5 Weird Questions Pet Owners Commonly Ask

There is no such thing as a dumb question—and whether you'd like to admit it or not, you've probably wondered about at least one of these inquiries below. How do we know? Experts at the AKC GoodDog! Helpline are actually asked these questions all the time. Learn the answers below. No one has to know about it. 

Will it confuse my dog if I change her name?

Dogs don’t understand the concept of names—right now, she's responding to the sound of the name you taught her to respond to. Teach her to recognize the new name by pairing it with her current one. For example, you want to change Millie’s name to Cameo, so start calling her “Cameo-Millie!” She will learn that “Cameo” predicts “Millie” and will respond. When she reliably responds to the paired names, you can begin to drop off the “Millie” half. 

Can I paint my dog’s nails?

Human nail polish has toxins like formaldehyde that, although won’t kill your dog, may make him ill. And when you want to take it off, the nail polish remover you would have to use contains even more chemicals. Your groomer may offer healthy alternatives to coloring your dog’s nails. 

My dog smells everyone’s private areas. Why? How can I stop this? 

Dogs naturally sniff each other’s nether regions as a way of gathering information (that's why you'll often see your dog leaning in to catch a whiff of another dog's rear). Fortunately, we humans have alternative ways of greeting one another. If you have company over, ask him to "down-stay" while they are there or keep him leashed until you teach him another way to say "hello." Training him to touch someone’s hand (with the command "touch") as a greeting and then returning to you for a reward can be helpful. 

Does raw food turn dogs wild?

No. Food itself, whether cooked or raw, will not turn a domesticated animal wild/feral or vice versa. 

Why does my Border Collie bark at the fire in the fireplace?

It is not uncommon for Border Collies to bark at things that move or make noises, especially when they do not have a job. Make sure she gets lots of exercise and training. In addition, giving her more activities and creating jobs for her through her training (have her "sit-stay" before throwing a ball to her, for example). Give her a job to do other than bark at the fireplace by calling her and asking her to do an alternate behavior, then reward her for doing so. If she looks back at fireplace without barking, reward that behavior too.

Learn more about the GoodDog! Helpline here.