You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – or can you?  

Some of the most often shared and believed truths about dog behavior are not accurate at all. For example, older dogs actually thrive when you take the time to train them and teach them something new. They get a new skill, get rewarded and get to spend time with you, all good things as far as your dog is concerned. We’re covering three of the biggest dog behavior myths below – make sure you are not falling for them and you’ll both be happier at home.

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You should let dogs fight it out: While you should never get between fighting dogs, disrupting a fight as swiftly as you can safely do so will prevent injuries to both animals. “Fighting it out” won’t likely resolve an issue, it will just result in aggressive behavior and even injuries to your pet.  

Your dog will feel guilty: Pet shaming is a popular and funny trend, but those guilty looks are likely just your pet reacting to your angry behavior. According to Psychology Today, by showing that he is submissive and making a “sad” face that has worked in the past, your pet is reacting to you, not the book he just shredded or the sofa he just ate.  

Running off leash will make your pet happy: Thinking your dog will only be happy if he can run free – and access his inner wolf – could get him into trouble. As much fun as he seems to have at the dog park off leash, letting him roam in other places, even your own unfenced yard, could end in disaster. He could easily be lost, have a wildlife encounter or even be hit by a vehicle. Intact male dogs are more at risk than females or neutered males, since they are more likely to seek out other dogs or be territorial about a specific location.

mature woman hiking with a labrador retriever in the summer landscape

Understanding the truth behind these common myths will keep your pup happy, healthy and safe; it will also give you some insight into his behavior and a more complete understanding of how he thinks. Not sure about a dog “fact” you’ve heard? Ask one of our vets at the next appointment – we’re always happy to help you better understand your pet!  

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