There is always plenty of advice to given regarding dogs behaviour & characters – but how many of them are actually true.
Dogs can only see in black & white
Dogs can see some colours although far fewer than humans.
Dogs know when they have done something wrong.
When you think your dog is looking ‘guilty’ they are actually picking up on your disappointment or anger at seeing the sofa has been chewed. It is their way of diffusing tension to in response to feeling threatened.
When my dog eat grass it means they are sick.
It is much more likely to be because it tastes nice, particularly in spring & summer months when grass is fresh. As long as the grass hasn’t been sprayed with harmful pesticides they should be fine.
Dogs age seven years for every human year.
Working out a dogs age in human years isn’t that simple. Different breeds mature at different ages, and lifespans vary based on size & genetics. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds and they also take longer to mature.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Of course you can! While it takes longer than a pup, an adult dog can certainly be trained. Make training sessions fun, keep them positive and do them little & often.
A female dog feels ‘empty’ if they don’t have a litter.
This is an old wives’ tale. Dogs are unable to feel broody & allowing them to have one litter before being neutered has no proven health or behaviour benefit for them.
Neutering your female dog before their first season reduces the risk of them getting breast cancer. It also prevents other fatal illnesses such as womb infections (pyometra) and prevents false pregnancies.
It is OK to leave your dog in a car with the windows open on a hot day.
It is NEVER OK to leave you dog alone in a hot car, even with the windows down. Cars heat up extremely quickly in warm weather and heatstroke can be fatal to pets in a matter of minutes.
Rescue dogs are all damaged – there is a reason why they are a rescue dog.
This is quite simply UNTRUE as anyone how has been lucky enough to share their life with a rescue dog will tell you.
In actual fact the most common reason for dogs being rehomes is that their previous owner no longer has the time to care for them.
Getting an older dog rather than a puppy has lots of benefits. Adult dogs’ personalities are already formed so you can judge whether the dog is a right for you. Also a lot of rescue organisations offer behavioural support for life, so if you do need a bit of help with your new pet, all you have to do is ask.
A little bit of chocolate is fine.
Chocolate is dangerous to dogs. Just how dangerous depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog.
Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’ which is toxic to dogs. White chocolate has a little but dark chocolate contains a lot of it. Either way it is best not to run the risk and save the chocolate treat for yourself.
If you dog has eaten a lot of chocolate particularly if it is dark, call your vet immediately for assistance.
I need to dominate my dog to show him who is boss.
Dominance based dog training has thankfully evolved, and like a human parent teaches their child right from wrong (hopefully) a dog owner is responsible for helping their pet become a well-behaved and sociable member of society. You don’t need to pull rank – your dog isn’t competing with you for status. Dogs should not be disciplined with fear or pain.
For guidance, take a class that uses positive training techniques and praise your pet for good behaviour.
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