Behavior Challenges to Watch For

What is "Allowed" and Old Myths

Myth: “You must be the alpha, the pack leader, and/or the dominant one from the beginning or your dog will try to become the alpha, the pack leader, and/or the dominant one”

Reality: Science has disproven the alpha myth – so go ahead, be kind to your dog! If your dog is struggling to adapt, we need to help support them. Most troublesome behaviors occur because dogs are stressed and trying their very best to fit into our lives and are nervous or even scared. Dogs are totally at our mercy, so a little understanding and kindness go a long way.

“Myth: “Never let a dog on your couch or bed”

Reality: There is no link between allowing a dog on your couch or bed and behavior problems. In fact, studies have shown positive mental health correlations for people of allowing dogs on our couch/beds! However for your mental health I strongly suggest a washable cover for couches. Terriers tend to be very clean dogs. I was surprised to find that an area on my white couch that started getting dirty was due to my own lotion… Not my dog!

Myth: “You have to walk through doorways before your dog does”

Reality: Same as allowing your dog on the bed, this has been proven to have no correlation with behavior problems.

Myth: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

Reality: Dogs are born to be with us, and they crave playing with us! No age is too old to learn new things! Diet and stress play important roles in prolonging the mental and physical lives of our dogs. If you move your new dog to a high quality fresh food based diet and provide them a life that is low-stress, they will be in a great position to offer you years and years of joy and partnership.

Myth: “Positive reinforcement based training is slower than punishment based training”

Reality: If you’ve ever been in a relationship of any kind – coworker, boss, friend, partner – where you were constantly feeling stressed, punished, and/or confused, you know how slowly an ideal situation can progress. It can feel like there will never be progress or harmony! Rewards-based training, where you reward your dog with things they like such as affection, respect, and treats, is the fastest form of training you can possibly use. That doesn’t mean that past trauma, anxiety, fear, or old habits will always be easy to fix, but trust and respect go a LONG way in healing such obstacles. Have faith in the process.