7 Dog Myths That Need To Be Put To Rest

by Cory Brannon April 17, 2016

7 Dog Myths That Need To Be Put To Rest

Every dog owner hears plenty of well-meaning advice, but sometimes it’s not the most accurate information. In a world full of Google searches and old wives’ tales, it’s very easy to hear things about dog care that isn’t entirely true. Every dog is different, of course, and there are some universal truths (like no chocolate) that should always be respected.

But let’s put these seven common dog myths to rest once and for all, shall we?


1) Tail-wagging is a sign of friendliness.

Yikes! This is a common misconception, and it’s easy to misinterpret. Dogs do wag their tails when they get excited, but they also wag them for other reasons. In fact, dogs tend to wag their tails when they interact with any human or animal. Pay attention to other visual clues like body posture, eyes and ears. If the dog seems nervous or guarded, stay back.

2) Playing tug creates aggression.

Most dogs love a good game of tug, and offering this game is actually a great alternative to rewarding a good behavior with food. The trick is to teach your dog to avoid making contact with your skin when playing the game and to teach him to stop when you’re ready to be done.

3) Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

If you have a grass-eater, you’ve probably noticed that he also eats grass when he isn’t sick. Sometimes dogs do eat grass to replenish nutrients in their bodies that they aren’t getting from food, but sometimes they eat it because they’re hungry… and dogs eat almost anything. If he does throw up afterward, his stomach probably isn’t a fan, so discourage him from munching on it.

4) Your dog knows he did something wrong because he “looks guilty.”

He’s actually just trying to avoid a confrontation when his head hangs low and his shoulders slump.

5) You have to assert strict dominance over your dog or he will dominate you.

While teaching your pup the rules of the household and training him to behave are important, the idea that he is constantly trying to assert his dominance is outdated. When your dog jumps on you, pulls on his leash or won’t let you groom him, it’s not necessarily because he’s dominant. He just wants to be close to you and he probably finds the grooming tools scary.

6) A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? The truth is, dogs’ mouths are full of bacteria, just like ours. But it’s usually bacteria that won’t get you sick or hurt you, so let your dog kiss you anyway.

7) Mixed dog breeds are healthier than purebreds.

This rumor is constantly perpetuated, and it was probably started because shelters wanted the mixed doggies to get adopted. The rate of healthy vs. unhealthy dogs is the same whether they’re purebred or not, and the prevalence of many genetic disorders is also about the same. Adopt a mixed breed or a purebred pup from a shelter or rescue without worry… he’s probably just fine.

Cory Brannon
Cory Brannon