• Y.A.W.S Admin

How do dogs see the world, and negotiate his surroundings

Man's/Women's best friend the dog

The dog is indeed humanities best animal friend. They fight alongside us as war dogs in all our conflicts. They go into disaster zones with us as a vital member in search and rescue teams, and they also help the disabled gain confidence and independence as service dogs.

That is without thinking about the millions that live alongside us as companion animals in our homes and most are a big part of our daily lives

But how much credit do we give our four-legged friends and how well do they actually interpret the world around them.

Is it true- dogs have a super six sense, and this extra sensitive sense is their ability to read our emotional state? Yes, dogs are exceptional at reading humans and our emotions that they appear to almost read our minds through the little cues at our emotional state and the behaviour exhibited.

This super sense is an advantage to a dog pack member and its why the dog is a favourite pet in Britain with about 24% of all UK adults having a dog.

The UK is home to an estimate of 8.9 million dogs.

Here is a brief history of the modern dog and their association with humans. There is differing points of views on how and when or why dogs come to be mans best friend, a popular theory comes from studies of human and dog burial sites in Siberia, this showed evidence of the earliest association with dogs and humans of around 33,000 years ago, but the study showed more numerous burial occurrences around 10,000 years ago, when its thought grey wolves came down into human settlements scavenging off its settlers.

Researchers theorise that domestication evolved from the earliest days when it's likely the most aggressive wolves would have been driven off, and the mellowest would have been allowed to hang about, then eventually evolving the less aggressive nature of today's dogs, and that then allowed them to cohabit alongside humans.


Dogs are inherently pack animals, so already have a good sense at identifying and reacting to an individuals behaviour and the emotional state of its subject..

Dogs have excellent eyesight and hearing with an excellent sense of smell and always live in the moment. A dog never reacts out of vengeance or pride, dogs just don't think that far in front of their noses and the current situation they are experiencing.

A dogs perception of its world is in the here and now, what it can sense through its emotions, its sense of smell, its sight and what it can hear, all are senses for the here and now.

So do dogs see through their hearts?

Once you realise just how good a dog is at sensing our behaviour, uses scents and how it interprets the sounds around it, you can start to understand how a dog can negotiate the world of the human and now you can understand how a dog works - you can then begin to see things from your dog's point of view in our world.

Only then you can confidently assess really how happy your dog is with the life you have provided for him/her? And may answer some negative behavioural issues you may be having.

An excellent example of this behaviour that most dog owners will have experienced at some point is when you arrive back home, and your dog has had a toiletry accident, and you walk in and probably point or look at the mess in an angry/disappointed way.

The dog's ears drop, his body stance lowers, and he/she looks worried.

Now many owners still wrongly humanise their dog (which is another story) and interprets this behaviour as the dog knows what it has done and they then chastise the dog. Wrong that is fatal a mixed signal and a mixed communication and if this regularly happens its a fast way to a nervous dog because he/she is confused.

What your dog is actually saying is? You look unhappy, and your body language is giving off the same stance, and because a dog can also talk through its eyes and your negative eye contact together is the likely cause your dog reacted in the above way.

Remember! Dogs live in the moment he has forgot that he pooped on your prize Turkish rug, almost immediately after he/she had made the deposit.

How does a dog see?

A dog has excellent eyesight. 'while a dogs colour vision is somewhat limited compared to humans that have three types of colour receptor cells, for dogs, their colour vision is similar to a human with red-green colour blindness, although there are other differences. Dogs are less sensitive to variations in grey shades than humans are, as well as only about half as sensitive to changes in brightness.

Dogs also tend to be nearsighted to varying degrees.

However, dogs do outperform humans in some visual abilities. Dogs are much more sensitive to motion at a distance — anywhere from 10 to 20 times more sensitive than humans. Their vision is also well-suited to hunting during dawn and dusk.

Combining their motion and twilight sensitivity with a broader degree of peripheral vision than humans, a dog’s eyes are ideally suited for hunting down fast-moving prey. Did they evolve for this purpose? Well, that is another more complicated topic.

The Dog scents its world in 3D scents.

Now a sense we all associate with and felt it's cold, wet feel on the back of your neck, and that's a dog's nose and its excellent sense of smell. On first appearance the dog's nose looks wet, wrinkly and in most cases gives the dog that attractive appearance we all love.

But it's so much more on the inside - a dogs nose is a potent tool and is thee primary sense of any dog, as you've probably experienced if you've spent any time around a dog, it is usually with its head nose first in somewhere in the region your crotch.

Dogs have around 300 million olfactory(scent) receptors in their noses, versus a human with only about 6 million. Also the part of a dog's brain dedicated to interpreting these is about 40 times larger than ours.

Pictured Mimi scenting her world

If that wasn't enough, but a dog's nose has another function as a heat regulator for the dog and helps dissipate heat from their bodies.

Did you know? Dogs can breathe in and out at the same time, an excellent trait for a fast and continuously moving animal, have you noticed a dog's average speed of motion is trotting and not walking which is quite difficult for dogs.

Also did you know? Dogs smell in 3D, just like our eyes we can interpret information by each eye independently, a dog can smell through each nostril separately or smell two scents at the same time forming a 3D scent view of its world?

Are you listening to your dog as well as they listen to you?

We now move on to a dog's hearing and how a dog hears the world around it. While its true that a dog's primary super sense is its nose the dog's hearing is not far behind, Canines can hear much better than humans do; over four times greater .

You may see a dog cocking his head, and while that could mean many things, often the reason is to hone in on a sound that is far in the distance.

Pictured - Mitch listening to his world

So why can a dog hear much better than us humans? Well, this is because dogs can hear sounds that we just can't, a dog's hearing range is at a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz while a human range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. This means dogs have a hard time with loud noises, loud noise acceptable to our hearing range can be way too loud for your dog.

Pictured a Dalmatian with ear defenders on

Another feature that is why a dog's hearing is superior to us humans is their many ear muscles.

A man may be able to wiggle his ears a little bit, but a dog has over 18 muscles in his ears which allow him to rotate them, tilt them, and raise or lower them. His ears are like antennae or radar for honing in on sounds.

This movement along with his sensitive hearing range allows him to focus in and locate precisely where a sound is coming from.

Pictured A JRT in the city with lots of sights, sounds and scents.

When all that we have learn't is all put together, we have a super sensitive pet that sees the world around them in a completely different way than the human being, and how they live with us without any more incidents is a testament to how wonderful our dogs are.

So next time you ask your dog to do anything remember this article and by adjusting your training methods to factor in these things and you will find training and living with your dog will be much more relaxed and ultimately much happier for both of you.

Dogs are amazing, and we are privileged to have them in our lives.

#dogs #dogwelfare #dog #care #Behaviour

©2017 by Yorkshire Animal Welfare Society.