Dogs, dogs, dogs. The more we know about dogs, the more we want to know. And the more we do learn about humankind’s best and most loyal friend, the more we seek to learn something fresh, something new. Animal communicator Shannon Cutts shares 50 science backed lesser known facts about dogs to delight all dog lovers.
Animal communication – interspecies communication – is still considered super weird and “woo” in many circles (although thankfully not in most of the ones I travel in these days).
But what does that even mean? Weird? Woo? The inference is that the work we do is not legitimate. Or valuable. Or even possible.
Luckily for the pets and caring pet parents I talk with every day, I stopped subscribing to the daily edition of “what other people think” many moons ago. In this work as in everything I value in life, I have discovered that the only thing that really matters is what I think.
And I think – I feel – I sense – I know – animal communication is real.
On a right-brain, gut/intuitive level, I quite simply feel it with every fiber of my being. (Kind of like how Einstein could feel the theory of relativity all around him long before he could quantify evidence for it it into numbers and words.)
On a left-brain, logical/analytical level, the evidence is in that we all have the same basic anatomy and equipment, regardless of how our temporary outer species “costume” may make it all look a little different.
So while yes, it was fun compiling these 50 science supported facts about dogs, I actually did it in service to a greater goal. Dogs and humans are so much more alike than different. And the ways we are different are both awe-inspiring and often quite complementary.
Dogs have demonstrated time and again that they can learn our language and USE it to talk with us. In this context, is it really such a stretch to imagine we can also learn how to communicate with dogs in their native tongue?
The language your dog speaks is the universal language of all species. You have access to it, too. And with just a little guidance, focus and practice, you too can learn to talk with your amazing, intelligent, empathic and insightful canine.
psssst. Want to find out why you love dogs so much? I asked them! Find out what dogs had to say.
- Dogs know when you are coming home. (Sheldrake.org)
- Dogs can tell time (but this isn’t why they know when you are coming home). (Science Daily)
- Unlike wolves, dogs have developed special eye muscles to make “puppy dog eyes.” (PNAS)
- Dogs learn language like human infants do. (Phys.org)
- Dogs have different kinds of intelligence just like people do. (American Psychological Association)
- Dogs can smell human emotions. (New Scientist)
- Dogs like to “do their business” in harmony with Earth’s magnetic field. (Frontiers in Zoology)
- Dogs get jealous. (Scientific Reports)
- Dogs have a nose print instead of a fingerprint. (Psychology Today)
- The canine nose print is now being used to help reunite lost dogs and their people. (iAMS)
- Dogs can sniff and breathe at the same time. (PDSA.org.uk)
- Dogs can be southpaws too, but they express this preference differently. (Scientific American)
- Dogs use their noses for chemical communication. (Animals)
- A dog’s nose can also detect heat. (Science)
- Dogs start sniffing with their right nostril and only switch to the left for familiar smells. (Frontiers in Veterinary Science)
- The side slits, or side nostrils, in a dog’s nose are specific pathways designed to reduce scent habituation during sniffing. (The Science Dog)
- “Nose down, tail up” is a specific posture dogs adopt when they are “actively smelling.” (Frontiers in Veterinary Science)
- Dog noses are so keen because they have about 294 million more scent receptors than we do. (PBS)
- Researchers are trying to create a fake dog nose to sniff out cancer and explosives. (TechCrunch)
- Dogs can wiggle each nostril independently of the other. (NOVA)
- Dogs flare their nostrils and curl their lips to enhance scent abilities. (VCA)
- Dogs use their ears to aid in wafting scent towards their nostrils. (PBS)
- Dogs can also move each ear independently of the other. (Merck Veterinary Manual)
- Dogs tilt their heads to aid in memory and recall. (Science)
- Head-tilting dogs are “lefties” or “righties.” (Science)
- Dogs can live as long as (nearly) three decades! (Guiness Book of World Records)
- Male dogs may lift their legs to scent-mark strategically to look larger to rivals. (Journal of Zoology)
- Dogs drink by turning their tongue into a backwards ladle of sorts. (PNAS)
- Contrary to most research, dogs do sweat through skin as well as paw pads and nose. (Dr. David Marlin)
- Humans are not the only species that prefer dogs as pets. (Animals Like Us)
- Our whole system of calculating human-to-dog years is wrong. (Cell)
- Keeping company with a dog can trigger release of the human bonding hormone oxytocin. (American Academy of Science)
- When dogs scratch the ground after peeing or pooping, they are releasing scent through glands in their paws. (Journal of Mammalogy)
- Dog vibrissae, or whiskers, are as sensitive as human fingerprints and are part of a sensory organ that enhances vision and perhaps other senses as well. (Springer Link)
- Every single dog whisker has its own receptor site in the brain that is dedicated to receiving information from that whisker. (VCA)
- In comparison with humans, dogs hear two times as many sound frequencies and can hear them four times further away. (Smithsonian)
- Unlike people but like cats and many other animals, dogs have a third eyelid called the haw or nictitating membrane. (Merck Veterinary Manual)
- Dogs are not able to see color in the red-green spectrum, but they are not truly colorblind. (PubMed)
- Dogs have a reflecting membrane behind their retina that aids in low light vision. (Springer Link)
- Scientists are still trying to work out exactly when, where and from which wolf species the modern dog arose. (Science)
- Research suggests dog sleep patterns (including REM dream-time) are quite similar to ours. (Journal of Physiological Behavior)
- When processing speech, dogs can separate out tone of voice from words just like we can. (Science)
- Butt-sniffing gives dogs valuable information including diet, genetics, immune function, emotional state and more. (ACS)
- In the USA, service dogs are recognized as assistive technology or medical equipment. (NH.gov)
- Modern dogs may have three (or more) genetic lineages – east Asian, Arctic and western Eurasian. (PNAS)
- Research now suggests the gray wolf is the dog’s closest relative and that wolves and dogs evolved from a shared late-Pleistocene era common ancestor. (PLoS)
- However, researchers still aren’t sure exactly who that common ancestor might have been! (PLoS)
- Wolf puppies don’t need training to retrieve balls in play following human-directed cutes. (Cell)
- The canine genome and the human genome evolved side by side over the centuries. (Nature)
- Dog owners laugh more frequently than cat owners (although cat owners probably won’t agree with this:). (Society and Animals)
Which of these 50 scientific facts about dogs is your favorite?
Do you adore dogs and simply can’t imagine your life without a canine companion?
Have you ever wondered why you feel such a strong preference for canine company?
I asked the dogs this question. Find out what they had to say.