Dog Psychology: 6 Theories and Facts on How Your Pet’s Mind Works

Pet's Mind Works

What do your feelings smell like?

All it takes is one big whiff, for your dog to know exactly how you feel. Recent studies surrounding dog psychology show, that the wide held belief dogs can smell fear is true, but also incomplete. On top of being able to smell fear, dogs can also smell happiness and anger.

How exactly is this possible? Well, when someone experiences intense emotions, their sweat glands become more active and release a bodily odor.

Fearful sweat, angry sweat, and happy sweat, each have their own distinct aroma. Your canine friend can then pick up on the differences between the smells, to determine what type of mood you’re in.

Yet, while our dogs are highly capable of knowing our inner feelings, humans are barely scratching the surface of understanding how a canine’s mind works. Almost every day, researchers are uncovering new phenomenons about how a dog’s brain works.

Like, did you know that your dog can have actual dreams? Or that they can learn hundreds of words? Read on to find out 6 fun facts about what’s happening in your dog’s mind.

Doggy Dreams

Doggy Dreams

Do you imagine your dog dreaming of bacon or fetching a ball? If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably noticed sometimes, when your dog’s sleeping, they begin to twitch.

One moment they’re laying perfectly still when suddenly you start to see their paws move. Before you know it, your dog’s legs are running in the air and they’re barking in their sleep.

You’ll be happy to know it’s not uncommon for a dog to move their paws, gently bark, cry, sigh, or twitch in its sleep. Yet, until recently, no one really understood why this occurs.

Are these sounds and movements, a result of an actual dream? Or is it just involuntary movements that occur while your furry friend is napping?

Dream Studies

Dream Studies

Recent studies have discovered that dogs are capable of dreaming. Scientists have discovered that when a dog dreams, it’s incredibly possible they’re remembering the day they just had. Other times, scientists believe, your dog is simply dreaming about common dog activities, like catching a ball.

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The moment your dog begins to move it means they’re in the middle of its dream. If they’re dreaming about running through a field, their legs will begin twitching. If your dog’s dreaming about barking at a cat, muffled barks may accompany their nap.

Human Emotions Versus Dog Emotions

Can your dog experience happiness, jealousy, and love, the same way as you? Dog’s have a brain structure that is very similar to yours. The human body releases specific hormones in response to that allows us to react.

Since dogs have a brain that’s structured similar to ours, they do experience a range of different feelings and emotions. Yet, before you start seeing your dog as a furry human, you’ll want to keep in mind how immature they are. Your dog is capable of experiencing emotions, yet at a less mature stage than you are yourself.

Dogs Are Furry Toddlers

Dogs Are Furry Toddlers

To help put things in perspective, you feel things as an adult, while your dog is more like a toddler. Humans have the capability of feeling complex emotions, expressing them, and working through them. Whereas for dogs emotions don’t occur with the same level of complexity.

Here are some of the basic emotions your dog can feel:

  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Anger
  • Shyness
  • Suspicion
  • Frustration

Dogs are also able to experience anxiety in a similar way humans do. Luckily there are holistic remedies and places like Innovet that offer long-term anxiety solutions.

Since dogs have immature emotions, the feelings never develop into something more complicated. For example, your dog won’t experience feelings of shame and guilt because a moment ago they were angry.

Instead, your dog will just feel angry, until another emotion takes its place. Dogs aren’t going to dwell on how they behaved, or what they could’ve done better. Instead, your dog lives in the moment, allowing themself to feel whatever they’re feeling.

Dog Barks Can Be Manipulative

Dog Barks Can Be Manipulative

New truths about dog psychology are revealing how manipulative a dog’s bark can be.

A dog may bark for a variety of reasons. They can bark to warn someone not to get too close, they bark for excitement, and sometimes, they even bark to get a reaction. Yep, that’s right, your dog will bark, just to see what you’ll do about it.

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Remember, earlier how we mentioned that dogs have brain structures similar to humans? Well, this means they also have similar attention-seeking tactics.

In the same way, a crying baby knows it can grab the attention of its parents, dogs know the attention-getting power that their bark holds. It can be cute at first to realize your dog is barking to get your attention. Yet, you have to be careful to not reinforce this behavior.

Barking for Control

For example, if your dog barks at his empty food bowl and you instantly fill it, you’ve taught your dog that they’re in control. Now, your dog will use his barks to get other things that aren’t as important as food.

Dogs Know Hundreds of Words

Dogs Know Hundreds of Words

How many words does your dog know? Plenty of dog owners falsely believes that their dog only knows the words they taught them. When the truth is, your canine friend may know all sorts of words, you’ve never trained them to respond to.

Record Setters

There are two dogs who set the record for knowing the most words. First, there’s the intelligent border collie named Rico.

Rico was able to prove just how vast a dog’s vocabulary can be after appearing on a German TV game show. Rico was capable of recognizing 200 different words and he could also remember new words even after a month of not hearing them.

Yet, as amazing as Rico was, his record was beaten by another border collie named Chaser. The owner of Chaser spent about 3 years teaching her new words until she finally knew a total of 1,022 words!

Champion Sniffers

Champion Sniffers

Studies show that your dog’s sense of smell is 100,000 times more efficient than yours! One of the reasons they can sniff out any smell is because of the olfactory receptors in their noses.

While humans have about 6 million olfactory receptors in their noses, dogs have about 300 million. Also, to have more olfactory receptors, they have a larger portion of their brain dedicated to analyzing smells.

Nose Flap

The moment your dog begins to inhale, a special fold of tissue near its nostrils becomes active. The fold of tissue helps your dog separate the flow of their breath into 2 separate areas.

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While part of the airflow goes towards respiratory functions, the other flow of air travels to the olfactory receptors. When your dog begins to exhale, the air doesn’t go out the same way it came in.

Instead, the used air will exit through small slits that are on the side of your dog’s nose. As the used air pushes its way out, it has a swirling effect that ushers new odors into your dog’s nose.

Puppies Have Mentors

Puppies Have Mentors

Young dogs benefit greatly from having an older dog in their life. They’ll be able to exceed your training goals just by being able to observe an already trained canine.

The best part is that dogs instinctually desire to be with other dogs. Your young pup may be shy at first, given time, they’ll seek out interactions with both older and bigger dogs. Especially, if you take the time to monitor their encounters to help ensure they have positive first experiences.

The older dogs will be able to help your dog master his training while also learning how to survive in the dog world. Early socialization with other dogs is crucial for a puppy to experience. Otherwise, there are chances they’ll grow up socially awkward, and unable to make friends with new dog playmates.

Keep in mind however that the learning street goes two ways. If your puppy can learn good things from an older dog, they’re also able to learn bad ones. Avoid, allowing your puppy to witness the older dog behaving badly. Otherwise, before you know it those bad habits will become the puppies’ new way of life.

Learn The Weird Truth About Dog Psychology

Dog Psychology

Now you know more about the theories and facts surrounding dog psychology. You’ll probably never be able to look at your canine family member quite the same way.

Uncovering weird truths is what learning is all about. That’s why we’re proud to offer our readers the very latest on paranormal conspiracies, urban exploration, and all things weird. With topics like time travel, aliens, and ghosts, we are sure to have a dose of weird for any kind of interest.

Ready to get the latest news about recent conspiracies and unexplained truths? Check out our news section at the top of our page, today!

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