Some persistent myths still mislead people when it comes to dogs and their behaviors. Here we look and debunk 7 most common myths about dog behavior.
An old dog can’t learn new tricks
On contrary, older dogs can learn new tricks just as well as their younger counterparts. For example, older dogs without housetraining experience as puppies can successfully be housetrained later in life. (This is a good tip to those thinking about adopting an older (or) (a) rescue dog!) As long as the dog is mentally and physically capable of learning and is properly motivated, it’s entirely possible to train them.
A dog who cowers from people was likely abused in the past
Commonly, if a dog cowers or moves away from someone, it is because they were not properly socialized as a puppy. Genetics can also play a role. In addition, some dogs simply do not want to be petted. Strangers who approach the dog from above them can also send them cowering. When approaching a dog, remember to lower to their level and give the dog the space they need to see you. Invite the dog to approach you instead of going straight to them.
All dogs enjoy being around other dogs
Dogs, just as humans, are individuals. While some dogs are happiest when running around in the dog park, some prefer solitude or the company of a small group of people. Socialization, breed and genetics can also play a role when it comes to the dog’s preferences for company.
When a dog does not listen, it tries to be in charge
More realistically, the dog just does not understand what it is being asked to do. Some dogs have problems with only verbal commands so adding some signaling to the command might be helpful for them. Other option is that the dog does not have enough motivation to do as it’s told, even if it knows what you are asking. For example, if you want to put them on a leash at the dog park, they know you are about to leave. They’d rather stay outside, therefore not coming to you when called.
It’s always the owner’s fault when a dog misbehaves
Some breeds are more challenging than others when it comes to training them. The owner might simply lack the information to train the dog effectively. If your dog misbehaves, do not feel shame. Instead, search for a professional who can help you to use positive reinforcement methods in training your dog other ways to behave and react to situations. Proper socialization and training as a puppy are essential but older dogs can learn new tricks, too.
Using treats means that the dog refuses to behave unless it gets a prize
While dogs need motivation to perform the asked behavior, the prize does not need to be food-based. Dogs find playing, petting or receiving their favorite toy just as rewarding. You can also switch the rewards at random so the dog does not get too used to them. Learning to walk on a leash can be taught using treats until the dog behaves correctly. After that, the treats can be phased out and going for a walk is itself a reward.
Dogs are great judges of people
You might have heard someone stating how they “don’t trust anyone their dog does not trust”. However, there are multiple reasons why a dog might be fearful or aggressive towards someone. This is because of their basic instincts that tell them to survive. Dogs might be afraid of a simple, small thing about a person: their movement, their physical attribute, the physical proximity or even their style of clothing. That being said, sometimes dogs can be right and sense when someone means you trouble but that has still more to do with the subtle things the person does.