Understanding dogs can seem easy, and in turn be very difficult.
Those of us who spend our lives among these four-legged pets reach the point of believing that they understand dogs as if they were our own children. However, despite the fact that we are right in some things according to the studies, in many others that we believe to be completely sure, we are wrong.
For this reason, and as we have already done with our scientific guide to understanding cats, today we are going to do something very similar: A small compilation on how to understand dogs, according to science.
Debunking Myths: Dogs don’t like hugs
Surprise! As well explained by psychology professor Stanley Coren, from the University of british columbia in Psychology Today, dogs are not appreciative of hugs; in fact they hate them. This is clear from a study by Coren himself where he examined 250 dogs. Eight out of ten dogs sit uncomfortable in the photos where they were hugged.
In fact, according to Coren, dogs showed subtle signs of stress and nerves such as tipping their ears back, closing their eyes, turning their heads to avoid eye contact, yawning, or raising one of their paws as a warning. If the dog closes its eyes completely or licks its lips, it is a sign of excessive stress, according to this expert.
Why do dogs tilt their heads when they hear their owner?
Another behavior of dogs that still creates doubts for us today is why they tilt their heads when their owner speaks to them.
Again, animal behavior expert and researcher Stanley Coren answered our question with a recent study. According to Coren and his colleagues, the dogs cocked their heads to see our facial expressionsYes, since his muzzle blocks the view of the lower part of our face.
Obviously our whole face is necessary to complete a correct facial expression, but our four-legged friends have it more difficult to predict what our expression will be by observing only our eyes and nose. According to his study, up to 62% of dogs tilt their heads, and even 52% of dogs with flattened snouts do so. Probably, according to the researchers, over the years dogs have related this behavior to a positive reward.
How do dogs see the world?
To this day there is still the myth that dogs see the world in black and white, but is this true?
As you can imagine, no. Dogs do not see in black and white, but their perception of color is dichromatic (they appreciate two of the three primary colors). Along with white and black, other colors can be added, although others see them with less intensity. On the other hand, dogs have a different priority scale regarding the senses compared to humans; we prioritize sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste in that order. For their part, dogs have first smell, then hearing, sight, touch and taste.
They are different ways of seeing the world, but they certainly do not go through life seeing in black and white, as we can see if we put dog vision in the web Wolfram Alpha.
Yes, dogs can watch TV
Again Professor Stanley Coren will be the protagonist of the question. On many occasions we have seen how dogs start to watch television, but the question is, can dogs watch television and be interested in it?
Well yes. In previous television models it was more complicated because the speed of image change was less than the 75Hz that dogs and cats need to detect movement; In other words, older televisions were a kind of slow motion for these animals. Nowadays, with modern televisions, dogs do detect movements and are therefore interested in them.
On the other hand, Coren indicates that it is important have the television at a suitable height, because dogs work like children and if it is too high they will not be interested in it by having to adopt an unnatural posture.
Finally, it is possible that a dog watches television and is interested in a program like the legendary Dog Whisperer, in which cases of excited dogs have been observed with some programs. Above all, according to Coren, programs where other dogs appear or with scenes at ground level (since this height is the one that dogs identify best, since it is their way of seeing the world).
This is how dogs recognize words
Humans tend to recognize words by associating them with forms. However, according to a study of PloS ONE From last year to 2012, dogs don’t work like that. They associate words with size and texture. At least that’s how I did it Gable, a 5-year-old Border Collie dog that was used for the study.
Yes, The problem with the study was that only a single dog was used and it is possible that this form of learning varies between breeds., for example. Previous studies found that 2 and 3 year olds associate objects with shapes (for example, ball), but if they change the texture of an object with a similar shape, they no longer associate the same word. They recognize that the texture has changed and that the object may be different.
Can dogs recognize our expressions and emotions (and we theirs)?
On the one hand, a study of Lincoln University recently confirmed that yes, dogs are able to recognize our emotions. In fact, in some types of dog training (such as guide dogs) this is essential, but until now we have not confirmed it. Despite the study being carried out on only 17 dogs, the researchers believe that the dogs spent significantly more time looking at human facial expressions that match specific sounds (positive or negative). This also adds to other research that determined that dogs they also recognize facial expressions such as joy or anger.
But what about us? are we able to recognize the facial expressions of our dogs?
Well, according to the results of the Walden University (Florida), it seems that we have a certain touch to recognize canine facial expressions Whether we have experience with dogs or not. Our precision is not too good, since in the study those who had experience with dogs were right 45% of the time, and those who had no experience with dogs 38% of the time. Still, within this percentage, there were important expressions that were recognized with great precision: The happiness of a dog was recognized in 88% of the occasions, and the rage in 70% of the occasions. Not bad, right?
Confirmed: A dog can recognize your enemies
You will probably already know this from your own experience if you play a four-legged friend at home. Still, a study of the Kyoto University confirms it to us: Our dog has no sympathy for those people who misbehave with us.
In fact, in the study, the dogs even refused to greet or receive food from individuals who had previously denied help to their respective owners.