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10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Your Dog

Be astounded by the secrets your furry friend has been hiding.


1. Your dog is about as smart as a two year-old-toddler.

The average dog can learn about 165 words and hand signals. Canine professor Stanley Coren says that the smartest dog breeds are the Border collies, Poodles, and German shepherds. Those breeds have an understanding of a two-and-a-half-year-old.

Coren also states that dogs are fairly good with arithmetic as their understanding of it ranges from a three- to four-year-old child. Scientists have tested this by showing a dog two or three treats, then setting them down. If they add one or take one away, the dog will stare slightly confused expecting a different amount before eating them.

Dogs are also proven to show the same basic emotions such as sadness, anger, and disgust. They can understand fairness, too, not just equity.

2. Your dog can even smell your feelings.

A dog’s sense of smell is known to be thousands and thousands of time stronger than ours. Their sense of smell is not only better but has its own superpower. Imagine if you could walk up to anyone and smell what their feeling? It would be pretty useful in everyday life! And just think our furry four-legged friends can do that every day!

Take for instance, when you come home from work and you had a bad day and you have traces of frustration and anger that you carried with you, your dog will pick it up. Even when you’re sad or happy your dog will pick that up too! Signs you can look for that means your dog is reading your emotions include the following: Whining, jumping up, licking, running, barking, pawing at you, acting inquisitive, faster heart rate, snuggling with you, and subdued behavior.

Recently a group of scientists preformed a test on this subject. They paired up the pets and their owners and played two different types of movies. The first group with their dogs watched a horror movie which produced negative, fearful emotions. The second group watched a children’s movie which led to buoyant, happy emotions.

3. Your dog can experience jealousy.

It is scientifically proven that dogs absolutely experience envy and jealousy. Have you ever noticed your dog growling at another dog or human being for that matter? How about when you come outside to pet your two dogs but one keeps bulldozing the other one over?

Christine Harris, a psychology professor at the University of California in San Diego, co-led a team to test jealousy in dogs. First they had their owners show affection to a stuffed animal. With that, around a whopping 78 percent of dogs reacted with jealousy! The second test the owners were touching a pumpkin. This resulted in 42 percent of the dogs nuzzling and pushing their way to the center of attention. Finally they asked the owners to read an interactive pop-up book. This only led to 22 percent of dogs reacting jealous. Just to make sure you know all the facts, the team was not able to test the dogs without their owners to see if they were fearful of the items.

4. Your dog has at least 18 muscles in their ears!

Since a dog has more than 18 muscles in their ears, they can hear far better than a human being, who only have three muscles in each ear.

Not only do those extra muscles help them hear better, they also aid dogs communicate with us, as well as with other dogs. Their ear canal is shaped like and “L.”

You can also look at their ears to see how well they are listening to you. If they are lifted and forward, then they are paying attention to you. If they are slightly pulled back, then they are feeling friendly. Also, if their ears are tightly drawn to his head, they could be nervous, fearful, or shy. Many dogs also lay their ears back as a sign of aggression.

5. Your dog can smell separately through each nostril.

When your dog is tracking or following a scent, they can tell which smell is in which of their nostrils. Here’s how they do it. A dog inhales and exhales around five times per second and has separate olfactory and respiratory paths in their noses.

Professor Gary Settles of Penn State University, states that the front part of the nose is almost entirely devoted to respiration and heat exchange. Meanwhile the remaining parts are devoted to olfaction. Since dogs are some of the only animals with muscles in their noses, they have the ability to smell different scents through each nostril. Another interesting thing they do to grasp every smell, is to nose around in a spot and stir up odors to catch every scent.

Another amazing fact is that; like snakes, dogs have a Jacobson’s organ. This organ gives your dog the ability to taste the air. Your dog’s nose is wet as well, which helps absorb scents. If your dog’s nose is not wet, then they may be dehydrated. The only time it should be dry is when they first wake up.

6. Your dog does dream.

It was proven that dogs have similar sleep patterns and brain activity as people. Another interesting thing is that smaller dogs tend to dream more than larger dogs—though their dreams tend to be shorter than the larger breeds. Like humans, dogs go through similar stages of wakefulness, rapid eye movement sleep, and non rapid eye movement sleep.

Dogs tend to engage in a dream after about 20 minutes of sleep, after which their breathing will become shallow and irregular. If you look close enough you might see your dog’s eyes moving behind their eyelids as they views their surroundings in their dreams, according to Coren. So in case you were ever wondering, it is proven dogs do dream just like you and I!

7. Your canine tends to be more aggressive when a man walks them than when a woman walks them.

It was discovered that your dog is four times more apt to bite or attack another dog. It is thought that since a dog is good at reading your feelings, that while being walked by a male, they transfer the male’s aggressiveness to their own actions.

Another reason why a dog can be more aggressive on a leash is due to the fact that they would normally walk around each other. "Instead they are restrained by the leash which could lead to a fight when they cross paths with less friendly canines," states Lisa Peterson, a spokes woman for the American Kennel Club. They also like to play as a sign of friendliness, but sometimes the leash gets in the way making playfulness look like a threat to the other dog. One more reason there is leash aggressiveness, is that the dogs are very protective of their owners. So the main point here is that a dog can read humans and tend to pick up the male’s more aggressive attitude.

8. Your dog is has a dominant paw.

For humans, 90 percent are right-handed, leaving only 10 percent left-handed. Dogs on the other hand are about half left-pawed and half-right pawed.

With dogs being right or left pawed some people may wonder, are the lefties or the righties more aggressive, or are they the same. A group of researchers in Australia committed themselves to finding out. They conducted their experiment using 73 dogs. They couldn’t not find major emotional differences between the two, but the left pawed dogs tend to be more aggressive to strangers. Like left handed people, the left pawed dogs were more apt to be a little bit more aggressive when around new people.

There are a series of test you can perform at home to tell whether your dog is right or left pawed, but it is more common for females to be left pawed and most males are right pawed.

9. Your dog has a third eyelid.

The third eyelid is also known as the haw. The haw is especially designed to keep the eye moist and protected.

It acts like a windshield wiper for the cornea because it keeps mucus, dirt, and any other unwanted particles off. This membrane is also responsible for around one-third of the dog’s tears. Not only is it a lubricant, it helps protect the cornea. If you want to see third eyelid, it is easiest to see it when you lift the eyelid of a sleeping dog.

The coloration of the third eyelid can vary within breeds, some are clear while others tend to be cloudier. It is normal to see your dog’s third eyelid when they first wake up, but if it is constantly showing then your dog is in need of medical attention. One of the problems that can involve the third eyelid is cherry eye. Cherry eye is a disorder commonly seen in dogs under two, the necessitating membrane (nm) becomes red and puffy and somewhat swollen. If your dog has cherry eye, they should be taken to the vet. Though some people prefer to have it removed, most veterinarians recommend keeping it. The haw also has limpid tissue to help fight off infection which is another good reason not to surgically remove your dog’s third eyelid.

10. Your dog can see UV light.

Since your dog can see UV light, that means they see the world way different than we do. At night a dog can see much better than at day, which is similar to a cat’s vision.

Light is made from a spectrum of colors, and beyond the shades of visible light that humans can see, are UV light that your canine can see. This amazing ability allows a dog to see a white hare hidden among the snow, where as you and I would have a very hard time finding it. It is also said that they can see invisible patterns on birds and flowers. Urine trails are also visible for animals as they can see in ultraviolet light.

All light is measured by nanometers which is one millionth of one thousandth of a meter. There are longer wavelengths and shorter wave lengths which are the colors we see. For example 700 nm would be red, 400 nm would be a blue or violets, but anything shorter than 400 nm we wouldn’t be able see, which is the ultraviolet light.

The human eye tends to block out UV lights because of the yellow tint in the lens of our eye. Studies show that our canine friends as well as some other animals don’t have the yellow tint on their own eyes. The color spectrum for dogs is also different than what we see. This goes with the fact that dogs can’t see color the same way we do, they can’t see reds or greens like us. In fact their color spectrum consists of very light colors except for brown, brown to them is a very dark gray.

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Autumn Brown
Autumn Brown

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