Although we, as dog owners, may know our little furry friends from head-to-toe as we live with them under one roof, there will always come a time when we want to see another detail and another thing about them, don’t we?
There is more to dogs than most dog owners think they know. Here are some fun facts about our canine friends and what makes them even more unique than they already are.
1. Dogs are as intelligent as 2-year-old children
- Though it may not seem like it when you discover a chewed-up sneaker or watch your pal chase their tail, dogs are intelligent creatures with mental abilities close to those of a 2-year-old, says canine researcher Dr. Stanley Coren. After conducting several studies, Dr. Coren discovered that dogs could understand up to 250 words/gestures, count up to 5, perform simple calculations, and intentionally deceive dogs and people. Better stay on your toes, dog owners!
2. Dogs can read our emotions
- Sometimes as dog owners, we may think that our dogs feel the negative aura in our house or sometimes the most positive ones. And yes, they are true! When a dog looks at your face, they aren’t always trying to get your attention or beg for a treat. Sometimes, they are taking in your emotions. Dogs are the only animals that can see at a glance if we are happy, sad, or angry. Like humans, dogs have a “left-gaze bias” when looking at a human face. This indicates that dogs look at the right side of the face, which shows emotions more accurately than the left.
3. Dogs don’t feel guilt
Although they always do this little guilty look when they do something wrong, are you going to be surprised that dogs do not have guilty emotions built in them?
When dogs are caught doing something they shouldn’t, they sometimes exhibit what looks like a guilty expression—head lowered, ears back, eyes cheerless. You might think your dog is showing shame and asking for forgiveness, but animal behaviorists report that dogs aren’t capable of feeling guilt. Instead, that “guilty” look is most likely a response to an owner’s angry or upset reaction. So take note of this, dog owners!
4. A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 stronger than ours
- Does everyone know that dogs have a fantastic sense of smell, but were you aware that it’s 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than ours?! One dog scientist likened a dog’s olfactory ability to detect one rotten apple in two million barrels. Dogs are expert sniffers due to the 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose (we have about 6 million) and the part of their brain responsible for analyzing smells (40 times greater than ours). No wonder we, as dog owners, got shaken every time they smelled the freshly baked goodies out of the oven.
5. Dogs are amazingly diverse
- According to a study published in The American Naturalist, dogs are among the most varied species in the shape of their skulls. Between different dog breeds, heads vary as much as they do between entire species. So, for example, the crown of a German Shepherd is as distinct from a Golden Retriever’s as a cat’s skull is from a bear’s.
6. Different tail wags mean different things
- Many pet parents assume that a wagging tail means a happy dog. The truth is that tail wagging is a complex language, and various wags mean different things. In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Stanley Coren explains, “The tail’s position — specifically, the height at which it is held — can be considered a sort of emotional meter.” Are you interested to learn the meanings of different wags? Check out our article on Decoding Dog Tail Wagging!
7. Dogs can see some colors
- It has long been assumed that dogs can only see shades of gray. In reality, dogs can see colors, though the colors are less vivid and fewer than those seen by humans. Psychology Today reports that dogs see the world primarily in yellows, blues, and grays. This explains why your dog might sometimes lose track of its red ball in the grass.
8. Dogs dream like humans
- Have you ever seen your dog twitching, growling, or “running” during sleep? According to canine researcher Dr. Stanley Coren, a dog’s brain wave patterns during sleep are similar to a human’s, suggesting that dogs dream as humans do. “There is also evidence that they dream about common dog activities,” Coren says. Hearing them cry? Hearing them growl in their sleep? Take note of these dog owners; they may dream the same as us!
9. Dogs can help people with health problems
- Dogs can do amazing things for people suffering from health problems. They can be trained to assist the physically, visually, or hearing impaired; provide support for mental disorders like PTSD and anxiety. Remind handlers to take their medications; help autistic people in their day-to-day lives; and detect specific health problems, like low blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In some lab studies, dogs have even sniffed out cancer. (Proud dog owners here!)
10. Dogs sweat through their paws
- Unlike humans, who have sweat glands over most of their bodies, most of a dog’s sweat glands are located in their paws. Overheating dog may leave behind a trail of wet paw prints on the floor or pavement; this signals that it’s time to help your pal cool down. Even though a dog may sweat through their paws when they are hot, the principal method dogs use to cool down is panting. Panting allows moisture to evaporate from the tongue and the surface of the lungs.
So, don’t you feel proud after hearing all these facts about your dear furry acquaintance?
By: Kathleen Beatriz Lapig