When it comes to dogs, myths abound from misinformation about their care and temperament, to behavior and intelligence. The problem with myths is that pet owners who act on misinformation may not best meet the needs of their dog. To separate fact from fiction, the American Kennel Club sets the record straight on some of the most well-known dog myths. Among them:
You can't teach an old dog new tricks
False. The most common untrue dog saying probably stemmed from someone who couldn't get his dog to catch a Frisbee. You actually can teach an adult dog new tricks such as how to shake hands, speak and roll over by keeping training sessions short and fun and by using plenty of positive reinforcement including praise and treats.
Dogs are sick when their noses are warm
False. It's an old wives tale that cold, wet noses indicate health. The temperature of the nose does not indicate health or illness. The only way to tell your dog's temperature is to take it with a thermometer.
A dog's wagging tail means he's happy
False. While a natural, mid-level wagging tail indicates happiness, most other wags mean the complete opposite. A high, stiff wagging tail means the dog is agitated and ready to protect something, and a low and very quick wag means the dog is scared and submissive.
Dogs can learn 250 words
True. The smartest, best-trained dogs are similar to a 2-year-old child in their ability to learn and recognize words. The border collie is an example of a dog breed that can learn many different words.
For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC website at akc.org.