You might think that you know all there is to know about dogs. After all, they are descended from wolves and look to you as their pack leader, right? However, there are many myths about dogs that have slowly built up over the years right from their early days of domestication. To provide you with a greater understanding of man’s best friend, here are four myths about dogs that can be easily debunked.
1. You need to be the pack leader
As dogs are descended from wolves, scientists and dog trainers have looked to wolf packs as examples of how best to train your dog in a way that fits in with their natural instincts. This has led to the idea that you, as the owner, needs to be dominant over your dog as the pack leader in order to encourage obedience. However, research now reveals a surprising similarity between wolf and human families – pack leaders are in fact parents taking care of and teaching their cubs. So, instead of using training methods based on dominance and fear, train your dog using positive reinforcement and praise when they have done something right. You will soon have a well-behaved, well-adjusted and happy canine friend.
2. Dogs are solely carnivorous
Another myth is that dogs are carnivores, right? Diamond Pet Foods has the answer, which might in fact surprise you – the fact is that dogs are actually omnivorous. Before human domestication, dogs were pack animals scavenging for food – a behavior you can still see today in communities of feral dogs – and as such they evolved to be less picky about food and obtain their nutrients from a variety of sources. As an omnivore, make sure that your dog obtains all the nutrients they need from dog food that contains both meat and plant ingredients.
3. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Dogs are very intelligent creatures who thrive off the mental stimulation that tricks and training bring – you only have to watch service dogs in action to know this. Though it is true that puppies learn very quickly, with time and patience you can certainly train an older dog too. The key is to stick to relatively short training sessions spread throughout the day. Dogs learn best with positive reinforcement, so grab your treats and be ready to give lots of praise as you embark on your fun training sessions.
4. Dogs know when they have done wrong
Has your dog ever looked at you with a guilty expression only for you to discover that they have chewed the toilet paper? Contrary to popular belief, your dog does not actually know that they have done wrong and now feels guilty, they are actually showing appeasement behavior. By doing this, dogs are responding to their owner’s upset and anger in an effort to diffuse tension if the dog feels threatened. The dog might be especially like to use appeasement behavior if they have been told off in the past.