16 Popular Myths About Dogs That Simply Aren’t True

Krystal Smith

It’s a widely held belief that we’re well-acquainted with our furry friends. However, there are certain misconceptions about dogs that require our attention. While most of these misconceptions are harmless, there’s a significant amount of misinformation that needs to be addressed. To help you better understand your pet and provide appropriate care, we’ve gathered the most common dog facts that you and your pup should know.

A Wagging Tail Means a Friendly Dog

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Tail wagging can mean happiness, excitement, and alertness. However, it can also signal fear and anxiety or be a prelude to aggression. A dog’s body language is complex and can be misinterpreted. Therefore, it would help if you didn’t approach a dog without first asking the owner’s permission.

One Dog Year Equals Seven Human Years

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The first year of a dog’s life can be equivalent to the first 12 to 14 years of humans’ lives and depends on many factors, such as breed and size.

A Wet Nose Means a Dog is Healthy

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A dog’s nose can become wet, dry, or change temperature during normal daily activities, and it is not a reliable indicator of health or illness.

A Dog’s Mouth is Cleaner Than a Human Mouth

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When dogs lick their wounds, they seem to heal faster. This is not because dogs have a clean mouth but because the licking takes the damaged tissue and stimulates blood flow, which helps the wounds heal faster. It is not true that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.

Dogs are Colorblind

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Studies have shown that dogs see several colors, including different saturations of yellow, blue, and gray. The range of color in their visual spectrum is less than what we see.

Dogs Eat Grass When They Are Sick

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Although some dogs eat grass when they feel ill or nauseous, many dogs eat grass for other reasons, such as boredom, displacement, and opportunity. They like eating grass because it is fun! As long as the grass has not been treated with chemicals, it is not a problem.

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

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Like humans, as dogs get older, they can be less interested in learning new activities and are less responsive to training. Also, some older dogs have decreased vision and hearing or joint issues, which makes training a little tricky.

Garlic is a Natural Flea and Tick Remedy

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When your dog has fleas or ticks, you will try to give it some much-needed relief. Some rumors say garlic is a natural cure, but this is inaccurate. Garlic is toxic to dogs, and dogs cannot eat it, so please do not give it to your pet.

Use Dog Treats to Bribe Your Dog

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The best dog trainers view treats as rewards, not bribes. Treats are a great way to show your dog that their consistent good behavior is a positive reinforcement with a reward.

Rubbing Your Dog’s Nose Curbs Future Behavior

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This is one of those dog training myths that does more harm than good. Dogs tend to understand behavioral problems when the behavior occurs; if you rub your dog’s nose in an accident when you come home and find it likely will not help them make the connection. When you rub its nose, it is like you are punishing a dog that doesn’t know why it’s being punished. 

Dogs Yawn When They Are Tired

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If you catch your dog mid-yawn, you might assume that it’s feeling sleepy, but yawning is common in dogs. They may yawn when tired, bored, anxious, stressed, or want to get away with something.

Short-haired Dogs Don’t Need Grooming

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It is easy to assume that only long-haired dogs would need routine maintenance. But that’s one of the dog myths that are bad for their health. Every dog requires grooming to maintain good health. 

A Warm and Dry Nose Means Your Dog is Sick

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One of the most repeated dog myths concerns dog illness symptoms. This implies that a healthy dog’s nose is always cold and wet, while a healthy dog’s nose is entirely normal when warm and dry. 

Adopting Two Puppies at Once is Best

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Adopting two puppies at once sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach—and one that promises countless adorable puppy pictures. However, from a training and behavioral standpoint, you will have much more to do to train two puppies, and they will be much more challenging to train. They are codependent and don’t seem to develop as much as a puppy raised appropriately. They also tend to get distracted by each other, and because their bond is so strong, they tend to place less value on their human relationships.

Bad Dog Breath is Normal for Dogs

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Bad dog breath is very common, and most people think it is just something dogs have. The truth is that your dog’s breath should not be that bad, and you should brush your dog’s teeth.

A Wagging Tail Always Means a Happy Dog

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Tail wagging is just one way dogs communicate. A wagging tail denotes an excited or happy dog, but that is not always true. A vigorous tail wag to the right means happiness at seeing its owner, and slow wags of a tail held halfway down can mean fear or insecurity.

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