When Science Proves What Dog Lovers Already Know

dog scienceHumans have long been pegged as the easiest species to be fooled as we rely so heavily on one sense, our vision. But, you have no doubt found your dog is not so easily tricked. In fact, just like some people, they seem to look right into your soul and know when you are feeling down, angry, happy or even melancholy.

You can “see” it in many species of animals when more than one species has to interact with another. There are “universal” signals given even between species that will deflect confrontation, the very thing most animals try to avoid in order to stay alive. So, it is no surprise our dogs, raised by humans, become masters of reading us. They will pick up signals that we are unaware we are giving.

Thanks to science we can say without a doubt that we give off energy known as our electromagnetic field that measures several feet from our body. This energy changes with your mood, they can feel when you are scared, happy or upset. You can now say with assurance that your dogs can feel your energy and know when all’s well or when you are in a funk or stressed out. This is also why there is no fooling your dog with voice or facial features when you are angry or upset.

Now science has proven that dogs can interpret facial expressions as well. They know a happy face with happy sounds vs an angry face and angry sounds. Anyone that spends much time around animals finds this to be a no brainer. Animals have facial expressions too, and guess what? We humans learn how to interpret when our dogs are happy, sad, angry and scared as well.

Our friends new adopted dog is one of those highly in tuned and sensitive dogs. They share stories about how this young rescue dog knows when someone is playing with her or just going through the motions by her energy level. She will altogether stop playing when the person playing with her isn’t “in the game.” She will also come over with appeasement behavior if anyone speaks in an angry, hurt or scared tone. Unlike us, dogs take in all of their world when deciphering a situation, sights, sounds, tastes and even smells.

What does this mean for you? Tons when it comes to training and competing. You are not fooling your dog for one second when you don’t “feel like” training or running agility. They pick up on your signals at practices and competitions long before you know you are stressed, scared or “out of it.” You are the captain of your team. You need to be mentally and physically “in the game” for your dog to give you their best performance. And on those days when things go awry, instead of looking down on your dog, take a look at yourself first. Nine out of ten times it is you that is distracted, confused, upset or stressed. All these emotions confuse your dog as they cause you to act and run differently than at home.

So, get yourself into the game before starting a practice session or end it as soon as you feel a bad mood on the rise. At competitions, find a routine that will keep you pumped up so that you and your dog can have a smooth run. And on those days when nothing seems to come together, chalk it up to experience and go unwind with a good dog movie and snuggle on the couch.