cute dogs

Seven Dog Myths That Lead to Mishaps

st bernards

Why is it that dogs are often at fault and take the blame for human error? There are some commonly held myths that are simply old wives tales, urban legend, or perhaps a combination of both. Fidose of Reality presents seven dog myths that lead to mishaps:

Myth: Petting a Dog Because He’s Cute

Fact: Well, not always. I recall a dog trainer friend asking me one time if I liked strangers to hug me without warning. Apparently dogs don’t like it very much either. I’ve gone so far as to ask someone if I can pet their dog or if he or she is friendly. Though dogs can behave differently if startled or provoked, one should never pet a dog without asking his owner first and only if the dog is exhibiting proper body language that being petted is acceptable. A dog whose ears are back or whose tail is tucked between his legs is clearly telling you to back off. If a dog feels threatened, he might bite. Come to think of it, I might, too, if you extend an uninvited hug.


dog bites

Myth: Letting a Dog in a Car Alone “Just for a Few Minutes” Is Safe

The key words of “dog in a car alone” speak volumes. Dogs should never be left alone in a car. In the warmer months, a car acts as a greenhouse and can cause harm and even death to pets. During the colder months, dogs can freeze to death even in a short period of time. Cars act as a refrigerator in cold months. A dog alone in a car, no matter the season, is a target for thieves. Just don’t do it.

dog travel

Myth: Dogs do not absorb antifreeze or harmful chemicals on walks through their paws.

Fact: A dog’s pads are more resilient than other parts of his body, but chemicals can be absorbed through them. In turn, chemicals like antifreeze can be licked by dogs and cause severe problems. Wipe dog pads off thoroughly after a walk, perhaps using some warm water and a washcloth to melt any ice balls that may have formed on the feet.

cocker spaniel

Myth: I Can Tie My Dog Up Outside the Store While I Shop

Fact: You basically gave your dog away to whatever stranger wants him. My grandmother used to say, “If all your friends are planning to jump from a bridge, should you do it, too?” Well, just because a pole is available in front of a store does not mean a dog should be tethered to it. You expose your dog to strangers, those with ill intentions, and those who will take your dog, run far away, and never look back. Just don’t do it.

cocker spaniel

Myth: Dogs in shelters who cower and seem afraid will not make for good pets.

Fact: If your life has been turned upside down at the hands of people, it makes sense that any creature would shy away from strange humans. Imagine being tossed in a kennel and maybe you never knew the insides of one before. If you came from an abusive situation or fear loud sounds, cowering is likely. Dogs in shelters that exhibit fearful behavior just might need some TLC, proper training, to build trust, and gain confidence that not all human beings are simply crappy creatures.

small dogs

Myth: I Don’t Have to Brush My Dog’s Teeth if He Eats Kibble

Fact: If you eat hard food, you don’t have to brush your teeth either, right? Wrong! Teeth are teeth no matter if they are attached to a dog or a human. Dental hygiene is as important to a dog’s overall well being as much as plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and a good diet. Brush daily and never with a human toothpaste—ask your pet’s veterinarian for the one best recommended for your dog. Now and then, a professional dental cleaning may be warranted. At the very least, brush a few times a week. Kibble is not a toothbrush.

teeth stuff

Myth: Rubbing a Dog’s Nose in Feces Teaches Him Not To Do It In the House

Fact: Let’s do the same thing to babies and see if it works. Not only is this disgusting and unsanitary, but it teaches the dog nothing except that excreting means his pack does a terrible thing to them. Dogs might start excreting in less apparent places of the home, and housebreaking turns into a nightmare. Positive reinforcement is key. Be patient, be kind, and be consistent but not at the expense of gross and bizarre behavior.

cute dog


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  1. Love, love, love this article! Especially the first point about dog body language. Too many people are unfamiliar with how to interpret their dog’s body language and then feel things happen “out of the blue”. So many great points in this article!

  2. Great list of don’ts for dogs! It is a shame that it has to be spelled out to folks. Maybe it’s the same ones that need a tag on the radio saying don’t drop it in the bathtub! DUH… Haha!

  3. Great list. In Germany it is common in smaller towns to leave your dog outside the bakery in the morning when you go to get fresh rolls. Mom always left her dog where she could watch it. One day she was paying and during that short time, Katie pulled the heavy iron bench out into the road with her leash still attached. She saw another dog she wanted to play with. Luckily she wasn’t hit by a car, and Mom was able to untie her and get her off the street, but Mom couldn’t move the bench back! Lesson learned.

  4. I hear the kibble myth a lot. Did vets start this myth back in the day? Dog food companies? I remember my mom used to say we didn’t have to brush our dog’s teeth since the kibble would help clean the teeth.

    Well, now more pet owners know better, at least.

    I’m still really bad at brushing my dog’s teeth, though. I’d like to make a habit of it. Perhaps the easiest would be to start with just twice per week.

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