Dog Myth Busters

Some myths or ‘Old Wives Tales’ about dogs have been around forever!  Here’s the top 8 most harebrained myths I’ve ever come across:


1) You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

Really?  Come on.  Not only can old dogs learn new tricks, they thrive on it.  If your old dog won’t try a new trick, it’s probably either because they have you trained well or they’re just really good at sulking!  Dogs have brains and they use them.  They can learn!

Dog Myth Busters

2) Dogs are colorblind

Who comes up with this stuff?  Of course they’re not colorblind.  I mean I’m sure the occasional dog is colorblind, just like the occasional person is.  But as a species?  No, they’re not color blind.

Dog Myth Busters

3) Humping…  Only male dogs do it

Dogs don’t hump for sexual reasons, they hump for dominant reasons.  And it’s done by males, females and even puppies.  They’re body language creatures.  If one dog humps another they’re trying to demonstrate dominance, or figure out where they stand with the other dog.

Dog Myth Busters

4) Smacking a dog on the nose with newspaper, or rubbing their nose in their ‘accidents’ is an effective house breaking training method

I’m cringing right now!  The only thing you’ll accomplish by hitting a dog with anything for any reason is abuse.  And rubbing their nose in it will desensitize them to their instinct to be clean.  Furthermore, both ABUSIVE methods will only terrify your dog and teach them to be scared of you! To learn proper housebreaking methods click here.Dog Myth Busters

5) Dogs get plenty of exercise when left in the backyard

I laugh at this one because I always get this mental image of a ‘doggy gym‘ set up in your back yard.  Ya, your dog is a fitness nut and will slap on the sweats and jump on your doggy bench press; (sense sarcasm).  No, you cannot count ‘back yard’ time as exercise.  Most dogs will just sit at the door and wait for you to either come play or let them in.  Either that or they’ll find mischief.

6) ‘Alpha-rolling’ your dog is a good training method

And whoever came up with this ‘training method’ takes the cake for stupidity!  The idea behind alpha rolling is this; if you physically maneuver a dog onto their back so their belly is showing, it will make them submissive to you, therefor easier to train.  The reality is you’ll accomplish the exact opposite.  A dog will willingly roll over and show their belly to a more dominant pack member to demonstrate they’re no threat and accept their more submissive position.  The key there is ‘willingly‘.  If it’s not the dog’s choice to submiss, they won’t submiss.  They will, however, remember your cruelty and more then likely get even with you one day.  They’ll either learn to mistrust you or be scared of you.  Both are horrible for training, and bonding for that matter.


7) Only sick dogs eat grass

When dogs in the wild kill an animal, the first thing they eat is the stomach and content (tripe).  Their prey are typically vegetarian animals.  So this tells us that dogs need vegetables in their diet.  Dogs eat grass not because they’re sick but because it helps with digestion and offers some nutritional benefits.  

8) A wagging tail means a happy dog

As I said above, dogs are body language creatures.  A wagging tail means a lot of different things.  Yes, sometimes a wagging tail means a happy dog.  But sometimes it means they’re feeling stressed or assertive.  Just because you see a tail wag does not mean you should approach.  The way they’re wagging their tail could be a warning to stay away!

Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition
Subscribe to Askthedogexpert or leave a comment:

2 Responses to “Dog Myth Busters”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Gill says:

    Great article Brenda!

Leave A Comment...


Anti-Spam Quiz: