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Myth Busted! Volume #2

Myth #1 Dogs Get Jealous Of Other Dogs

If you have a dog, you may have noticed certain jealous-like behaviours, particularly when you pay attention to another dog, give a treat, or play with a toy. When we bend down to pet another dog, our pup may shove his way in front of us, knocking our hand away from his canine companion, or our dog may become increasingly needy if another dog is around. But are these jealous behaviours? Experts disagree.

We have spoken before about primary and secondary emotions. Dogs exist in a world of primary emotions. They don't have the capacity for secondary feelings, and this means that they don't spend time suffering emotionally like humans do, this includes feelings of jealousy.

When your dog displays what is perceived as jealous-like behaviour, what you are actually seeing is your pet exhibiting “pack” behaviour. Social hierarchy is very significant to dogs and a higher-ranking pet may assert itself when a lower-ranking dog is getting a perceived privilege.

A higher ranking dog has certain rights and will ensure that this is enforced by body blocking (coming in-between you and another dog), pushing, jumping up, nipping, growling and in some extreme cases, displaying aggression.

Myth #2 They Will Grow Out Of It

Unfortunately no, they will not!

The only way that a behaviour will stop is through consistent training. Failure to effectively discourage undesirable behaviour will simply allow it to build and develop into a habit making it much harder to correct in the future.

Do you have a puppy that piddles throughout your house and you are counting down the days until it stops? The bitter pill to swallow is that it will not stop by itself. In fact, the more opportunities your dog has to ‘rehearse’ a behaviour through repetition the more this will solidify the habit.

Dogs do not come to us with an understanding of what is correct and what is not. It is our responsibility for us to train our dogs and show them the way.

Myth #3 My Dog Acted Out Because He Is Mad At Me

"My dog dug a hole because I left it outside"

"My dog peed in the house because I did not play fetch today"

As much as we would like to think that our dogs have the capability to think as we do, dogs simply do not have the ability to plan or to act out of spite. This is beyond their mental cognitive ability. Dogs do things and behave in certain ways for many different reasons but revenge is not one of them.

Digging, destruction and inappropriate toileting may certainly feel like your dog is rebelling, but we assure you, it is not.

There are many reasons these behaviours will occur and we need to look at the root cause of all behaviours to be able to assess why they are occurring. Only once we establish the why’s can we then start to look at how to work with the dog to teach alternatives and stop behaviours.

Myth #4 You Should Never Play Tug of War Because This Builds Aggression

There is a conception that Tug of War promotes aggression.

Tug Of War can actually be a very engaging game between dog and owner and depending on the individual dog, a great reward during training. This game must be played with clear rules and boundaries to ensure it will not build your dog beyond your ability to manage. If this is the case and you do not have clear rules, if you have a dog with high natural hunting drives we would always recommend playing alternative games.

This game will not be for every owner or every dog. This game must be played correctly with the right set of rules and your dog must be able to demonstrate a reliable drop or ‘give’. It is the first thing we will train if we plan to play tug o war with our dogs.

Fun fact: You will often see Trainer Anthea treat her Malinois to a game of Tug Of War as his reward.

Myth #5 Crate Training Is Cruel

For those who are not familiar with the benefits of crate training, the idea can be quite confronting. The idea of confinement in small spaces is lost on humans but for our canine friends, tucking themselves away in their own safe zone can be fabulous!

Dogs have natural denning behaviour. Remember whilst we love to think of our dogs as our fur babies they are still a different species and their brains are wired differently to ours.

When correctly implemented, a crate will become your dogs safe haven, place for sleep, for mealtime and a space for peace, quiet, and relaxation.

It is important that the crate is never used as punishment. It should be positive, safe, and comfortable.

To debunk more dog behaviour myths, follow the link.


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