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Uploaded:2015-07-03
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Jessi shares 3 common misconceptions about animals. Training cats, praising dogs, and a few of our wild furry friends get the record set straight.

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Hi! I'm Jessi, and we are back again at Animal Wonders, and this week I'd like to talk about a few misconceptions about animals. There's hundreds of myths, misunderstandings, and downright lies about some of the animals that live closest to us! It's not fair to them, and it's not fair that we don't know the truth! So let's clear a couple things up.

(Intro music)

Our first misconception is that cats can't be trained. This is just not true at all, and the saying probably came about because of the big difference between dogs and cats. Dogs and humans work really well together, partly because dogs provide a lot of services for humans but also, dogs work really hard to communicate with us. Thanks dogs! 

Cats on the other hand became domesticated to control rodent populations in our living areas. While they did live close to us, they didn't have to communicate directly to humans. They instinctually prey on rodents, so they didn't need any formal training. But that doesn't mean they can't be trained. You can train pretty much any animal, as long as you find a way to communicate and figure out how to reinforce their behaviors. 

Cats can be really fun to snuggle, but think of the bond you could form when you learn to communicate on another level. My cat Ambrose is so fun to work with, his favorite thing to do is turn in a circle and catch the treat in his mouth. If you wanna learn how to train a cat, check out these episodes we've done on training. Cats respond just as well to positive reinforcement training as other animals. 

Misconception number 2? Dogs like being pat on the head as praise. They really don't. Some dogs will tolerate it because they like you, and they'll tolerate a lot of rude behavior from you! But they don't truly enjoy it. If you just look at the dog's body posture when you pat them on the head, you'll often see them squint, slouch, or sometimes pull their lips forward. All those behaviors show that they're uncomfortable. I know it's convenient to pat your dog on top of the head because it's the highest point, but if you want to praise them with touch, move down just a little further and pet and stroke them under their chin or on their neck, or you can stroke and pat them on their shoulders. But no head pats, mister! Or missus.

And our last misconception of the day - foxes, raccoons, and skunks can spontaneously go rabid. Only mammals, but all mammals are susceptible to the rabies virus. However, the only way for a healthy animal to contract rabies is if an infected animal's brain or spinal tissue or their saliva comes in contact with the healthy animal's eyes, ears, nose, or other orifice. But rabies is most commonly known to be spread via a bite from an infected animal.

Some people think that raccoons are just carriers of rabies and walk around for years infecting everything that they bite! No. Rabies is a very serious condition and causes death a hundred percent of the time if left untreated. However it is only contagious when the animal starts showing serious signs of illness, which include foaming at the mouth, aggressive behavior, staggering, and poor coat condition. The virus can lay dormant for days or weeks, but during this time it's not contagious because it hasn't reached the brain yet. Once it reaches the brain, the immune system will react, causing inflammation which in turn causes the symptoms that we can see. This is when it's contagious. 

Raccoons, foxes, and skunks get a bad rap because most of the rabies cases come from these species, but that's just because they are some of the most common wild animals that come in contact with humans. So to be safe, don't interact with any wild animals, especially if they're showing any symptoms that suggest they might be infected with the rabies virus? The best course of action is to contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center. 

I hope I helped set the record straight on some of those dirty lies. I want to give a big thanks to all of our supporters, especially our Patreon patrons who help us keep making these videos! If you would like to go on an animal adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montana. If you have any questions or comments, leave 'em below. Thanks guys. 

(Outro)

During a presentation, I like to bring him out first before any of the other animals, because he does elicit that emotional response. Cheeks is amazing, and he's one of a kind.