6 fun facts about dog psychology
Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.
– Orhan Pamuk.
While you may not be able to have a verbal conversation with us, we have our own unique communication style and body language cues that can help you understand us better. Here are six surprising facts about dog psychology:
1. Dogs are as smart as two-year-olds
Beauty, brains, and personality – we’re a doggone triple threat.
In one study, dogs were given a language development test, which shows the average dog can learn 165 words and the smartest breeds have linguistic abilities similar to a two-year-old child. They can also count up to five and do certain mathematical calculations.
“Dogs can tell that one plus one should equal two and not one or three,” according to Professor Stanley Coren, psychology professor and expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia. “They can also deliberately deceive, which is something that young children only start developing later in their life.”
2. Dogs can get jealous
Yes, it’s true. We want your love and attention all to ourselves.
Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego, finds that dogs display jealous behavior when their owners show affection toward an animatronic dog when it barks and wags its tail. The jealous dogs snap at the animatronic dog and try to get between it and their owner.
Leslie Nelson, Training Director at Tails-U-Win! Canine Center in Manchester, Connecticut, explains, “Your attention, your voice, your touch are all to be prized, and it is only natural that a possessive dog would want them all for himself.”
3. Dogs can dream
Have you ever noticed your dog growling or twitching while asleep? Studies show that dogs can, in fact, dream.
The more interesting question, what do dogs dream about? Researchers found that dogs dream about waking life similar to the way humans do. They also have a similar sleep cycle and experience wakefulness, REM sleep and non-rapid eye movement.
4. Dogs have a sixth sense
No, we don’t see dead people like Bruce Willis in the 1999 film. But there are a few other things we instinctively know, so you can stop calling the psychics. We’ve got your back.
According to a 2010 poll, 67 percent of pet owners reported their pets acting bizzare right before a storm, and 43 percent said their pets behaved strangely right before something bad happened. The odd behavior included whining and trying to hide in a safe place.
5. Dogs understand the concept of time
We know if it’s been a long time since we’ve seen you, and we miss you.
Interestingly, dogs respond differently to different lengths of time.
“As the amount of time away increases, so does the dogs’ excitement,” Animal Planet reports. “This will come as no surprise to dog owners; most canines get excited about the return of the master to the castle, especially after long absences.”
6. Your dog’s whiskers help him see in the dark
The main purpose of dogs’ whiskers is to help with their vision. Whiskers pick up vibrations in the air such as wind direction and speed, which gives them clues about the size and shape of what’s around them.
Veterinary consultant Linda Cole explains, “Whiskers are why a dog can hunt in the dark and keep from crashing into furniture, falling down steps or bumping into walls as he walks around the house at night.” She adds, “Moving air currents cause the whiskers to vibrate and alert a dog to an obstacle or prey.”
I am literally only scratching the surface of dog psychology, but don’t worry. I’m saving some surprises for later. Stay tuned!