Debunking the most common dog myths
01/4MYTH 1: A wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog.
FACT: Most of us think a wagging tail is a sign of a friendly dog, but did you know that a dog would also wag his tail just before he is going to bite? Dogs communicate with their tails, so it's a good idea to learn what the canine means when it uses this highly mobile appendage. For example, an aggressive dog will hold its tail erect and wag it very stiffly from side to side. A friendly or happy dog will hold its tail horizontally and wag really fast – the whole rear end moves. A frightened dog will hold its tail low, close to its legs and wag in a nervous manner. Before approaching an unfamiliar canine, it's important to note its entire demeanor, not just the tail.readmore
02/4MYTH 2: My dog knows when he's done something wrong. He looks guilty when I scold him.
FACT: Submissive displays like cowering or, as we humans call it, ‘looking guilty’ have nothing to do with your dog ‘knowing that he's done something wrong’. Most owners scold a dog well after it has committed its naughty act, arguing that the dog knows it did something wrong. Since a dog cannot associate praise or punishment with an action, unless it immediately follows the action, he has no idea why he is being scolded. He looks guilty because he is frightened of the owner's aggressive behavior and is trying to placate him using a display that, in a dog's mind, should work. Under normal circumstances, a dominant dog won't continue to challenge a dog that is showing submission. If you do want to scold your dog for any reason, make sure you do it only if you catch your dog in the act and, even then, keep it short.readmore
03/4MYTH 3: Dogs are scavengers and can eat all kinds of human foods.
FACT: While some human foods are beneficial to dogs, such as eggs, yogurt (some dogs may be lactose intolerant), flaxseed, chicken liver, and green beans, some are actually poisonous. For instance, chocolate can cause Theobromine poisoning and be fatal – even a small amount can cause lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. Onions fed over a long time can cause anemia. Bones can cause choking, internal punctures and, in some cases, even death. Macadamia nuts can cause indigestion, and grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure. So feed human foods to dogs with caution.readmore
04/4MYTH 4: Dogs kiss us on the lips as a sign of affection.
FACT: Kissing is a primate's and not a canine's way of showing affection. Puppies lick their mother on the lips to get her to regurgitate food. They often do the same with humans and the behavior, if rewarded, can quickly turn into an attention-seeking one. Licking can also be a signal of submission -- if you scold a pup, it might try to lick your lips in a similar gesture of pacification. So while face-licking may not represent love, it nevertheless can be interpreted as a token of a dog's affection or respect.readmore