Busting Dog Behavior Myths

Dogs sometimes do funny things and we don’t always know what they are trying to tell us.  There are also many long-held beliefs about dog behavior but many of the most common are myths. Which should you believe? We are busting some of those myths to help you and your four-legged family member communicate.

Myth #1: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Age is never a factor in training your dog. If she is physically and mentally able to learn, your dog can learn tricks and behaviors, like potty training, at any age. Remember to always provide proper motivation like treats or praise. Older dogs can do extremely well with training.

Myth #2: When your dog chews on furniture or shoes, she is punishing you.

When your dog chews on things that are off limits it can seem like she is punishing you or upset with you for some reason. But chewing is simply a natural behavior that can feel good on her gums and alleviates boredom or anxiety. Sometimes it will indicate separation anxiety. Be sure to provide plenty of appropriate chew toys and talk to your vet if it becomes a real problem. And be sure to keep those Jimmy Choo’s out of reach.

Myth #3: If your dog shows aggression or fear around people it means she was abused.

While it may very well be true, it’s not always the case. There are many reasons that your dog may show fear or aggression around people. She may not have been properly socialized, it may be a genetic factor or could simply mean she doesn’t like to have head or ears touched. It’s always best to talk with a trainer or your vet to determine the cause of the behavior. If your dog does display fear when approached by people, try to change the way you come near her. Get down on her level and let her approach you first. When she does approach you, reward her, it will reinforce the positive behavior.

Myth #4: That guilty face means she knows she’s misbehaved.

You know those sad, puppy dog eyes, drooped head and tail tucked between the legs. A sure sign your dog did something she knows she shouldn’t do, right? Wrong. That is a common mistake pet owners make by humanizing their dog. These signs are actually what dog behaviorists call “appeasement body postures” made in attempt to calm or avoid your anger. She knows you’re angry or upset but she doesn’t know why. According to The Balanced Canine, there are three principles to remember for effective punishment. 1. It must come immediately following the bad deed, within 1-2 seconds. 2. It must come consistently, every time it happens. 3. It needs to get her attention but not cause fear. Harsh punishment that scares your dog will only teach them that people are scary.  It’s always better to reward good behavior than punish.

Knowing how to communicate with your fur baby makes your relationship that much more satisfying. Learn what your dog is trying to tell you and how best to talk to your dog and you will both be happy. And keeping her outdoor space clean and safe will always communicate that you love her. Let Arrowhead Pooper Scoopers Dog Waste Clean-up Service make it easy with complete cleanup and removal of all dog poop from yards, kennels and dog runs, because you have better things to do with your time! Starting at just $10 a week!

We serve most of the Phoenix west valley, including Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise, plus parts of west Phoenix. Call us at 602-391-0160 or visit our website or Facebook page for more information. Enjoy a clean, safe, pet waste free yard year-round.