Dog Training Myths

Training your dog is much easier if you understand how a dog learns, and are able to differentiate between dog training facts and dog training myths. 

Believe me, there are many incorrect dog training myths and dog training methods out there.


How many do you believe?

  • If your dog eliminates in the house, rub their nose in it and scold them verbally.

    False! This has never worked. If it did all you would have to do is do it once right when you get your dog home and it would be house trained. Dogs learn when praised for doing something right, not when they are reprimanded for doing something wrong. They simply won’t understand.
    PuppyTrainedRight.com
  • It's okay to leave dogs in a car on a warm day if you crack the windows.

    False! Don’t risk it, death could result, and has on many occasions where the owners have forgotten about the dog.
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  • Indoor dogs don’t need heartworm prevention.

    False! Mosquitoes come indoors too! Treatment for heartworm is a long and expensive process. If you can’t afford the heartworm medication (typically an ointment dabbed on the hind and neck of your dog) then you won’t be able to afford the treatment for heartworm.
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  • Only male dogs will hump other dogs.

    False! Female dogs will also hump other dogs. There are many reasons they do this, some are they are excited, stressed, want attention, find it pleasurable or want to gain social status.
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  • Female dogs should have one litter prior to spaying.

    False! In fact, spaying before her first heat almost eliminates any risk of related cancer. Contrary to some beliefs, dogs will not feel empty if they don’t have at least one litter. As well, having a litter won’t calm her down; exercise and mental stimulation will!
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  • Spay or neuter surgery is painful for my dog.

    False! Dogs are placed under an anesthetic and feel nothing during the operation. Plus, if you can find a veterinarian who provides this service by laparoscopy, there will only be a couple of small puncture holes, and recovery time will be just a few days. Please do your part in preventing the euthanizing of pets by helping to control the pet population; Spay or neuter your dog as early as possible!
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  • Playing tug of war will teach aggression.

    False! Establishing rules for your dog is the key to using this game with her. No teeth on human skin, and no biting your clothing, using the tug of war rope or toy only. At the end of the game or upon your command, she should drop or leave it, allowing you to retain control. Even growling is okay if it’s play growling! If you remain the boss it can be lots of fun. Also, your dog should be specifically invited to play before the fun begins — she shouldn't be allowed to just grab anything and start tugging.
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  • One year = 7 dog years.

    False! Large breeds have shorter life spans than some smaller breeds, so in many cases, the factor of 7 wouldn’t be accurate. As well, many dogs have heats before they are 1 year old, meaning in dog years, they would be 7 years old and able to reproduce.
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  • If a dog’s nose is wet and cold, it means he’s healthy.

    False! The nose is not a magic indicator of health. For example, a sick dog may have a runny nose. It might be wet with discharge, but this does not mean the dog is healthy.
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  • Dogs are colour blind.

    False! Dogs can see shades of blue, yellow and grey.
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  • A dog’s mouth is very clean.

    False! Dogs’ mouths are dirty and contain many bacteria, plain and simple.
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  • My dog looks and feels guilty when he does something wrong.

    False! Most K9 behaviourists believe dogs do not possess the human emotion of guilt.
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  • Table scraps are fine for dogs to eat.

    False! Many foods, like onions or chocolate, can be poisonous to dogs. Table scraps can also contribute to weight gain by providing empty calories for your dog.
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  • A dog will get enough exercise in the back yard.

    False! Most dogs won’t run around in their backyards enough to tire them out. In addition, they likely won’t get enough mental stimulation in your yard alone. The combination of lack of exercise and lack of stimulation will result in your dog acting up inside with behaviours like destructive chewing or maybe tearing apart the new dog bed you just bought her.
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  • Certain breeds of dogs are smarter than others.

    False! There is no scientific evidence to back this up.
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  • A wagging tail means a happy or friendly dog.

    False! While a wagging tail can often mean that a dog is happy and friendly, it can also signify alertness or aggression. Don’t approach a strange dog just because she is wagging her tail!
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  • My neighbour got a good dog who doesn't bark or jump up on you, and is a joy to be around and play with. If I get a dog from the same breeder, he'll have a similar personality.

    False! Each dog is different. There is no such thing as a perfect dog you don't have to train, just like there is no such thing as a perfect human baby who doesn't need to be trained in the ways of our society. The neighbour's dog is well behaved because of the work your neighbour has put into training it.
    PuppyTrainedRight.com
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

    False! Dogs of all ages are capable of learning. However, an older dog who has been doing something in a certain way for years and years may learn new behaviours at a slower rate than a young puppy who is not changing a behaviour, just learning a new one.
    PuppyTrainedRight.com

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