Learning more about your pet is a great way to foster better communication. It’s also really fun for trivia nights and small talk at family dinners! If you want to know your dog better, pick up a few fun facts or just satisfy your curiosity, here are 8 things you might not know about your dog.
1. Your Dog is as Smart as 2-year-old
Research shows that an average dog is able to learn up to 165 words, which is about the same as a 2-year-old. Dogs in the top 20 intelligence percentile can even pick up a vocabulary of up to 250 words! This is pretty impressive and might be the reason why your pup and toddler get along so well. Plus, now you know why your dog can understand you, even if only to some degree.
2. Dogs Have Dreams
Have you ever wondered why your dog’s paw twitches, they snarl mid-sleep or make funny noises? There is one good reason – it’s because your pet is dreaming! According to research, dogs have a similar brain structure to humans. What’s even more interesting is that their brain waves during sleep are also like ours. It so happens that dogs even go through the same stages of electrical activity as humans when they dream, which means that it’s quite likely that your dog also has dreams. The big question now is, what do they dream about?
3. Dogs Hate Hugs
This might be an unpleasant surprise for many owners! You probably shower your dog with a sea of hugs as a sign of affection. But, have you ever stopped to think about how they interpret hugs? Recent research that was conducted on over 250 dogs found that dogs show signs of anxiety and distress every time they are hugged by their owner. This is because your dog’s first line of defense is to run away. When a dog is getting a hug, their cursorial nature (built for running) is limited and the dog feels vulnerable. While some dogs might get used to hugs over time, it’s a good idea to look out for signs of distress when embracing your favorite pet.
4. Your Dog Can Detect Storm
You already know that your dog can smell for miles and hear the tiniest sounds. But did you know that dogs can detect a storm long before it happens? That’s why when bad weather is coming, you might notice your pet pacing around, acting agitated and even panting. Dogs have the ability to hear higher and lower frequencies than humans, so they can hear thunder that’s still far away. Your dog is also able to smell the air ionized by lightening, which usually has a characteristic metallic smell. Additionally, they are better equipped to detect changes in pressure. All together, these extra senses help your pet detect storms. The next time you notice your dog start acting strange, you might want to pull out an umbrella!
5. Dogs See in Color
Contrary to popular opinion that dogs only see in black and white, dogs actually see in color. However, unlike humans they are not able to distinguish as many colors because their eyes only have two cones compared to three in the human eye. Dogs are able to see colors in the blue and yellow scale but are not able to see red and green. To make up for their shallow color palate, they are able to see better at night. A dog’s eye contains a special membrane called the Tapetum Lucidum, which allows the dog to see particularly well even in the dark.
6. Tail Wagging Isn’t Always a Happy Sign
While tail wagging often shows happiness, experts say that this behavior can be used by your dog to show lots of different emotions. When dogs wag their tail to the right, it is a sign of happiness. When they wag it to the left, it shows they are frightened while wagging it low shows they are insecure. To signal aggression, a dog will wag the tail low accompanied by tense muscles and dilated pupils. Simply put, every tail wagging session could be trying to tell a different story.
7. Dogs Have Their Own ‘Fingerprint’
While your dog’s paw print is quite generic, they do have one feature that is unique to every single dog. The nose print is actually as unique as human fingerprints! The combination of the ridges and creases around the nose is very distinct and can be used to identify one single dog. The only problem is you would have to first get your dog to stick their nose in an ink pad before being able to get a copy…
8. Dogs Can Fall in Love
Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas first talked about dogs falling in love in one of her books. Later on, the name puppy love was coined which begs the question, can dogs actually fall in love? The answer is yes, they can! Or at least that’s what science seems to tell us. As far-fetched as that might sound, a professor from Claremont Graduate University was able to find out that a dog’s brain releases oxytocin – better known as the love hormone. The hormone in dogs is released when the pet interacts with humans and also other dogs.
Other than just being great pets, there is so much more that we can learn from dogs. Learning a little bit more about your pet just goes to show how unique and special your dog is. It gives you a chance to see how close you two are and more importantly what a wonderful creation they are.