There’s literally a whole world of information out there on dog training — and most of it is, honestly, kinda nonsense.
As a dog trainer, I run into clients all the time who are so convinced that some specific thing is true about dogs and what they need to be healthy, happy, and well-behaved … and then I have to show them why that’s wrong.
So here’s the truth about 6 of the most common myths I come across in dog training:
MYTH: Crating is cruel.
It’s not. I promise. No matter how much your dog whines when they’re in the crate, or what someone on YouTube said, crating is not cruel. In fact, it can be a really comforting form of structure and safety for your dog, as long as you know how to do it. This is going to vary from dog to dog, but the basic rule of thumb is to start your dog off by feeding them in the crate. Make the crate associated with positive things first and foremost. Then start seeing the crate like your bedroom; a place for rest and relaxation. You do go to your bedroom to relax right? Don’t seem to hate it even though it’s just ONE ROOM?
MYTH: You always need to walk through the door before your dog.
I honestly don’t know where this one got started, but wow is it pervasive. It does not matter — truly — who goes through the door first. And trying to enforce this with certain breeds and certain dogs can lead you down into a massive, completely unnecessary power struggle.
MYTH: A dog is a dog is a dog.
I see this one all the time: people have this weird idea that all dogs of a certain breed are all the same, or even that dogs in general are more similar than they are different. This is like saying that all people are the same just because they’re people. Try to interact with dogs like they’re all clones of each other, and you’ll find yourself confused and frustrated really fast. Dogs have their own personalities, needs, and preferences, just like humans do.
MYTH: Kibble is always best.
Not true. Just like dogs have different personalities, they have different health needs. However, what you feed your dog matters in how they act. If you eat well because it makes you feel better, why don’t you see that same thing for your dog? Balance in a diet is essential, but a more biologically appropriate diet and more balance in a diet with whole foods or natural foods will make all the difference. It’s amazing what shifts in behavior you can create just by making sure your dog is actually getting the right nutrition for them!
MYTH: Dogs can’t be in your bed or on your furniture.
Again, just not true — and not realistic for many dog owners. There is nothing inherently wrong with having dogs on your furniture, and if you’re concerned about getting dog hair everywhere … then honestly, you should have considered another pet. Besides, I got a dog to snuggle with, and I’m pretty sure you did too….
MYTH: Some dogs are just bad.
This one breaks my heart, because it’s so not true. And yet, so many dog owners just give up on their dogs. The truth is, there are no bad dogs. Some dogs do bad things. Some dogs do a lot of bad things. And yet, there’s always a reason. It’s never too late to start shifting your dog’s behavior, no matter what they’ve done in the past, or how long things have been like this. I promise.
And I’d love to help you see that! Whether you’re dealing with a “bad dog” or you just want to make sure that you and your dog have the happy, joyous relationship that pet ownership is supposed to be, I’m here for you. Find out how can I help.