If I comfort my puppy when they cry, I will make them feel more scared.
You cannot reinforce fear! If your puppy is scared, comforting and reassuring them will not make them more scared. Imagine you have a fear of heights and you have to walk along a rickety bridge hundreds of feet high, you will likely be scared.
If everyone around you just ignored your fear, ignored you and just crossed as if it was nothing, or worse – just forced you across, you would not feel any less scared. If your friend instead offered you some comfort, acknowledged that it was a scary experience and crossed the bridge with you, it might not stop you being scared, but it wouldn’t make you more scared. It might even make you feel a little better!
Letting my dog sleep on the bed/sofa will lead to them developing separation anxiety.
Yep, this is another myth! There is absolutely no evidence that letting your dog sleep on your bed or sofa causes separation anxiety. By leaving your dog downstairs to cry it out, and not comforting them at night can, however, increase the risk of your dog developing separation anxiety.
Yelping will stop your puppy from biting you.
Our puppies know we are a different species from them. Being humans, we cannot communicate in “dog language” – if someone tells you then can, you’re best avoiding them. When you yelp, you may scare your puppy – although this might look like it is working. If this happens, it is more likely to be because your puppy is shutting down. This is unethical, can ruin the relationship between you and your puppy and cause issues down the line.
Instead, manage your puppies environment – ensure that they are getting plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and sleep. Redirect your puppy – they may be biting because they want to play or are trying to seek out pain relief for their gums from teething. Offer them a toy or something they can bite.
Remove yourself from the situation – any time your puppies teeth touch your skin, stand up and walk away. Your puppy will learn that biting removes the thing they want – your attention!
That’s all for now. Keep your eye out for our next myth busting session!