Think a canine kiss is clean? Wondering how the world looks in black and white? If you’re the type of person who can’t resist throwing down a Snopes.com link in a Facebook family feud, this is definitely the post for you.
Common Dog Myths, Debunked
Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths
Sadly, according to real scientists, dogs have just as much bacteria in their mouths as a humans, but of different varieties. Some claim this myth spawned from the canine habit of licking a wound, which actually works by removing debris and diseased tissue—not because of any magical properties of dog saliva.
A dry nose means a sick dog
Most commonly thought to be a sign of fever, a dry nose isn’t necessarily a sign of illness. Only your thermometer knows for sure (101F to 102.5 is the healthy range).
A dry nose can result from many things. Common reasons for a dry nose include sunburn (more common in dogs with pink noses) and allergies.
Dogs can’t see color
Dogs can see colors on the blue and yellow spectrum, but don’t have the cone receptors in their eyes to pick out red and green. Regular dog vision is closest to a human with red-green colorblindness. Myth BUSTED!
Dogs only eat grass when they’re sick
Wild canines and domestic dogs of all shapes and sizes just love a good graze sometimes. Dogs will vomit occasionally from eating long grasses but there’s no secret ingredient that causes the reaction. Just tickly, I guess!
A wagging tail means a happy dog
Yes, happy dogs wag their tails—but so do aggressive or agitated ones. Dog body language is much more involved than just setting the tail to on or off. Gaze, posture, facial expression, and ear position blend with the tail cues to create a range of expressions. Check out our recent post, An Illustrated Guide to Dog Behavior, for more details.
Dogs age 7 years for every human year
In reality, dogs mature much faster (2 years) and their size and weight plays a large role in their life span.
You have to be “Alpha Dog” in your home
“The fact is, successful social groups work because of voluntary deference, not because of aggressively enforced dominance. The whole point of social body language rituals is to avoid conflict and confrontation, not to cause it. Watch any group of dogs interacting. Time and time again you’ll see dogs deferring to each other. It’s not even always the same dog deferring.” – Whole Dog Journal
Being calm, confident, and consistent in training a dog never goes out of style—but Dominance Theory sure has. The misconception stems from inconclusive research into wolf behavior and the fact that much like teenagers, some dogs are just as easily conditioned by negative attention as positive attention.