Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

The other day I was taking Ellie for a walk right after a storm had passed through.

Ellie was nibbling on some grass in a neighbor's yard when the homeowner came out.

"Oh, poor thing. She doesn't feel well." my neighbor said.

"Oh, she's fine," I replied. "She just likes eating wet grass."

"Weird," said my neighbor, perplexed.

You see, she had always heard that dogs eat grass when they're sick and trying to make themselves vomit.

As it turns out, that's not true.

While some dogs do eat grass when they're nauseous, others do it out of boredom, opportunity, or they simply enjoy the taste of it, like Ellie.

Grass eating is just one of many dog myths that have been floating around over the years.

While some are true, many others are completely false.

Another false dog myth? Rubbing your dog's nose in his "accident" will prevent him from doing it again.

You see, you can really only correct a dog's behavior at the time the misstep occurs.

So, if you see your pup going potty in the wrong place, you absolutely should redirect him to the proper location right away.

But, rubbing your dog's nose in a pile of his "business" hours after the infarction has taken place, is just punishing the dog, and won't lead to a change in behavior.

It may even make the situation worse.

Now, speaking of dog's noses, have you ever heard that a warm, dry nose is an indication that a dog is sick?

This is false, plain and simple.

Many things can affect the wetness and dryness of a dog's nose.

Allergies, dry air, even taking naps.

The occasional dry nose is no cause for alarm.

However, if your pup's nose is chronically dry and cracking, you should make an appointment with your vet to get him checked out.

We've all heard the saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

This has actually been studied and proven to be false.

Senior dogs can learn new tricks, it just might take a little longer than younger pups, especially if their hearing and vision aren't as sharp as they used to be.

But with some patience – and a lot of treats – you can teach your old girl something new.

What dog myths have you heard?

Does your dog do "weird" things like eat grass like my Ellie?

Write me back. I love hearing stories about my readers and their pups.

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Comments

Judy - July 31, 2020

Thanks for your dog myths. Whiskers the 3rd, is my terrier mix. He licks all the time. I’m told it’s allergies… but you know, I pet him & even kiss him on top of his head sometimes. I think that his licks are dog kisses❣️ Of course,
I don’t let him much. But a sweet quick lick tells me he loves me.
I taught him to whisper…so, he’ll bark loud, then I say: okay I see _____whatever. And he whispers!

Rose Burke - July 31, 2020

Jeff, it’s nice to read about your dog. Also, giving tips about false ideas pertaining to dogs health is a nice touch as well.
I have a veritable mixed salad of dogs, a house cat & numerous semi feral cats as well as the cats who only come at night or when no ones visible. As well as the occasional raccoon , possum and of course we can’t leave out the birds who visit daily.
So do you have any other pets or yard visitors?
Stay safe and healthy
Rose Burke

Rose Burke - July 31, 2020

Jeff, it’s nice to read about your dog. Also, giving tips about false ideas pertaining to dogs health is a nice touch as well.
I have a veritable mixed salad of dogs, a house cat & numerous semi feral cats as well as the cats who only come at night or when no ones visible. As well as the occasional raccoon , possum and of course we can’t leave out the birds who visit daily.
So do you have any other pets or yard visitors?
Stay safe and healthy
Rose Burke

J L Neal - July 31, 2020

I learned by watching Cesar the Dog Whisper awhile back, that giving a dog banana chips or chunks (depending on cost), deters digging & eating dirt, chewing or eating everything they see.
I understand it has to do with potassium levels. It has worked for my dogs.

ES hAuge - July 31, 2020

Interesting observation: Every Border Collie (present or past) I have pulls me off the sidewalk on our walks to munch on lantana. None of my other dogs even want to try it. So I tried it……,tasted like mint. But it is puzzling why it is a breed specific taste?

Sue - July 31, 2020

Yes my dog eats grass , he is Bichon. He looks like a sheep in the meadow.

Velma - July 31, 2020

I, when I was much younger, had a few Pitbulls. A friend of mine had MS and when one day we were talking. She asked me how I managed to get them to do things. I told it was love. I loved them and they loved me right back. That’s the wonder of all dogs! She said, “I bet you couldn’t train them to help people like me!” I replied with a bid “whanna bet?”
A few months later, after finding and training a Pitt called “Buddy”, I drove over to her house and presented Buddy to her. He made such a difference in her life, it was amazing. He would fetch and carry, open doors, get her things and even towed her in her wheelchair. He was so happy to do anything she needed.
In the end, he saved her and her family’s lives. The pilot light went out on her water heater one night. He woke everyone up and dragged my friend to safety. He later died of smoke inhalation.
Old dogs, new dogs… they love us no matter what!

Barb - July 31, 2020
I am one of many who thought a dogs nose was supposed to be cold and wet. My dog has been sneezing a lot lately and maybe he does have allergies, but when he started sneezing blood that prompted a visit to the vet where I found out he has a fever and some type of infection in his body. Thank you for providing information, and letting us know that there still are a lot of myths out there concerning dogs characteristics, and habits.
Cheryl Lindeman - July 31, 2020

Hey Jeff. Thanks for the email about dogs. One of my all time favorite subjects. A story that I heard and hope it’s true is when my dog Loki " slow blinks " at me that it’s her way of saying " I love you ". It always makes me smile and I always slow blink back. Hope you and all 4patriots are having your best day yet. Signing off from Southern Arizona.

Carol - July 31, 2020

Hi, I have a Dobbie and he loves to eat grass also. Recently He got sick from a cow bone. There were other bone treats in this bag and some where bleached I believe. He was fine until I gave him the white one I believe to be bleached. He was very sick the next day. Vomiting, and the other end. I gave him only cold water and activated charcole. The inside of this bone was very sticky. So the marrow was bad. I got rid of it. The rest of the bag has also been thrown out. RED BARN was the brand. China products has been removed from treats and other dog foods. Atlas could have died if I hadn’t been on top of things. No more store bought treats from here on. Only fresh bones from a butcher shop from local farmers and I bring them home and boil them as Needed. keep frozen till you cook them. The stores and pet supply stores are now saying they can’t remove them unless the company they came from tells them to. Atlas is more than my protector, he’s my friend and I love him. I have PTSD and he is trained for my needs. I just wanted to share this so other’s will know. Thanks.

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