Myth Busters: The Truth About Dogs

When it comes to dogs, myths abound – from misinformation about their care and temperament, to behavior and intelligence.

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, fun, and using plenty of positive reinforcement including praise and treats.

  • Dogs are sick when their noses are warm – False

    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. There are several Border Collies who are well-known for their amazing knowledge of the English language.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC website.

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