Top 10 dog mistakes and misconceptions



The individual who designed the harness designed it to amp up a dog to pull. It is a pulling tool. This is why sled dogs use them. It is counterproductive and counterintuitive to get a dog to walk in a structured walk with heel. When you can control the head, you control the body. This is pretty impossible with any harness. Of course, harnesses are appropriate for very small dogs.


Potty pads

You are teaching your dog is it is okay to potty in the house. If you have carpet the texture is completely similar to the grass and your carpet and is extremely confusing to the dog. In addition, the dog is tracking all the smells from the pad all over the house making it really easy and very typical for dogs to pee on carpets. Once this happens it is very difficult to help reorient your dog to the outside for potty purposes. This is a huge mistake some people make.


Crates are cruel – Not true.

Putting a dog in a crate for several hours without stimulation, exercise, or interaction apart from overnight sleeping is definitely cruel. Dogs were born in tight caves making them feel safe and they could protect themselves from behind. In fact, when we give dogs too much space it may become psychologically taxing to the dog because we put the dog in a position of trying to possess and own all of the space making a potentially nervous and or over aggressive situation. Small spaces and structure are what dogs thrive on and it helps them to become well-adjusted. Crates are terrific tools and are small caves for dogs. It helps them to feel safe and it is an absolute need when working with small puppies to potty train and to obedience train.


Dogs need discipline – Not true.

To say that dogs require discipline is to indicate the dogs need to be punished. THERE IS NO PUNISHMENT IN DOG WORLD! They do not come out of their caves in the wild and communicate to one another and say “Hey, if we go pee over there we’re going to get in trouble.” They have no concept of what human beings equate to as punishment. Punishment is a human concept. To rub a dog’s snout in their potty an hour later will not compute for the dog that they did a bad thing and this punishment will fix it. Instead, they just get scared of you about their potty and will go and hide and potty in the house somewhere else away from your eyesight. They will not get that they’re supposed to go outside to do it under this scenario.


Group class is all the training my dog needs.

I have never walked into a home over 30 years of doing dog training and have people have told me that they got exactly what they needed. They are simply unable to address all the problems that dogs have in the context of their homes by attending any outside group class. Group class is usually good for socialization and some basic beginning commands. There’s usually too much stimulation at first for dogs and it is more impactful for the group trainer than it is for the dog owner. A group class will not be able to typically teach problems in the context of the home most dog owners experience. Things such as, how do I keep my dog from being way too reactive at the door with guests, establishing specific places in the house, and boundaries for the dog, reactivity at windows and fences, chewing things that are not the dogs, counter surfing Etc. In-home training would address over 90% of the problems that people experience in the context of their home. Group class should be in conjunction and never in lieu of intense individual in-home dog training.


Prong collars are cruel. Again, Not true.

Putting a nylon collar on a dog’s next that is loose is actually potentially more damaging than any type of appropriately placed prong collar. In fact, all of the pressure on a loose nylon collar is directly over the trachea and larynx of the dog. Conversely, a snug and properly placed prong collar high on the neck under the jaw bone and behind the ears is much safer. It is in the weakest part of the muscle in the neck for the dog and provides a minimal equal distribution of pressure around the whole circumference of the neck. This takes so much pressure off the dog’s trachea and the use of minimal pressure of the prong is an effective tool to help train your dog. If too loose or if you can put it over the dog’s neck and head without opening it up you are compromising the safety of the prong collar. It is true that many people have given this a bad name because they don’t know how to use it properly and they excessively used it. This is absolutely false and in 30 years many, many dogs have been trained with no issues. It is a huge misconception. We use all different types of collars but do not rule out a prong just to rule it out based on major misconceptions.


It is okay for dogs to sleep in human beds.

This is a bad decision because this is a very good way to teach your dog to own and possess your space. Although it feels very good to the owner, in the long run, it’s not good for the dog. Dogs that want to possess the couch and bed space typically can turn into resource guarding. Growling type issues may occur when strangers or family members approach the bed or couch. It is more effective to teach a dog to be invited into that space and never give it to them so they believe that they own it.


Dog parks are great places to socialize my dog

I would honestly probably close every dog park in the world if I could. It’s like bringing your dog to a park and asking them to play Russian roulette. Too much risk exists when you cannot manage greetings with other dogs. People tend to be very cavalier and overestimate their own dogs. In addition, most people are not able to read dog body behavior or misinterpret it. If I have a new dog that I want to socialize, it is better and more effective to introduce dogs in a pretty controlled way while ensuring that I definitely know the other dog is generally calmer. What usually happens is, people bring their dogs to these parks and unintentionally create constant aggression breakouts. That can be very scarring for young dogs. It’s a little bit reckless and a white-knuckle experience. They’re probably are a good number of dogs there that are good. I’m not taking the 10 or 20% chance that my dog is going to have an issue because another dog is bad. Socialize it methodically. “Stay and Plays” for dogs usually are better as these businesses tend to screen out and separate while classing groups of dogs before socializing them.


Wagging tails mean my dog is happy.

Wagging Tails can mean my dog is happy but it does not necessarily mean this all the time. Research is coming out telling us that the position and height and speed of the wag they also indicate that I may want to eat you or get ready to attack.


When I enter a house with a nervous or anxious dog, I should try to look at it and talk sweet and lovingly to the dog.

Would you walk into the cave of a bear standing on your hind legs looking the bear in the eyes and talk sweetly to it in his lair? This invites excitable, aggressive, nervous and anxious types of dispositions. Every human being in the world when walking into any house with a dog should not look, touch, or say anything to any dog while reducing any type of reactivity issues. Aggression is born out of nervousness, anxiety and yes …excitability. People need to learn to be calm and ignore the dog until the dog comes up and sniffs you at the side from behind. This is the least threatening approach to dogs that you are a stranger to in their cave.

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