Conventional Dog Training Advice You Can Ignore

There is a lot of conventional dog training advice you can ignore. Things like not letting them on the bed, keeping them outside to hone their instincts, winning games, using squirt bottles, and being first through the door are all incredibly outdated. 

Training a Corgi can be a struggle. I know that better than anyone, but when they get the hang of things, it can also be really rewarding. As a new Corgi owner, you’re probably here because you’ve realised the internet is full of conflicting information. There’s a huge amount of conventional dog training advice that might have you raising an eyebrow. 

There have been a lot of changes in how we train our dogs in recent years. Most of it has been for the better. That means there’s a lot of conventional dog training advice you can ignore. Especially as a lot of it is outdated and follows alpha rules that most experts no longer agree with. But don’t worry; I’m here to help you through it all. 

As someone who has trained a lot of Corgis in their life, it’s time for us to explore this further.

Conventional dog training advice you can ignore
You can let your Corgi sleep with you if you want to!

Key Takeaways:

  • Positive reinforcement training has the best results for your dog
  • You can let them on the bed and furniture – it doesn’t make them aggressive or dominant
  • Stop using spray bottles and newspapers to scold them; it’s just fear training 
  • You don’t have to be first through the door; dogs don’t have or need an alpha 
  • Dogs can win games against you; it won’t make them think they’re better than you
  • Being inside does not kill natural hunting or herding instincts

Which Training Method is Best?

There are many different forms of dog training, but they can be broken down into two distinct categories: positive and negative reinforcement training. The latter used to be the most common. It uses the Alpha theory that dogs need to have a strong and dominant leader, much like wolves do in the wild. And even then, it’s mum and dad, not an alpha. 

However, this theory forgets that dogs have not been separated from humans for over ten thousand years. They have a symbiotic relationship with us (the science on it is really cool, but that’s a whole other article I’ll look forward to sharing with you). Dogs don’t need an alpha and they don’t have the same kind of hierarchy system as their ancestors. 

Recent developments have shown that positive reinforcement training is much more effective than negative. It doesn’t use fear tactics and rough handling to ensure they learn. It relies on rewarding good behaviour and ignoring the bad habits so that they end up learning not to do it because they get nothing out of it. Which method is best? Positive reinforcement all the way.

Conventional dog training advice you can ignore

The Conventional Dog Training Advice You Can Ignore 

As you begin your training journey, here is some of the standard dog training advice you can firmly ignore. And I know there are a few that will definitely give you some relief… number one and five in particular. Your Corgi doesn’t have to learn fear in order to behave

1. You Have to Walk Through the Door First 

The idea that you have to go through every door, entrance, and gate first in order to lay claim to the territory and establish yourself as the boss is completely outdated. For starters, guide dogs lead their owners everywhere, and none of them have ever become “alpha” dogs

The only thing I can understand is training your dog to wait at doorways so they don’t knock you over or leap out and say hi to visitors. But that’s basic politeness and completely different from the door theory

2. Using Squirt Bottles and Rolled-Up Newspapers 

Yes, these methods can work and might result in your Corgi doing as they are told. However, spraying water in their face or hitting their snout with a newspaper isn’t an effective method. Firstly, the latter does actually hurt them. Secondly, you are teaching them fear instead of showing them the correct behavior. It has a much higher chance of backfiring on you.

Conventional dog training advice you can ignore

3. Not Letting Them in the Bed and on Furniture 

You can let your dog sleep in the bed with you and on the furniture. It won’t ruin them or make them think they’re above you. They aren’t going to get an alpha complex. Dogs are pack animals that like to be close to you – it’s natural for them to want to sleep near you. As for cases of resource guarding? Those have completely different origins. 

4. Being Inside Kills Their Instincts 

Honestly, I have always found this as an excuse for those who want dogs but don’t want to keep them inside. Dogs born with naturally strong herding or hunting instincts will not have them dulled by being allowed to live in the house. Being outside or inside has no impact at all. The only thing that does is continuing to hone and work on those instincts with them. 

Yes, some dogs like to spend a lot of time outside. But even those who predominately live outdoors should have a bed and space inside that they can come to when they want.

5 ways to tire out your corgi

5. You Always Have to Win Games 

Your dog will not gain dominance over you if they win a game of tug or anything else you are playing. It is one of the most outdated theories, and it has long been proven that the dominance theory in dogs is false. Your Corgi can win a game of tug and they can lose. All they care about is that the game is fun and they have a good time with you. Play with your dog and lose!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a Common Mistake People Make When Training Corgis?

One of the most common mistakes people make when training Corgis is forgetting to stay calm and collected when things aren’t going well. Sometimes, dogs have off days when things are harder to learn. It’s easy for us to forget to give them breaks so that their brains can have a moment to recharge. You can’t overwork your Corgi and expect results. 

What are Some Examples of Negative Training Methods?

Negative training methods include things like pushing your dog’s rear down and holding it there to make them sit. Or using tools like choke chains and shock collars to train them. Not only are they cruel and harsh training methods, but they are just downright lazy.

Final Thoughts 

There you have it, some of the most popular conventional dog training advice you can ignore without worry. There are a lot of outdated thoughts and techniques, but these are some of the ones that bother me most when I see trainers using them on Corgis.

Training can be tough, and it’s exhausting at times. But it’s important if you want your Corgi to become a well-rounded dog. There’s no shame in asking for help, and there are plenty of dog trainers and behaviorists out there who align with positive reinforcement training and can help you train your dog. It’s a journey, for sure, but it’s one you’ve got a handle on.

Bella is the founder of Doggy & Pooch. She rehomed Winston the corgi in Jan 2020 and now shares her best tips and interesting facts with corgi lovers globally.

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