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5 myths about dog training

Training is only for puppies - It’s right you can’t underestimate the importance of teaching your dog key skills to lead a happy, stress free life together and the earlier you teach these, the better. But there’s plenty of evidence that dogs love learning throughout their lives. There’s even more evidence that a dog that keeps learning is calmer and easier in everyday life.

He’s wagging his tail, he’s fine – Well it might mean they are fine, but equally it might not. Are they wagging with their whole body or are they standing with a stiff posture and wagging slowly? If the latter, then it could be a sign your dog is unhappy about something and something to be aware of.

Using food in training is just bribing the dog - Whilst food can be used as a bribe or lure, and at times this will be a necessary training technique, this is only a small part of it. When you are teaching something new to a dog, there needs to be a motivation to getting it right and there needs to be a reward for doing so - what gets rewarded, gets repeated. Food should be seen as payment or reward for doing well. In time you can fade out the treats, but when learning something new, the rewards need to come frequently to embed the learning.

You should never play tug of war with your dog - There is a mis-belief that playing tug of war can make your dog aggressive. But if you teach your dogs the rules and play by these rules, (such as a good release, and never allowing teeth to touch skin), then it is totally fine; you’ll actually have more control. The key is to teach the game properly.

Some dogs just can’t be taught - Some will pick things up quickly, some will need more time. Most often though the dog is not being communicated to properly or being given feedback that they are getting it right and at the right time. If we stay patient and are clear and consistent, the dog will eventually get there!

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