socialization during puppy training from the professionals at the “I Said Sit” School for Dogs.