The Millstone Times January 2019
By Stephanie Maglio
Some persistent myths still mislead us when reading about dog behavior. Don’t let a myth harm your relationship with your pet. Here are some common myths and look at the facts.
1. An old dog can’t learn new tricks.
False. Old dogs not only learn new tricks, but they thrive when trained. Older dogs, without housetraining experience as puppies, can successfully be housetrained. As long as a dog is mentally and physically capable of learning to perform a behavior and is properly motivated, it’s entirely possible to train her.
2. A dog shouldn’t sleep with you or be allowed on furniture, or she’ll think she’s the boss and will misbehave.
False. Just like humans, dogs simply want a comfortable place to lie down. If comfort can be combined with being next to their beloved human, whether it’s right next to you on the couch, or even on top of your lap, then they’re all for it. In rare cases, dogs will guard their sleeping and resting areas, and will show aggression when humans approach these sacred areas. This type of behavior will require remedial training. But for the average pooch, sleeping in bed or resting on the couch has no adverse behavioral effects.
3. When your dog has a bathroom accident, it’s important to rub her nose in it to let her know what she did.
False. When you rub a dog’s nose in her own mess, she often sees no association between that and her having had a bathroom accident. Nor does rubbing her nose in her accident teach her not to go to the bathroom on the floor again. Instead, rubbing her nose in her accident teaches her that humans are dangerous and unpredictable, and she will likely begin to hide in safety by sneaking into another room to go to the bathroom, making housebreaking even more difficult.