What Your Pet Is Thinking
In the movie “The Secret Life of Pets”, we are given a look into the minds of various animals, watching them live life through a humanistic view. In the movie, a pit bull noses open the refrigerator door. Some of the animals listen to heavy metal music or massage themselves with an egg beater.
All of us, at one time or another, have wondered what our pets might be thinking, or what mischief they are contemplating getting into. There are actual studies done to try to satisfy our curiosity about our animal friends.
What Your Pet Is Thinking: Pet Brain Studies
In Theresa Fisher’s account “Brain Scans Reveal What Dogs Really Think of Us” she tells us that actual brain imaging technology is being done to “get a better picture of the happenings inside the canine cranium”. What interesting work this would be! Some of the findings include that dogs “rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection, and everything in between”. Dogs were trained to lie still in an MRI machine (yes – you heard me right!), and their responses to the smell of people and dogs were measured. Because their noses are so very important to dogs, much can be found from their sense of smell. Humans were found to be their main priority through this sense. It was also found that the auditory element in both canines and humans were very similar in the processing of vocal sounds. Happy sounds lit up the auditory cortex in both. This confirms the strong bond between human and dog. This also means that they can truly pick up on our moods.
(Those were true “CAT” scans!)
Behavior research found that dogs interact with their “parents” in similar ways that a baby does. When dogs are scared, they run to their owners. Other animals, such as horses, will run away.
What Your Pet Is Thinking
In Stanley Coren’s, “What is Your Dog Thinking” ,he states that “dogs have the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans. They have the same hormones and undergo the same chemical changes that humans do during emotional states. The mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a human who is 2 to 2 ½ years old.”
When your dog cowers after having done something he knows he shouldn’t, we view it as guilt. Instead, it is fear of punishment.
When the TV is on, we’ve seen our pets sometimes react to things being shown. This is because dogs perceive motion better than people do. Animals moving, particularly, interest our furry friends. HDTV has been proven to peak interest in animals even more.
On the question of animals dreaming, they do indeed. Even rats have been scientifically proven to dream. Small dogs dream more than large dogs, but a big dog’s dreams last longer.
Dogs also “laugh”. There is a form of panting that indicates a happy laugh.
What Your Pet Is Thinking: Things He Hates
Jaymi Heimbuch in “11 Things Humans Do That Dogs Hate” lists:
- They want us to use body language rather than words.
- They don’t like hugging. (This one might surprise you, but it’s true.)
- They like petting, but not much on their face or head.
- Strange dogs do not want us to walk up to them while looking them in the eye.
- They want us to give them structure and rules.
- They don’t want us to force them to interact with other dogs they clearly don’t like.
- They want us to provide them with an opportunity to explore and smell on walks.
- They don’t want us to keep a tight leash.
- They don’t want us to be tense.
- They don’t want us to be bored, as it makes them bored as well. Even 15-30 minutes of play will help.
- They don’t want to be teased – pulling their tail, etc.
So, you can see, that dogs absolutely have emphatic thinking processes. We all know they feel, love, and care deeply about us. But to hear to what extent they do, scientifically, helps us understand our friend a little bit better.
What We KNOW Your Pet Is Thinking
Some of these might have surprised you, but there’s one thought we know they have for sure. If you have to leave and can’t take them with you, they really hope that you drop them off at Westlake Pet Love, because they know they will be very well cared for and will have a lot of fun as well! Simply click here or give us a call as (512) 413-6592 today.
photo credit: 66/365/2257 (August 16, 2014) - Flapjack Negotiating a Rawhide via photopin (license)