Podcast #8: Debunking dog training myths: how to safely train your dog

Written by Napo HQ
22nd Jul 2022
29 mins listen
Welcome to episode 8 of The Pet Perspective, and the start of our second series! In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the world of dog training.
Among the many myths of dog training, one of the longest standing is that of needing to be an ‘alpha’, which has the potential to cause far more harm than good.
Rachel Rodgers
- Founder of "
Nose to Trail"
- shares her extensive expertise on The Pet Perspective this week. She's a dog trainer and behaviourist, with 12 years experience and 3 degrees’ worth of education.
We’re busting some historic dog training myths, looking at how best to encourage positive behaviours, and highlighting red flags to avoid when seeking a behaviourist.

This episode of The Pet Perspective covers:

  • The debunked mentality of needing to appear as an ‘alpha’ to dogs.
  • Teaching skills through positive reinforcement without always needing treats.
  • Discouraging bad behaviour without punishing our pups.
  • When to choose a trainer and when you might need a vet referral to a behaviourist.
  • Red flags in dog behaviourists, and how to find the right one for your dog.

Episode highlights

Here are a few of our favourite soundbites from this episode. Remember to listen to the full episode!

1:45 - Rachel Rodgers

“Even with a quick Google search, straight away what you find is all of these articles and social media posts saying you need to be the pack leader, you need to be the boss, you need to dominate your dog. It's just so outdated, but it is still so popular in all of what we find online.”

2:45 - Rachel Rodgers

“Wolves are a different animal to a dog, and also, a dog knows we're not a dog! They know that a human is different, yet we're still trying to apply something that just doesn't fit to the animal at all.”

5:00 - Rachel Rogers

“It's just about showing them the right things to do by giving them rewards for making good choices. Sometimes we have to show them and set up training scenarios to help them learn those things. Otherwise they won't know, will they? If we don't show them the right things to do, then they're gonna get it wrong.”

8:15 - Rachel Rodgers

“I like that relationship with my dog, when my dog is excited to see me. I would never want my dog to cower and move away from me when I came home because they're scared of what is going to come next. That's not the type of bond that I would ever want to have with the dog.”

11:50 - Rachel Rodgers

“If our dogs are doing something that we like, we shouldn't be so quick to remove those rewards. A lot of the time when dogs regress with their training, it's because we've removed those rewards too quickly.”

12:45 - Rachel Rodgers

“The key to using positive reinforcement training isn't all about using food, we can use toys, we can use praise, we can play with our dogs, we can give them a fuss. So long as the dog enjoys what they are getting, then it will reinforce the behaviour.”

18:30 - Rachel Rodgers

“Things that are about teaching something new are where you need training. The time for a behaviourist is where we have an already established problem.”

19:30 - Rachel Rodgers

“All of the clinical animal behaviours like myself who are on the ABTC register work off that vet referral, because it is well documented in the scientific research that a lot of behavioural problems - up to 80% - have an underlying health component to them.”

23:50 - Rachel Rodgers

“Look for certain terms; are they saying ‘You need to be the alpha, you need to get back to being the boss in your household’? That kind of terminology for me would be a red flag.”

27:40 - Rachel Rodgers

“Enjoy your training, have fun, having fun is the important thing. If you're having fun and your dog is having fun, then you're going to carry on doing the training. We need consistency and several repetitions for a dog to learn something new.”

Tell us what you think

If you have a topic you'd like us to discuss in a future episode of the podcast, or if you have any questions for our guests, let us know on Instagram or Facebook.

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