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6 Unbelievable Facts About the Mind of a Dog

There are a lot of things about dogs that still manage to surprise us. The truth is that they are really impressive creatures with incredible features, and the most interesting part is that you had no idea about their superpowers or that they can act just like humans. Yet their minds are absolutely amazing, and their brain functions are more developed than you think. Pups are able to do many surprising things, such as reading your facial expressions, understanding what you are saying, and so on, and you didn’t even realize it.

Many dog owners think that their pets know just a few commands, such as sit, fetch, and stay, but according to animal experts, they are among the smartest creatures on earth. In fact, their brains are so developed that they can suffer from the same mental illnesses as humans. That being said, you should never underestimate the power and intelligence of a canine.

So, here are the top interesting facts about the mind of a dog. Read on to find out more info!

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Dogs can suffer from the same mental illnesses as humans

Did you know dogs can have from depression, anxiety, and stress just like humans do? Many factors that can cause these illnesses, and some of them are created by you without even realizing it. For instance, bringing a new pet home or introducing a new family member or a stranger can make them anxious, plus, if someone dies or leaves the household, there can be other triggers.

However, studies have shown that the symptoms of depression in dogs are similar to those of depression in humans. To be more specific, they may lose their appetite (or eat more), become lethargic, lose interest in any type of activity, develop compulsive behaviors, self-harm, excessive sleeping, and so on.

Nevertheless, animal experts say that animals generally develop certain mental disorders when they aren’t treated properly. If you notice these symptoms of depression in your pet, you should talk to your vet as soon as possible. Once you have found the triggers, it’s your responsibility to try your best to eliminate them and provide your pet with a healthy environment.

They have the best sense of smell

If you have ever wondered why pups sniff everything when they are outdoors or when they meet other dogs, the answer is that they have the most developed sense of smell and use it to analyze things around them and identify potential danger.

The difference between canines and humans is that dogs have approximately 300 million olfactory receptors, while humans have only 6 million. That’s why police work with dogs to apprehend criminals and identify drugs.

In other words, they can’t understand and interpret the world without this sense of smell. In fact, researchers believe that their brains are specialized in identifying scents, namely that they use a larger part of their brain to analyze these scents compared to humans.

So, the next time you take your pup for a walk and see that they sniff almost everything around them, just let them do their job.

Dogs can read your facial expressions

Many people say that their dogs know exactly when they are sad or in pain because these little, pure, innocent souls try to comfort them. Well, it seems that they are right, your dog can actually read your facial expressions. So, whether you look sad, happy, or depressed, your dog will know it and act accordingly.

Recent studies showed that the brains of your dogs are able to understand the emotions that you transmit through your facial expressions and activate a function that accelerates your dogs’ heart rate depending on the emotional state that you generate, such as anger, sadness, and joy. In fact, our beloved furry friends have social recognition skills similar to those of children aged between 6 months and 2 years.

They can actually tell you what’s going on

Of course,  dogs can’t speak because they can’t say words, but they can actually use their body language to tell you what’s going on and what they need, but you have to know their nonverbal communication as well as your dog’s personality per se.

Imagine being in a new country where people don’t speak English at all, and you have no phone, no money, and no other resources that could help you handle the situation. What would you do? It is quite frustrating, right? You start imitating certain gestures to make people understand what you need. For example, if you need water, you will imitate that you are drinking from an imaginary bottle, and maybe someone will understand what you want. Well, this is also what dogs are trying to do to make you understand them, but on a different level, of course, because they can’t use their hands like us.

They will shake their tails when they are happy, turn their heads away, and lick their lips when they tell you that they are nervous. If they cry while they are in front of your door, it’s obvious that they want to take you for a walk.

That being said, it’s important to pay more attention to your dog’s body language because they can talk to you, in their own unique language.

Photo by Ellina Balioz from Shutterstock

Dogs can understand what you are saying

Now that you know that dogs can read your facial expressions and tell you what they need using their own language, it’s also important to know that they can understand what you are saying, and we’re not just referring to the few basic commands, such as “sit, stay, and go”. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, your beloved furry friend can actually understand about 165 words or more if you train them properly.

As with humans, the right side of the brain is responsible for receiving emotions, and the left side is responsible for processing them. In other words, they will learn the words by associating sounds with activities. For example, if you say “food” and then give them food, they will know what ‘food’ means.

In addition, if you want to train them to give up a habit, you have to say the word “no” in a serious and forceful tone, and then they will understand that what they are doing is wrong.

They are better at math than most people

Some studies have shown that dogs are actually better at math than most people, and they know to count correctly in their heads. Of course, they can’t solve equations or other complicated math problems, but they can beat a young child at simple math. In fact, dogs are definitely some of the most intelligent animals and can even solve a puzzle.

Beagles are known for their ability to hunt, and researchers have analyzed their capacity for thinking and found that they know exactly how many birds or rabbits they should be fetching. If they have to go and get 5 birds, they will know exactly how many they should fetch and how many remain if they take 3, for example.

If you want to learn all about the mind of your dog, this book might be an excellent start!

You should also read: Wow! These 5 Mixed-Breed Dogs Will Steal Your Heart

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