10 Common Dog Myths Busted

MYTH: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

FACT: Dogs of any age can be taught new things. As a dog gets older, if it has had no training at all in the past, it will take longer to get the desired result than with a dog that has been learning since puppyhood, but with a little more patience, an older dog can still learn how to learn.

MYTH: Playing tug with your dog will cause aggression

FACT: Playing tug is a great game especially to use as a reward. A dog may growl when playing but in this situation it is not a sign of aggression. Make sure your dog has a grab and a let go command for playing tug and you’re good to go. Structured tug games and play increase the bond between you and your dog.

MYTH: A female dog should have one litter of puppies before being desexed

FACT: There is no advantage to having a litter of puppies before being desexed. Breeding can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing and there are many homeless dogs in the world and our local area as it is. Best leave breeding to the experts.

MYTH: Mutts are always healthier than purebred dogs

FACT: A quote from Vet, Dr Libbye Miller: “Adorable mixed breeds” get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, and orthopaedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren’t tracked like the purebreds so they have a reputation as “healthier” that is actually undeserved in many cases.”

Whether purebred or not, each parent needs to be healthy to produce healthy offspring. By testing for known genetic conditions breeders can reduce the risk and work to eliminate the diseases.

MYTH: A wagging tail means a dog is happy to see you

FACT: A wagging tail means the dog is aroused in some way. Including a dog that is about to chase and bite you.

MYTH: Only male dogs hump and cock their legs

FACT: Many female dogs also hump and even cock their legs to mark territory.

MYTH: Feeding a dog raw meat will make them hungry for blood and a risk to children and livestock

FACT: Unless a dog catches and eats the prey with fur or feathers still intact, the dog doesn’t make the association between a live creature and the taste of meat. Further, a dead chicken carcass smells entirely different to a live chicken so feeding a dog chicken carcasses will have no effect on whether a dog will want to chase and kill chooks.

MYTH: Dogs eat grass when they are feeling sick to make themselves vomit

FACT: Dogs eat grass for fibre and as a natural part of their diet. Wild dogs also eat the vegetable stomach contents of omnivorous prey.

MYTH: Dogs feel guilt and know when they have done something wrong

FACT: Your dog is an expert on human body language, and on making associations to learn. If you have been angry at the dog once in the past, he won’t forget all the signs. Next time he sees you angry or in the same situation he will offer you appeasement signals, commonly mistaken for guilt.

MYTH: Dogs see in black and white

FACT: Dogs see a range of colours but the range is not as extensive as ours. While human eyes have three ‘cones’ that detect colour and can identify red, blue, green and yellow light; dogs only have two. This means dogs can distinguish blue and yellow, but not red and green. So a red ball on a green lawn may be hard for your dog to see, but a dog’s primary sense, their amazing sense of smell, more than makes up for that.

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