Let's Debunk the Top Myths About Puppy TrainingJanuary is National Train Your Dog Month -- a great time to talk about some of the dos and don'ts of obedience training.

Whether helping pet parents with basic manners training or behavioral issues, our professional trainers encounter many misconceptions about training - some of which can lead to behavioral issues down the road. Some of the most common misconceptions relate to puppy training:

Myth: A puppy must be at least six months old to be trained.
Reality: A puppy is learning from the moment he is in his environment. As a new puppy parent, you should take advantage of that opportunity for learning. With today's training methods based on positive reinforcement, there's no reason not to start working with your puppy as soon as he arrives to your home!

Myth: Crating is mean.
Reality: In fact, the opposite is true -- dogs are den animals and instinctively seek a safe, quiet place they can go when they're tired or stressed. The crate serves that purpose if introduced early and is also a great tool for house-training. Puppies and new dogs should be kept in a crate when not supervised. Be careful never to use the crate for punishment or you'll undermine its usefulness as your dog's safe space. For more about crate training, check out this blog post.

Myth: My puppy will outgrow that annoying behavior.
Reality: No she won't. Many new pet parents accept unwanted behaviors from a puppy - like jumping up or nipping -- thinking she will grow out of them. In fact, unless those behaviors are addressed, they will continue... and the longer they are permitted, the stronger they may become. Don't wait for something that is never going to happen - training is the only answer to bad behavior.

Check out Part 2 to Myths About Obedience Training.

For more tips on puppy training, check out this post on introducing good manners.