Myth Busting! Outdated Dog Training and Behavior Concepts

Nothing makes us howl with angst more than the misinformation machine about dog behavior. Here's a snippet of common myths we still hear thrown around on the web and from clients that we want to debunk. Seriously. Throw out these concepts. They are outdated and have long been proven false.

Have you run across any behavior theories you want to run through our filter? Send them our way, and we'll let you know if they stand up to the latest science.

Alpha = "refund, please."

A simple Google search unlocks a million different ways to train your dog & two million reasons why that's the best way. If you don't choose Wonder Dog University for your training needs, at least avoid any trainer who relies on these outdated negative training methodologies. Check out this magazine article we wrote 

"Your dog must understand that you are the alpha."
The second you hear a trainer utter the word "alpha" that's your queue to hit the road, Jack(ie). Hellllo, man's best friend, not man's best subordinate.

"Prong/shock/chain collars will correct the problem easily."
Uh yeah, that's going to be a no for me dog. This is considered "Positive Punishment" and can actually introduce new and unnecessary fears to your dog. If you shock them for barking at the mailman, they may develop a fear or aggression towards the mailman, or worse, all men. To make matters worse, many dogs sustain physical injuries due to poor equipment use, overuse or malfunction.

"Punishment prevents problematic behavior."
When you punish your pup for problematic behavior, you aren't actually addressing the behavior - you're just teaching them not to do that behavior around you. Rather than associating punishment with stopping a certain behavior, your dog associates that punishment with you, and this could result in them developing fear or aggression towards you - their human! So the next time you go to yell "NO TAYLOR SWIFT!," (because what else would a Swifty name their sweet gurl?) stop yourself, and instead ask yourself what you want your dog to do instead of said undesirable behavior. Train that behavior.

When training, Positive Punishment can lead to increased aggression and fear. That's why WDU uses only Modern Training methods, which include Positive Reinforcement. When we reward our dogs for learning new skills, performing desired behaviors, they enjoy doing these things, and are more likely to repeat those positive behaviors.

Dig into this article we wrote. See how the originator of the "alpha" concept even wishes he could turn back the clock on the idea he started and realized he misinterpreted wolf behavior when applying it to domesticated dogs.

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