Have you heard the old wives take that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's? It's not. This myth may stem from the fact that dogs often lick their wounds and some tend to heal faster. However, what this statement does not take into account is the wounds that don't heal faster or that a dog's mouth can be full of icky substances he picks off the ground!
Here are some other myths you should not believe:
- My dog can understand me when I talk to him. Chances are your dog can understand between 100 - 500 words. When he cocks his head with that mystified look, this often means he doesn't comprehend what you are saying. Remember, he doesn't speak English and you don't speak dog. He may latch on to a few words, but often time he is reading your body language, facial expressions and listening to your tone of voice.
- Dog training works best when it relies on dominance and punishment. The Bark Busters method of dog training relies not on punishment or treats - these result in short term changes in behavior versus long term results. Instead, any dog training method should rely on training a dog in a language he understands versus bribery or inhumane techniques.
- Dogs that growl are mean. Sometimes a growl means the dog is uncomfortable or afraid. Dogs need to be taught the appropriate way to signal danger or display aggression.
- Only male dogs "hump" or lift their leg to urinate. Untrue! Female dogs, especially dominant female dogs, will lift their leg to urinate and "hump" other dogs or objects even if they are spayed.
- Indoor dogs don't need heart worm prevention. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes which can come inside.
- Dogs eat grass, poop or rocks because of nutritional imbalances. Sometimes it is a mystery why dogs eat some of the things they do. They may just be bored or trying to get attention. Make sure to have your dog on a healthy, well-balanced diet. Ask your vet if your dog tends to eats inappropriate items a lot.
- Female dogs should have a litter before they are spayed. This is not true. Dogs that have a litter before they are spayed are not better for it in any way. In fact, spayed dogs are at lower risk for breast cancer and uterine infections.
- A warm or dry nose means your dog is sick. Actually, whether your dog's nose is dry or wet, warm or cold is NOT a clue to his health. When a dog wakes up, for example, his nose is often dry. If you notice your dog's nose is crusty, this may be a sign you should contact your vet.
- Dogs can only see in black and white. Actually, dogs can see color, just not the way that humans do. It is believed that dogs see primarily in blue, greenish-yellow, yellow and various shades of gray.
- Dogs age seven years for every human year. Think about it ... many dogs live to 15 which would make them 105. Not likely! Although dogs age at a faster rate than humans, it seems their rate is faster in the early years and slows down as they get older. How fast they age also depends on their size and breed.
Think your dog is wagging his tail because he's happy? Be careful - he could be wagging it out of fear or anxiety! Here are many mythes that are quite common but untrue!