Trainer reveals four things they wish more people knew about dogs — and number two really surprised us!

Man hugging his golden retriever on the streets of Buenos Aires
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Humans have lived alongside dogs for thousands of years, and you might think that by this point we know all there is to know about our canine companions.

However, that’s not necessarily the case. There are still things that some of us don’t know about our pups – even the most experienced dog parents out there might still be learning, whether it’s finding out the best training methods or even the best dog treats

And that’s why Ella Camps-Linney and Alistair Mackenzie, professional trainers and the owners of Kirby Dog Training, have outlined four things they wish people more people knew about dogs, and they might just surprise you...

1. You don’t need to stick out your hand to greet a dog: It’s natural that we might want to stick our hand out to greet a dog, as a gateway into petting them. However, as Camps-Linney and Mackenzie point out, a dog’s nose is thousands of times more sensitive than ours. 

“They can already smell you,” they continue. “Sticking out your hand can cause conflict. Ask their human if it’s okay to say hello and wait to see if they choose to approach you or not.”

2. A dog sniffing you might not be an invitation to touch them: When we’re approached by a dog, we might assume that they want us to fuss over them and pet them. Sometimes, this might be the case – we all know those dogs who try to approach everybody they meet for attention! But it might not always be an invitation to engage. 

As Camps-Linney and Mackenzie say, “Sometimes they just want an opportunity to information gather and don’t want to be touched.” If this is the case, it’s important to respect the dog’s comfort and their wishes. 

3: Humping doesn’t necessarily mean they want to dominate you: Why do dogs hump? There are many reasons why dogs might hump. They might be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, for example. Or, it might be a displacement behavior, which is something a dog might do when they’re trying to decide between two other behaviors as a comfort. 

4. Dogs are doing their best in a human world: “Give them as much help as you can,” say Camps-Linney and Mackenzie. “Learn about what their bodies are trying to tell you, stop assigning human emotions onto them; being stubborn, malicious, spiteful, etc.”

As they point out, our pups are doing their best with the information they’re given. They’re animals that have to adapt to a world that’s built for humans. While it might seem like they get a pretty good deal with loving parents to feed them, walk them, and fuss over them, they still don’t live in a world that’s built for dogs. 

However, if we all bear in mind the advice here, we can go a long way to making sure the world is a better place for our pups!

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices  
$9.99 at Chewy

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
$9.99 at Chewy
Made with real chicken and apples, these deliciously wholesome meaty morsels are made without artificial flavors or colors and are great as a snack or training treat. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.