fact fiction

Five Dog Facts Vs Dog Fiction

fact fiction

Does a tail wag always mean a happy dog? Are a dog’s sloppy kisses a surefire sign of its affection? Since dogs are unable to verbalize what they are really thinking, there are nonverbal cues that we can learn from and respond to accordingly. We separate the dog facts from the dog fiction.

1. A wagging tail indicates a happy dog.


Not always. A friendly wag is generally wide and sweeping for long-tailed dogs, and rapid and joyful for smaller breeds. Pay attention to other nonverbal cues: Ears tend to hang low and eye contact is remiss in a happily wagging dog. When a stiffly wagging tail that is held higher is coupled with a glare, this might indicate trouble, so keep your dog clear of any other dogs that are exhibiting that behavior.


2. My dog kisses me because it loves me.

Partially true.

Dogs like the taste of salt, so it may just be that human skin tastes good to them. Other factors are probably at play too. For example, mother dogs lick their newborns from the start. Pups from an early age then learn to associate the licking sensation with something positive, welcome and comforting. In the dog world, it is therefore often a gift to be licked! So consider those poochie smoochies to be a sign of devotion and loyalty.


3. Dogs yawn because they are bored.


Though often considered a sign of boredom, yawns may indicate tension or anxiety in a dog. Yawning may occur when being hugged or petted or even upon being approached by a stranger. Of course, your dog may simply be yawning because it is sleepy and/or relaxed.


4. Dogs roll over and expose their stomachs for a belly rub.

Tralse (a little true, a little false).

A sign of submission, dogs will roll over to show another dog or person they are not a threat or to indicate they are not interested in performing a certain behavior. True, it can mean “Rub my tummy” as well.

Though unable to verbalize, our pets have been communicating their wants, needs and moods for thousands of years. So keep your eyes on your dog. It’s probably trying to tell you something important.


5. Dogs know we are mad at them when we yell for their “peeing or pooping” in the house.


Finding a puddle of piddle in the house may not be pleasant for humans, but dogs do not feel guilt when humans disapprove. Instead, they are reacting to the emotional response of their owner, regardless of when the accident occurred.


What falsehoods do you encounter as a dog mom or dog dad? Bark at us below in the comments.


  1. Good ones. Licking is also a sign of stress and anxiety. My lab cousin Lena is a nervous mess at her house and a constant licker. She doesn’t get walked, doesn’t have toys, she is frustrated. She stays with us a few times a year. Mom runs with her, we walk and play with her, she has toys, antlers to chew on and a soft bed. Within a day, she stop licking altogether. It is amazing! She loves and misses her family, but a lab was the wrong breed for them as they wanted a couch potato, not a dog that needs activity.

  2. This is a super-interesting and informative post! My dog constantly licks my husband, and I’m always confused as to whether it’s because he is “kissing” him, tasting him, or washing him! 🙂

    Another possibility: My brother has a female chihuahua who CONSTANTLY humps. She will try to hump other dogs (male or female), even babies. If she can’t get to them, she will hump the air. It is bizarre, but this is a dominance thing, right?

    Thank you for a great article 🙂

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