You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! 5 common canine myths busted by animal expert

Ronny Lavie By Ronny Lavie , source

As the old saying goes, the dog is man's best friend - but how much do you really know about your canine companion?

We like to think we can read their behaviour and know what's best for them, but there are some common myths that we still fall for.

With that in mind, we got in touch with zoologist and animal behaviourist Muriel Brasseur, who has a PhD in Behaviour and Genetics, to tell us about some of the most common myths and the truth behind them.

MYTH 1: Dogs wag their tails when they are happy

'The oldest and most common canine myth. The tail is an essential part of the dog’s communication system, and the height, motion, speed and whether tense or relaxed are all important factors.

"For example, a low to mid-tail wagging slowly could signify a relaxed dog or a worried dog, while a tail held up higher and wagging faster could mean a dog is happy and excited or on the alert.

"To get the whole picture, the dog’s tail must be read in context with the rest of the body.

"The direction of movement also appears to be significant. A 2007 study led by scientists at the University of Trento, in Italy, revealed that dogs wag their tails to the right when looking at something they want to approach - such as their owner.

"However, they wag their tails to the left when faced with something they want to back away from, such as an unfriendly or aggressive dog."

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