Debunking Some Pet Myths

  • 22/01/2018
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There are many sayings about dogs that have been around for centuries. Many of these are simply myths whose origins cannot be definitely known. Still, they are widely believed.

One of the most popular myths about dog health is that a cold, wet nose is a sign of a healthy dog and a warm, dry nose indicates that the dog is ill. The fact is a dry or warm nose has no connection with the dog’s health. For example, it can be perfectly normal for a dog’s nose to be dry and warm if he has just woken up. If his nose is often dry and crusted it might be a sign that he has a health problem. If your dog is having any unusual symptoms or behaving differently, take him to your vet.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Puppies are easier to teach since they haven’t had the chance to learn bad habits which have to be changed. However, dogs of all ages are ready to learn. It may not be as easy to teach a senior dog, but it can be done. He may not see or hear as well as he used to and he may not have as much energy, but he is still willing and able to learn. Some dogs, though, develop senility as they age and won’t be able to remember new information very well.

It is widely thought that dogs can see only in black and white. They can see in colour, but not in the way we do. Their colour vision is believed to be similar to red-green colour blindness in humans, although not exactly the same. They cannot distinguish between some shades of green, yellow and red, but they can see in colour.

When a dog wags his tail, he is happy. This is not always true. Tail wagging is just one way dogs communicate. A dog wags his tail for various reasons. The key to understanding why a dog is wagging his tail is to look at the height at which the tail is being held. A friendly relaxed dog wags his tail at a middle height. A low tail wag might mean the dog is submissive or anxious. A rapid wagging tail held up high or vertical means the dog is alert and might be showing threatening or dominant behaviour. Don’t look just at your dog’s wagging tail. Notice his overall outward behaviour and bearing to determine his mood.

How old is your dog in human years? The common myth is that a year in your dog’s life is equal to seven years for a human. Of course, dogs age at a faster rate than humans. It is faster during a dog’s early life and then seems to slow as they get older. A one-year-old dog is very much like a human teenager, but a seven-year-old dog is like a middle-aged human. The size and breed of the dog has a lot to do with how fast he ages and his lifespan. Small breeds can live 15 to 20 years while the large breeds may live only 7 to 10 years.

Can you housebreak your dog more quickly if you rub his nose in his accidents? Absolutely not. Punishing him for normal behaviour, even if not done in the place you would like it, encourages him to hide it better next time. Instead, reward him with praise or a special treat when he goes in the right spot.

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