Dogs are not narrow-minded animals that run only on instinct. Dog-owners, takes notes. Your dog is smarter than you might think.
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6. Look At Me
One of the best ways to communicate with your little doggo is eye contact. Dogs crave eye contact because they love to interact with their eyes. Have you ever looked a dog in the eye? Sometimes it feels like you’re looking at something a smart as a person. Constantly maintaining eye contact with you is the dog saying, “I trust you.” In a way, that’s them saying “I love you.” When they avert their eyes, that typically means your dog either did something they weren’t supposed to, they’re feeling scared, or uncomfortable. When humans make eye contact with their dogs, our oxytocin levels rise. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” Dogs can sense this hormone, and this strengthens your bond.
5. What’s That Smell?
Canines have superpowers, and some of those abilities are thanks to that little button nose. Compared to humans, a dog’s smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute. Dogs have such a great sense of smell because their noses contain up to 300 million olfactory receptors. These receptors respond to airborne chemicals, which is how animals (including humans) have a sense of smell. Because of their exceptionally sensitive noses, dogs are great trackers and detectors. No wonder dogs are useful to police force members! They can also detect when a person is sick. When a person has cancer, dogs pay particular attention to the part of their body cancer is present. These cells emit a different smell than healthy cells and sensing that difference is something dogs do well.
4. Smelling Your Fear
Dogs can pretty much smell everything, even your fear. Haven’t you ever heard that animals can tell when you’re afraid? That’s not an old wives tale. It’s true! Your body chemistry changes according to your emotions. When you’re scared, you sweat, you get an adrenaline rush, and your heart rate quickens. Dogs know when you’re scared, especially when you’re scared of them. If you’ve ever been afraid of a dog, somebody has probably instructed you to calm down because the dog can “smell your fear.” These animals are also more prone to attack or act aggressively towards you if they think you’re scared of them.
3. Liar, Liar
Dogs also know when a person has done something wrong–or at the very least lied to them. Two studies published in Animal Cognition in 2015 states dogs can identify liars. A team from Kyoto University in Japan took 24 dogs and set two containers in front of them. One bowl had some food inside while the other did not. In the first phase, humans pointed dogs to the container with the food. The dogs went and received their reward. In the second phase, the humans showed the dogs that there was an empty container alongside the food container. They then pointed the dogs toward the empty bowl. In the last phase, humans pointed the dogs towards the food container. The results were that many of the dogs did not trust the human anymore and only 8% of them walked towards the last container. Interestingly, another study published in Animal Cognition confirms that dogs also lie. This time, researchers discovered that dogs recognize when a situation benefits them. The dogs were to lead people to containers with food. When the canines realized only certain people would give them food from those containers, they lead the people less likely to reward them elsewhere since they realized they weren’t going to be rewarded anyway.
2. Like Family
We already talked about how they love us. Some alpha dogs have trouble with establishing you as the boss. Once you make it clear you’re in charge, your dog will stay loyal to that sentiment. Dogs put you first, and they are the only domesticated animal that interacts with us the same way a child will interact with a parent. Canines think of us as their parents and themselves as our children. When a dog is worried or fearful, they will run to humans for help or protection. Cats, on the other hand, think of themselves as superior to you and in charge of their own lives.