In the world of dog training, there are constantly new developments and practices — sometimes new discoveries are made which virtually all experts can agree on, while others are rife with disagreement among the experts. To dog owners, this can make dog training an intimidating and confusing labyrinth of information. In learning about dog training, it’s likely you’ll hear a lot of myths and misconceptions.

As an expert in aggressive dog behavior training, I’ve run into a lot of these myths myself. It’s time to clear some of them up!

MYTH: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

People like me would be out of a job if this were true! While this phrase is a fun expression to throw around, it is, ironically, not true for dogs. Just like humans, old dogs are more than capable of learning new things. There is some truth that some dogs develop strong habits, but with the right dog training techniques, nothing is ever truly off the table. In fact, older dogs can sometimes be easier to train because they’re not as restless as puppies.

MYTH: Your Dog Is Misbehaving to Spite You

While this is a myth that you’ll never hear from an actual dog expert, it’s a common misconception among dog owners who haven’t done their research. Many dog owners take their dogs out to pee outside, only for them to turn around and tinkle on their rug moments later. The conclusion they jump to is that their dog is trying to spite them, ostensibly angry with them or openly rebellious to training. This simply isn’t true — dogs don’t understand the concept of “getting back” at people, and they won’t try to get even with you.

MYTH: Punishment Is the Best Training Tool

It’s becoming more and more evident that positive reinforcement is almost always preferable to punishment. In fact, many trainers encourage you not to mix the two at all. Just like most people, dogs respond well to positive stimuli, and they’re more likely to behave well if they’re encouraged by good thoughts instead of acting out of fear. That’s not to say you can’t be stern with your dog — but there’s a difference between stern and harsh. Your dog may respect the former, but fear the latter.

MYTH: There Is Nothing to Gain From Professional Training

Professional dog training is a service. Much like professional services, it could ostensibly be done by anyone if they invested all the time and learning that’s required. So yes, it is possible for dog owners to train dogs by themselves, but this requires a certain level of time investment that most people just don’t have room for.

By going to a professional service such as Lupa K9, you have immediate access to a massive wealth of dog training knowledge. Your dog can learn from an expert, and you, too, can observe training behaviors that will be effective at home.

At Lupa K9, I provide a holistic training approach that respects the dog’s agency while encouraging them to be obedient through strong bonds and productive reward methods. Are you ready to tackle the aggressive dog behavior that your canine companion has been exhibiting? I train dogs all over San Francisco and the surrounding regions. Contact Lupa K9 to get started!