Any dog lover knows that our four-legged friends have a sixth sense when understanding our feelings.
If you’re down in the dumps, a dog often brings you more comfort than a human.
They listen to you, they are close to you, and they care about your feelings.
It’s no surprise, and dogs are animals with big hearts. They are sociable, and to them, you are… family—life partner.
Your dog understands many things about you and what you are going through, but you don’t notice. Sometimes, their ability to hear what’s happening to you is unsettling, but there are scientific explanations behind them. Understanding how your dog perceives you can help you relate to him better.
Here are the 15 things your dog understands and why.
Dogs know if you are sad. When you are sad, the dog understands this right away and acts accordingly. He may become calmer than usual and lose interest in games and even food.
Usually, your dog watches calmly from the corner of the room. After a while, he may come up to you and lie down at your feet or rest his head on your lap. Many dogs even try to lick the tears off your face. His owner is his world for a dog, so if you are sad, so will he.
According to research published in the journal Animal Cognition, a dog tends to approach a sad person more than a person who is humming or talking. Furthermore, dogs respond to their owners’ cries with submissive behavior.
Simply put, dogs attempt to calm a person down if they are sad. Whether it is its owner or not, if a dog sees a person crying, it will approach to comfort them.
Scientists insist that this research does not prove that dogs feel empathy, but it sure supports the thesis. It also clearly indicates that dogs identify sadness as a different emotion from others.
- Dogs understand your intentions.
If something bad is about to happen, the dog feels it.
Even before you turn on the shower and grab his towel, the dog knows you will bathe him and run away—the same thing when you cut his hair, his nails, or when you give him medicine.
Fortunately, the dog also understands that your intentions are good and that you are doing it for him.
Most dogs have their nails clipped quietly if their owner is nearby and reassures them.
At least one research has shown that dogs understand your intentions by reading your behavior. A study published in 2011 in Learning & Behavior states that domestic dogs are as intelligent as a two-year-old.
This means that they can understand the meaning of at least 165 words and interpret body language.
Dogs do understand your intentions use eye contact and read your looks. Just like a mentalist follows your gaze to figure out what you don’t want them to know, your dog will do the same.
So if you look at the bathtub when you call him, the dog will know for sure that you want to wash him to get rid of all that dirt he has accumulated wandering around.
- Dogs know if you have a disease.
If your dog has been paying particular attention to a certain area of your body, it may be best to have her examined by a doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Several studies have confirmed that dogs can perceive diseases such as cancer simply by their sense of smell.
Some dogs are even trained to alert an epileptic person when they are about to have a seizure.
Many training centers are dedicated to this special ability, which consists of perceiving the changes of a chemical nature in the organism with the sense of smell.
Depending on the breed, a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than a human. This means that a dog perceives a smell 100,000 times weaker than what a human can smell.
Put, a dog could smell a teaspoon of sugar in 4000m³ of water.
- Dogs understand if you are afraid.
If you are afraid, the dog will understand this in an instant. A dog’s nose can smell adrenaline, which he associates with danger and fear.
If you have a Rottweiler or a Doberman, he will rush to your aid right away.
Smaller dogs, or those with more nervous behavior, will follow you and get scared along with you.
For your dog, you will always be a guide to help him understand how to behave and feel in certain situations, so if you want your dog to be brave … You will have to be brave in the first place!
Fear is an emotion shared by many animals, including dogs. While it is true that dogs can “feel” fear, it is also true that they perceive it thanks to the body language associated with it.
Dogs, like humans, have a standard fear reaction. The hair stands on end, the pupils dilate, the lips curl, and the posture changes. They understand fear instantly between their ability to catch these alarm bells and their extraordinary sense of smell.
- Dogs know if you are unfair.
Your dog will immediately understand if you are unfair and have preferences.
Research conducted in Austria tried to show what happens if one dog is rewarded for a task while another is not rewarded despite having done the same task.
Dogs that have not received rewards are agitated at the sight of their “colleagues” happy to have received a reward. Their reaction consisted of persistently scratching and licking. In short, they understood injustice.
The dogs that took part in the experiment were unable to differentiate the size of the reward. If one dog received a sausage and another received bread, both dogs were delighted with their reward. Remember, dogs are about as smart as a 2-year-old.
Many animals have a sense of justice. Chimpanzees, for example, have a strong sense of justice, know what is right and what is wrong, and take pleasure in punishing those who break the rules.
Dogs know what’s right from what’s wrong, thanks to their wolf roots and ancestors. The researchers found that since wolves must coordinate a pack to hunt, they depend on a set of justice-based rules to survive.
Treat your dog the way you want to be treated. Canine and human justice are more alike than you think.
- Dogs understand if you suddenly have other priorities.
Dogs that have spent most of their lives being spoiled and adored by their owners will understand, to the extent that they are, if attention is suddenly given to something else.
A newborn, partner, hobby, or even a new pet can cause your dog to feel jealous and resentful of you.
Many dogs physically meddle between two lovers to separate them and attract their attention.
The dog is perfectly capable of recognizing a change in priority, but remember that you must never neglect it. The most important thing in your dog’s life is you.
Your dog is counting on you for nutrition and needs. To let your dog know that you care about him:
- Could you do your best to keep his routine intact? If your dog shows signs of jealousy, try encouraging him to interact with the new family member.
- However, always try to cut out at least ten minutes in which it will be just you and your dog.
- In short, do your best and treat him as you would treat a person.
- Dogs hear if you are angry.
Those who have had a dog for a long time often don’t have to say a word to show they are angry.
If you get home and find the dog deep in the garbage pail up to the tail, putting your hands on your hips and taking an angry look will be enough to let him know that you are angry.
When in the wrong, the dog reacts by crouching, shaking, crying, and sometimes even losing control of his bladder.
Recent research shows that dogs will engage in this behavior if they are caught, even if they have done nothing wrong. It is clear that dogs feel anger, but it is also clear that they do not always understand its origin.
Dogs don’t always know if you are angry with them or angry about something else. The situation can get annoying, as your dog may adjust accordingly and react to your anger in some ways.
Your dog will try to comfort you and make you feel better, but if he feels that you treat him badly and unfairly, he will start misbehaving too.
- Dogs know if you are generous.
Just as we humans judge other people based on their actions, dogs also pay close attention to how you behave around others.
An experiment conducted by the University of Milan allowed some dogs to observe humans in different social contexts.
The dogs watched a group of actors sharing food with a homeless man and another group that treated the homeless badly. Later, the two groups of actors tried to call the dogs at the same time.
Most dogs responded to generous actors and avoided aggressive ones.
If your dog doesn’t like your behavior, he may start behaving differently and letting you know he’s disappointed in your attitudes. Dogs expect reciprocity, kindness, and justice. They have a strong ethical sense. That’s what makes them the wonderful life companions they are.
- Dogs immediately know if you have your back turned.
If you leave food on the table or kitchen counter within your dog’s reach and want it to stay there, you will need to implant a pair of eyes on the back of your head.
Many dogs do not even dream of stealing food from their owners, but if the owner were to be turned from behind, it is another story.
The researchers tested some dogs’ willpower by placing treats in front of them and forbidding them to touch them. As soon as the researchers left the room, every single dog devoured the biscuit.
The sense of justice brings with it knowing how to understand if you can get away with it without negative consequences. How long can you not pay taxes? Should we come up with an excuse not to go to that boring party? Sometimes the mind makes us do things that are not very honest but that please us.
For dogs, the main source of pleasure is food. They don’t have access to food like we humans, so don’t be surprised if your dog is willing to risk punishment for stealing some of your food behind your back.
- Dogs understand if you are ” easy prey “.
Some of those livelier breeds, such as Labradors or Pitbulls, need a master of the wrist to keep their wild behavior at bay.
Large breed dogs sometimes don’t understand how strong and dangerous they can be if they suddenly decide to surprise a child or older person with a hug.
However, just because a dog does well to its owner doesn’t mean that it will behave the same way to everyone.
Dogs like to test their limits every day. If they find that someone does not punish them for pulling the leash too much, digging in the garden, or eating garbage, they take advantage of it.
Dogs rely on social hierarchies to determine what they can and cannot do in certain situations. If you want your dog to behave well, then you will need to behave in a way that identifies you as an alpha.
To maintain alpha status, you will need to do what an alpha dog does. This means that you will have to go through the doors. First, you will always have to eat first and never feed the dog from the table, but above all, keep the point and punish him if he misbehaves. If you maintain alpha status, your dog will never see you as easy prey.
- Dogs sense if a woman is pregnant.
There is no scientific evidence to back this up, but dogs can tell if a woman is pregnant. Many pregnant women noticed that their dog’s behaviors changed during the nine months. In fact, during the sweet wait of the owner, dogs become much more protective, attentive and loving.
It is also noted that the dog accompanies the mistress in pregnancy wherever she goes. Often the dog sniffs the belly and puts his head on it.
Dogs catch hormonal changes, such as when a woman is menstruating or pregnant.
Unfortunately, however, the dog will feel left out and miserable after the baby arrives home. To make sure they live happily ever after, you’ll need to start preparing your four-legged friend for the new arrival as soon as you discover you’re pregnant.
Experts recommend dedicating a special moment of the day to your four-legged friend, a moment that is just for the two of you. If you need to change your dog’s routine, start well in advance and gradually do it.
The change will need to be completed so that your dog does not associate the change in his routine with the baby’s arrival.
- The dog knows if you are taking him to the vet.
How the dog can tell the difference between the journey to the vet and a simple walk is a mystery to us humans.
As soon as you get him into the car, the dog already knows where you are going. He’ll look out the window nervously, back and forth, and look at you suspiciously.
Once they get to the vet, most dogs develop a mysterious brake system that doesn’t make them move.
Even if they are going to a new vet for the first time, they already understand how things are going as soon as the door opens.
A dog knows he is going to the vet thanks to his sense of smell and ability to read body language. You can never visit the vet for fun, but you can reduce the anxiety that the visit causes for your dog.
Experts recommend getting him used to the vet by taking him a few times just for a short visit. Also, try playing ” doctor ” with your dog. That means you’ll have to touch his paws, look him in the mouth, and still do things that a vet does.
To not alarm him when he visits the vet, accustom the dog and make these behaviors normal in his eyes.
- Dogs understand if you are in mourning.
It is still unclear how much dogs understand about death.
Many stories tell of dogs mourning for their deceased owners, near his grave or in his home.
Losing a loved one causes tremendous sadness, unlike the one that comes when we end a relationship or get disappointed at work.
Your dog will understand if you are mourning the loss of a loved one and will likely process the grief in its way. He may want more attention and reassurance. Some dogs howl when in mourning.
To help your dog process his grief, make sure his routine doesn’t change. Believe it or not, too much affection is not good for him. Some dogs see this as a sign of weakness and believe they need to take on the role of alpha.
When comforting a grieving dog, you need to be confident. Keep in mind that you will not have to introduce a new pet during a bereavement period. Before getting a new puppy, wait for your dog to recover.
- Dogs know if you are a good person.
Honest, good, and trustworthy people convey a sense of positivity to everyone around them.
Science tells us that, contrary to what neurologists believed in the past, the heart has a stronger magnetic field than the brain.
It also sends messages to the brain via neurotransmitters, which influence thoughts and behavior.
When we say that a person has a “good heart”, this person has positive energy from the heart. Dogs are aware of the existence of this magnetic field and will naturally gravitate towards those who emit positive energies.
The dogs understand if you’re a good person, even according to your body language and how you treat people around you. If you relate well to people, the dog will understand this based on how others react. Dogs are attracted to those who are right and trustworthy in their eyes.
It is not yet clear how dogs can distinguish what is right and what is wrong, but it is clear that you always behave in the right way towards your dog and those around you to make your four-legged friend understand. that you are a good person.
- Dogs know if someone dislikes you.
When we look at something or someone we love, a chemical reaction takes place in our bodies.
Dopamine and serotonin are released in our bodies, which cause feelings of happiness, infatuation, and ecstasy.
The same thing happens when we see a person who dislikes us. Only in this case, the body releases a completely different set of hormones, hormones associated with hatred and fear.
The dog can sense these changes of yours and will probably begin to dislike that same person either.
Of course, body language plays a crucial role when your pet determines whether you like someone or not. Keep in mind that any dog, even the calmest one, will try to protect you from those people who appear threatening to his eyes.
If you are avoiding someone, watching that person closely, or otherwise sending distrust signals to that person, don’t be surprised if the dog starts barking or growling at them.
It is important to remember this as your behavior can help calm your dog and, consequently, reduce the chances of an unpleasant accident.