You can teach an old dog new tricks.
From television shows to the internet to specialists for hire, there are a myriad of sources a pet owner can select from on the topic of dog training. How can they tell who's right and who's wrong?
While there are many opinions out there, one trainer, Alyona DelaCoeur of whydoesmydog.com, addressed some of the more common - and misleading - training beliefs.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks. False! Sometimes it's actually easier to teach mature dogs tricks because they're less distracted. Certainly some unwanted behaviors will take longer to stop because the dog has had longer for them to become habits, but they can be retrained. Bear in mind, though, that older dogs will need more frequent rest breaks in training.
Bribe your dog with food to get results. Positive reinforcement through motivation works best in dog training; the use of treats and food should not be the main focus. While treats and toys can be helpful, building a strong connection with your pet is the most important part of training.
Dogs misbehave because they are mad, stubborn or need to be dominant. Dogs do not have an agenda behind what they do. He peed on the floor because he had to go and didn't get let out; she tore up a cushion because she was bored. Only a handful of dog breeds exhibit 'dominance;' assuming human personality traits to dogs doesn't help in training at all.
Training is guaranteed for life. One way dogs are like humans is that they can forget their good manners and learn new bad habits throughout their lives. One way to avoid this is to not introduce major changes into a dog's life; a dog who never begged before may start if someone gives him food from the dinner table, for example.
In dog training, simple common sense is usually the best approach; the proven methods are usually the best methods. Bear in mind that some trainers are promoting different methods solely for the sake of being different; approaches that have worked for generations still work today.
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Greg Hatala may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.
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