Here’s How Dogs Perceive the World

By Jessica O'Neil 2 weeks ago

They are colorblind



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When we think about color blindness, we assume dogs see in black and grey. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Dogs see in hues of red and green instead. Human beings possess more cones, which affects color perception, in our eyes, whereas dog eyes have more rods, which catch movement. This means dogs tend to have poorer eyesight than humans, unless, of course, it’s nighttime.

They chew on things to understand them



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Dogs are just as tactile as humans, but instead of feeling things with hands, they do so with their mouths. The texture and taste of things tell dogs a lot about the world around them. They go through a teething phase until 6 months old, which helps them develop this “mouthing” sense. From then on, chewing is a way for them to know what is food, what is a toy, and what is completely uninteresting.

They don’t feel guilt – they just don’t like the consequences



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When you scold your dog, you probably think their big, glossy eyes are overcome with shame and guilt. This isn’t exactly so. They simply don’t like experiencing consequences and will get upset when they are told to stop doing something they enjoy. So, don’t be manipulated by the puppy dog face!

Our eye movements help them understand our emotions



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Your eyes tell a story, especially to your dog. They look at your face to understand if you are happy, sad, angry, or sick. Dogs will track your eye movements to get a feel of your mood. Since a dog’s eyes are better equipped for perceiving movement, this is one of the easiest ways for them to get to know you.

Certain things make them depressed just like us



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Dogs aren’t always the happy creatures we imagine when we think about the ideal pup. Sometimes they get down too. When you leave for a week on vacation, or when their furry sibling passes away, they get sad and lethargic. This could also be a sign of a larger health issue, so be sure to check in with your pet every day and gauge their mood.

Spontaneity is their middle name



Dogs don’t really have a plan. They are not calculated beings. They live in the moment and enjoy the world around them. Since dogs are vastly sensory-driven animals, they are more apt to explore new things and may have a better time adjusting to new environments in comparison to other domestic animals, like cats.

Smells help them store and recall memories



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Their olfactory sense is incredible. It is the most powerful sense they possess, and it is one of the main ways dogs perceive the world. Dogs recall scents easily – it helps them remember where things are, and it allows them to detect places of comfort and danger. A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more potent than ours. Even machines cannot detect smells a dog can pick up over the course of the day!

They dream about their daily activities



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When your dog is twitching on his back and flapping his legs about, you’re likely gazing at him lovingly and wondering what’s going through his head. Most likely, he is dreaming about the day you just had together. Older dogs are more likely to dream as well, which means that your senior pup snoozes the day away thinking about all the thoughtful things you do for him.

They use sneezing to convey playfulness



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We sneeze due to a tickle in our nose or seasonal allergies. Dogs will sneeze as a way of expressing silliness or playfulness. When they are chasing you around and pouncing on you lightly, you’ll probably see them expel a few sneezes every so often. They are letting you know that any aggression they exhibit isn’t serious, and they want to keep the good times rolling!

Eye contact relays feelings of safety



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When a dog looks you in your eyes, it means they trust you. A dog will not maintain eye contact with you if they see you as a threat. This doesn’t mean you should fully stare your dog down. Prolonged eye contact can be seen as a threat, so look out for winks and squints to make sure you guys are on the same terms

Yawning combats anxiety for them



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Though dogs can yawn because they’re in desperate need of a nap, it is a way for them to calm down and regulate their emotions. Dogs will also yawn out of boredom. Yawning can be seen as a near-involuntary self-soothing technique, similar to if a human being shakes their leg a bit when they’re nervous.

Loyalty is big for them



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Your dog is your best friend, and vice versa. Loyalty is something that dogs have for each other and their owners. Dogs evolved from wolves, and wolves travel in a pack for safety. This means they must look out for each other in order to remain fed and protected. Your domestic dog has your back because you have theirs! You feed them and give them shelter, which they appreciate infinitely.

Their head tilt helps them understand you better



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When a dog tilts their head, you’re likely thinking they’re asking you some sort of question. In a way, you may be correct. Dogs will adjust their head to get a better look at you, checking out your eye movements and reading your body language to gauge your emotions.

When they’re comfy, they’ll soften their eyes



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Dogs will give you a hard stare when they don’t know you, and they probably won’t let you out of their sight if they don’t trust your intentions. However, when they feel loved and comfortable around you, their eyes will lower and soften. They may blink or squint a lot, perhaps even closing their eyes and laying their head against you for a brief nap.

Your clothes make them happy



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As mentioned before, dogs have a brilliant sense of smell that serves them well during their lifetime. They will most likely have a favorite shirt, shoe, or sweatshirt of yours and keep it close by at all times. This is because your scent is familiar, and when they think of you, it makes them happy. They want your items around them because it’s like having you close 24/7.

Licking is healing



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Dogs have antibacterial enzymes in their saliva that encourages healing. When they lick you, it’s partially because they want to groom you, and partially because they’re trying to keep you safe and healthy. Don’t skip your daily shower though - the benefits of their saliva are only very minimal for humans.

They have a keen sense of time



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Dogs can’t see the future, but they can't predict things like when their next meal is. They understand the time of day, and they have a good idea of how long they have to wait until breakfast time. This could also be attributed to their sense of smell, such as how long the scent of their dinner lasts, or the heat from the rising sun indicating the beginning of a new day.

Cuddling means you’re their pal



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Dogs cuddle for the same reasons that humans do. It’s warm, it’s safe, and it is a great way to bond with someone you love. It also releases the love hormone, oxytocin, in their bodies, which strengthens the relations between them and their owner. Keep snuggling up at night and watching your favorite trashy tv show – your dog loves it just as much as you!

Their favorite things must be protected



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Dogs tend to carry their toys or blankets around in their mouths from room to room. This is because the things they love must be protected, and that includes the inanimate objects they’re obsessed with. This is also why some dogs tend to get possessive around strangers. They are hardwired to be loyal to you and will do anything to keep you safe.

Humans are without flaws to them



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You are utterly perfect in the eyes of your dog. There is nothing you do that appears to be a mistake to them, which is why they can take it so personally when you forget to feed them or tread on their paws accidentally. They assume everything you do is intentional, and they may perceive little infractions like this as a punishment.

Side sleeping = trust



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Exposing their bellies and fully relaxing means a dog totally trusts you. Dogs will usually rest with their paws in front of them and perched on their hind legs if they aren’t feeling completely comfortable with their environment. If they are fully conked out on their side with you, then congrats! You are officially someone they hold near and dear

They have besties too!



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Your dog gets excited to see other dogs around the neighborhood because they consider them a friend, just like they consider you to be one as well. They have their favorites in their life, and they are usually the people that feed them or the animals they have to most fun with. Your dog will even think about their furry pals from the park sometimes too. Set up a playdate whenever you can to keep your dog happy!

Sniffing you is their way of keeping you healthy



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A dog’s sense of smell can be a lifesaver. Dogs have been said to sniff out disease and infection, even detecting cancer in some patients. They can alert you to low blood sugar, a narcoleptic fit, or warn you about an incoming seizure, all by detecting changes in your scent. 

Zoomies help tire them out



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When your dog is darting around the yard in the middle of the day or chasing the cat around in the wee hours of the morning, it is because they have some energy they need to burn off. Zoomies are a sign of a healthy dog, so even if you get flustered by an erratic pup, you can feel confident knowing they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

Leaning is their way of hugging you



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Most dogs won’t reach up and wrap their arms around your neck anytime soon. Instead, they’ll lean against you, almost cornering you. They just want to be as close to you as possible, and leaning is a way for them to maintain contact and show you their affection. They view learning as a warm gesture full of love.

They love soft things



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Does your dog go absolutely crazy in the grass? Are they a fan of your fluffy wool blanket? They are nuts for soft items. It feels good against their skin, which is the exact reason why we love soft items like fleece and well-groomed fur. Buy them a cozy sweater in the winter or provide a fluffy sherpa dog bed for them to curl up into.

Red meat is their favorite meal



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Your dog may not have a favorite food per se, but they are more inclined to eat certain foods over others. Dogs want iron-rich, protein-dense foods like beef and lamb, and they’ll often prefer these meats over chicken and fish. Organ meats like liver are also nutritious options for your dog to explore when considering a raw diet.

Their perception is akin to a toddlers



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Studies show that a dog’s cognition is similar to that of a two or four-year-old. They have the same communication and social intelligence as toddlers, regulating behaviors and emotions in ways that reflect each other. When you tell people your dog is like your second baby, you’re not lying after all!

They recognize happiness better than sadness



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Dogs are said to perceive happiness better than any other emotion. This tends to be because your eyes and mouth movements are very distinct when reflecting happiness, and they are a bit more vague when portraying sadness or anger. They also prefer signs of happiness and respond well to positive affirmations.

Their preferred pooping place is scientific



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When your dog is sniffing the grass and looking for a place to go to the bathroom, it kind of looks like they’re actually trying to find a specific place. This is because they are navigating the best place to poop by using the Earth’s magnetic field, relieving themselves with their spine aligned in a north-south axis.