Today I’ve decided to address some common myths around dogs and behaviour. If you would like me to bust or verify a myth, please let me know!!
MYTH: Giving dogs raw meat will make them aggressive and cause them to attack.
FACT: Giving a dog raw meat will NOT make them aggressive. For a dog to start becoming a risk to other animals, it needs to have actually caught the live animal and ingested it.
MYTH: Once a dog bites, it will definitely bite again.
FACT: This depends completely upon the circumstances surrounding the bite. If you put the dog in the exact same position again without changing the factors that caused the bite, then yes, the dog will probably bite again. If you take appropriate action and change the way the dog sees the situation, there is every chance it won’t happen again. If your dog bites, see a trainer to ensure you don’t end up in the same position.
MYTH: Playing tug with your dog will make them aggressive
FACT: Playing tug is actually a really good way to bond with your dog and it can be a great way to reward behaviour that you want. Playing tug will NOT teach your dog to attack your child and defy you.
MYTH: A bitch should have at least one litter before being desexed.
FACT: There are no benefits at all to letting your female have a litter before desexing. I’m of the opinion that unless you are breeding to improve the lines of the breed, you should not do it at all.
MYTH: A dog with a wagging tail means it’s happy and safe to approach.
FACT: 100% false. Dog body language needs to be read in context and taking into account what the rest of the body is doing. Different wags of the tail mean different things. A tail that is high and stiff, with short vibrations from side to side accompanied with a stiff posture, may mean that the dog is about to bite. A loose wagging tail with a relaxed body means that the dog is happy.
MYTH: Alpha-rolling your dog shows it who’s boss.
FACT: Alpha-rolling your dog is an outdated method of training. There are so many ways to get it wrong and the biggest reason this doesn’t work is because you aren’t actually showing your dog what behaviour you DO want. Alpha-rolling your dog is only more likely to make it wary of you.
MYTH: Telling your dog ‘No’ will hurt it’s feelings and damage your relationship.
FACT: Dogs need structure and boundaries and telling them ‘no’ is a part of that. If you focus on showing your dog what to do, you can then add ‘no’ and it clarifies exactly what you want. Pandering to your dogs every whim and ignoring bad behaviour only leads to problems down the track.
MYTH: You should take your dogs food off them so they never develop aggression around food.
FACT: Most dogs display resource aggression because they are worried about losing a resource. Taking food off them only confirms that you are going to threaten their resources and it will intensify their reaction.
MYTH: Desexing your dog will stop them from humping.
FACT: Humping is not only a sexual act. It can also be a sign of displacement behaviour which is a conflict between two drives. Humping is not just limited to males, females also display this behaviour.