With so many people owning dogs, there is bound to be a ton of information on their behavior, health and happiness readily available, especially now in the age of social media. But just how much of this information is true? Well, it turns out that there are several common myths about dogs that are still being passed around, and we’re here to debunk them! How many of these have you heard before?
Myth #1. Dogs Only See in Black and White
It's incredibly common to hear that dogs are completely colorblind. However, that is not exactly true. Dogs have receptors in their eyes that can pick up color, but mostly only shades of blue and yellow. They have issues deciphering shades of greens and reds, so they mostly show up as grey or brown. They have a similar vision to humans that are red -green colorblind.
Myth #2. The Alpha Dog Mentality
While it is true that you want your dog to listen to you, that is NOT achieved through being the “pack leader” of your house. The Alpha Theory was based on wolves that were observed in captivity and not their natural habitat. The theory was actually debunked by the same person that created it!
Instead of leading with an alpha mentality, you should work on building mutual respect between you and your dog. You can do this by working with how your dog learns and being confident in yourself.
Myth #3. A Wagging Tail Means the Dog is Happy
This myth is a particularly dangerous one. Dogs do use their tails to communicate their emotions, however a wagging tail does not necessarily mean a happy or friendly dog. Sometimes a wagging tail means the dog is anxious, nervous or even feeling threatened.
When observing dog behavior, you must take in account the entire body and its actions or positions. For example, a dog who has a wiggly body with a wagging tail is likely happy and relaxed, while a dog with a tense body and wagging tail is likely feeling threatened and may lash out if approached.
Myth #4. Dogs Eat Grass When Their Tummy is Upset
You may have heard that a dog eating grass means that they are feeling ill. But it’s more likely that your dog just enjoys the flavor! It may also mean your dog is bored, so adding some enriching activities into his day may reduce this behavior. If the grass isn’t covered in harmful substances and your dog isn’t frequently vomiting grass, it’s totally normal and okay for you dog to munch. It’s kind of like a doggie version of a salad!
Myth #5. A Tired Dog is A Happy Dog
A dog with its needs fulfilled is a happy dog! While exercise is a major part of your dog’s needs, it certainly isn’t all of them. Food, shelter, attention and mental stimulation also play into your dog’s health and happiness. Adding enriching activities, such as daily training sessions, treat sniffing games and safely exploring new environments, fulfills your dog in more ways than just physical exercise does.
In fact, too much physical exercise can be a bad thing!
Young puppies, senior dogs and breeds that are long and low to the ground (like dachshunds and basset hounds) can easily injure their joints, paw pads or muscles if overworked. Too much exercise also builds endurance, meaning your dog will need more and more exercise to expel their energy. This makes for an exhausting job for you!