Dog Myths Part 2: the truth about dog behavior
Some of the most common myths or misconceptions about dogs are simple things like misreading body language or being taught incorrect information. We are here to help make sure you have the facts about dogs and their behavior.
If you missed Dog Myths Part 1, read it here! Myth #5
Some dogs are more intelligent than others.
In reality, a dog is only as "smart" as his human helps him become. When there is a human faithfully teaching the dog tricks and commands, of course it will be able to fetch a specific toy from its bin or do a special dance move. It is all learned behavior. The opposite is true as well. If an owner has not invested the time and effort to properly train a dog he will not have the level of respect for his owner necessary to accomplish tasks people usually consider "smart".
Neutered or spayed dogs are calmer.
If a dog goes into the surgery with an unstable, unruly mindset, it will come out after surgery with the same disposition. He may appear more calm during the recovery period or need more rest once home again but in general this is mostly a misconception that has been passed around. Neutering or spaying is most definitely not a quick fix for aggressive behavior either.
Some breeds are more prone to aggression.
Some have a preconceived notion that a dog will be more aggressive based on breed name alone but this simply isn't true. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds and even Huskies sometimes are thrown into a category of being more rough and dangerous. Size or breed alone do not determine the disposition of a dog.
Any breed can become aggressive when it has not been properly taught what expectations the owner has for the pup. If the dog has held the role of authority in the household, he is reacting based on the mindset that he is carrying out his job as the Alpha, warding off anyone or anything that is a threat to his pack. This is why it is imperative to gain the respect of your dog and regain the Alpha position in order to allow your pup to not worry about everything going on around him. When he trusts you as Alpha, he will back down.
A dog that has tasted blood will always want more.
Once again, regardless of past incidents of biting or drawing blood, if a dog is properly trained there should be no concern for a repeat event. We have helped pups work through all kinds of accidents from killing chickens to biting humans and had great success. Once we can teach the pup that harming humans or animals alike is an unacceptable behavior, he will be loyal to that training if the follow through of his owner is consistent.
Spending time in the backyard can replace a daily walk.
The backyard is simply a playground for a dog. It does not enforce and expectations, rules or behaviors. Engaging your pup in a daily Respect Walk is vital to maintaining your role as leader of your pet. Walks also are viewed by the dog as a job you as his leader have assigned him. Missing the daily walk is removing a part of the relationship you and your pup share. The exercise is the added bonus.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks
As we say all the time, "It's never too late for a dog to change". You CAN teach an old dog new tricks (or behaviors) if you have the knowledge and determination to teach him. Usually if a dog seems to not be able to learn a new trick it is less the dog lacking ability but more that the owner has not made the necessary changes in schedule, habits or training that lead to the desired result. That is why we love doing our jobs! We are here to teach humans the skills needed to change the way their dog relations to them and the world around them.