Learn the truth about how to care for your canines

If you’re a dog owner, I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of dog myths. While many are silly and harmless, there are some that could be preventing you from giving your dog the care he deserves.

I’m here to set the record straight and debunk some of the most common dog myths:

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

Okay guys, what’s with the age discrimination? Coming from an older dog, I can tell you I’ve always got new tricks up my sleeve. But don’t just take my word for it, research also backs me up.

Discovery Channel Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage found two 7-year old Alaskan malamutes, Bobo and Cece, who didn’t know any tricks. Hyneman and Saveage spent four days training the dogs, and by the end Bobo and Cece could both sit, heel, lay down, stay and shake on command.

So, there you have it: dogs can learn new tricks at any age.

2. Dogs are colorblind

No, we don’t see the world as if it’s a depressing, black and white, silent film.

Studies show that a dog’s color vision is similar to that of a person who has red–green colorblindness. Dogs can see yellow, blue and grey.

Fun fact: Dog Vision is a website that can show you the world as your dog sees it, including color and visual perception.

3. Tail wagging means a friendly dog

If you try to pet every dog with a wagging tail, you’ll quickly learn it’s a bad idea. A wagging tail doesn’t necessarily indicate a friendly disposition.

“While some wags are indeed associated with happiness, others can mean fear, insecurity, a social challenge or even a warning that if you approach, you are apt to be bitten,” according to Stanley Coren, PhD, FRSC, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

4. A dog year is equal to 7 human years

This is one of the most common dog myths I’ve heard. Figuring out your dog’s age isn’t as simple as multiplying by 7. For example, you have to take the breed into consideration. Larger dogs age faster than smaller dogs.

“There are several factors that must be taken into account in order to even guesstimate a dog’s ‘actual’ age,” BarkPost reports. “Size, breed, and the fact that dogs aren’t humans, all play a role in determining how canines truly age.”

5. A dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours

Whoever started spreading this rumor clearly isn’t paying attention to what dogs are putting in their mouths.

Marty Becker, author of Chicken Soup for the Dog Owner’s Soul, says,They raid the garbage can. You know, we give each other a peck on the cheek when we say hello, they give each other a peck on the rear end.” Becker adds, “All you got to do is look, watch, smell and you’ll realize that that is not true.”

But don’t let that stop you from giving us kisses! Becker also says that most of the bacteria in a dog’s mouth is “species specific,” so it isn’t harmful to humans. In other words, you can’t get a cold from your dog or vice versa.

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Waldo

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