Basic Manners 1 Class
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Dog Facts
Have you ever wanted to understand your dog more? Do you often wonder what you dog is trying to tell you? Here are some great doggie facts that will help you and your pet!

Dog Facts


Understanding a Dog's Senses

A big part of understanding your dog is understanding their senses and accepting that they are indeed different than humans. Both humans and dogs have the same three senses sight, hearing and smelling, however while most humans communicate in this order hearing, seeing, and then smelling, dogs primarily communicate by smelling, seeing and lastly hearing. Dogs also have a universal sense which humans do not have, where they can feel the energy (emotions) of the other beings around them.


The statistics below will vary slightly with different types of breeds, for example a sighthound may have slightly better vision and a coonhound type of dog may have a slightly better sense of smell than other types. These facts help the humans to understand their dogs and hopefully communicate with them better and easier.


Lets take a look at each of their senses.


The Nose

A dog interprets the world predominantly by smell, where as a human interprets it by sight. As a human I cannot even imagine what that would be like, to get most of my information from what I was smelling. This is why a blind or deaf dog can get along just fine if allowed to be a dog, given the proper leadership and exercise and their sensory whiskers are not cut off when they are groomed. While a dog's brain is only one-tenth the size of a human brain, the part that controls smell is 40 times larger than in humans. A dogs sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a humans (depending on the breed). A human has about 5 million scent glands, as compared to a dog who has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million (depending on the breed). Ever wonder why your dog's nose is wet? The mucus on a dog's nose actually helps them smell by capturing scent particles. When a dogs nose is dry they may lick it to aid them in scent


When a dog smells something they are not just registering a smell, they get an entire story. They can smell pheromone which is not only found in the urine and fecal, but on the skin and fur. From this they can tell a lot about another dog or human including if they are male or female, what they ate, where they have been, what they have touched, if they are ready to mate, if they have recently given birth, or had a false pregnancy and what mood they are in. They have even been known to smell cancer on people, alerting them to it and saving their lives. This means when your dog smells another person, tree that another dog has peed on, pant leg that another dog has rubbed up against, or a chair that someone has sat in, they are actually reading a story, not just smelling an interesting scent. While a human will smell something like spaghetti sauce as one smell, a dog smells each individual ingredient. Unlike humans, dogs can move their nostrils independently allowing them to know what direction a smell is coming from.


A dog can both sniff and breathe. These are two different functions. Breathing is for air, but when they sniff with short breaths they actually save some scent that does not get exhaled. When a dog is over heated and actively panting their sense of smell is reduced by as much as 40 percent as they use the air to cool themselves rather than for smelling.

Puppies have heat sensors in their nose to help find their mother during the time when their




The Eyes

Since dogs do not have a spoken language, their thoughts are more like a sequence of images, much like a child before they learn to speak.

A common question among humans is, "Are dog's color blind"? The answer is no, not exactly, meaning they do not only see in shades of only black and white. Studies have shown that dogs see in colors of various shades of blue and yellow. For example, a rainbow to a dog would be as follows: dark blue, light blue, light-gray, light yellow, dark brownish yellow, and dark gray.

Purple, and blue are both seen as shades of blue. Greenish-blue is viewed as a shade of gray. Red is seen as a black or dark gray. Orange, yellow and green all are seen to a dog as various shades of yellow. This means that bright orange toys, to a dog are the same yellowish shade as the green grass. If you want your dog to clearly see his toys in the green grass you are better off with giving the dog blue toys, but no worries, if you have orange, yellow or green toys the dog will just find them with his nose.

Dogs can see the best at dusk and dawn. Their low light vision is much better than humans. While a humans vision is considered perfect at 20/20 a dog's vision is on average 20/75. Dogs can recognize objects better when they are moving and sometimes overlook the same object when it is still. Dogs see images on a TV screen, but most likely also see a rapidly flickering light in the picture. Almost like a strobe light, because a humans flicker resolution ability is about 55 Hz and a dog's is about 75 Hz.



The Ears

Puppies are born deaf and cannot hear until they are about 21 days old. Their eyes are also closed. During this time they rely solely on scent to interpret their world. However by the time their sense of hearing is completely developed they can hear about 4 times the distance of a human who has normal hearing. Dogs can hear higher pitched sounds that humans cannot hear. They often bark at vacuums because they hear a very loud annoying pitch to their motors.

They detect sounds in the frequency range of approximately 67 - 45,000 Hz (varies with different breeds). Compared to humans with the approximate range of 64 - 23,000 Hz. As humans and dogs get older they both loose the ability to hear certain frequencies.

Dogs have 18 or more muscles in their ears allowing them to be mobile, where as a human has only 6 and can only move their ears slightly if at all. Dogs with perked ears can usually hear better than dogs with hanging ears. Especially if they can move their ears in the direction of the sound.



Animals can feel energy (in human words... emotions). It is a universal animal language. Have you ever been watching a group of wild animals out in the yard, perhaps a squirrel, rabbit and a deer all eating peacefully? Clearly these animals are not speaking words to one another asking if they all come in peace. Some how they all know that they are not going to harm one another. Or perhaps you know a dog that other dogs do not tend to like, or a cat that likes one dog but not another. Or perhaps you know of a person who dogs are prone to bark at. When I was a kid growing up I had a Lab mix who just loved everyone. There was not a single person he didn't like, accept for my uncle. When my uncle would come around he would bark at him. I later found out that many dogs tended to bark at my uncle and as I got older I realized my uncle was a very tense, nervous person.


Another example was a time when my husband and I were driving down the road with our two dogs in a van that did not have any windows in the back. The dogs were sleeping on the van floor. Suddenly our Pitbull stood up and started growling. I was in the passenger seat and saw nor heard nothing. My husband on the other hand was amazed. He had just passed a cop and for a split second thought he may have been speeding and at the exact moment he felt a chill of fear run down his spine, his dog had popped up from his curled up sleep and growled, not at us but towards the walls of the moving van. The dog had felt his fear and was jumping up in protection mode.


Dogs interpret human emotions such as worry, anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow and nervousness, as a weakness and they do not listen to these emotions. Dogs listen best to someone who is calm, but firm in their approach. They use their sense of energy to determine who should be the leader of their pack.  Being with the strongest, and most stable energy is the one they look to, be it themselves or another being around them. While you can hide your emotions from another human, you cannot hide them from a dog.


Written by Sharon Maguire  All Rights Reserved


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Muddy Paws Canine Center | 6643 U.S. Route 5, Westminster, VT 05158 Phone: (802) 463-4778 | Email: fleabegon@yahoo.com