What is Your Dog Thinking? Part 2

We’ve talked about dog psychology in some other posts because it’s one of the most important
things to understand about our pets. People are always looking online for answers to questions
they have about dogs. Everything from questions on how to better train a dog, improve their
behavior, or even find the right animal for your lifestyle, can be better answered when you
know about how dogs think. We already touched on whether or not dogs get jealous,
understand concepts like revenge, or feel guilt. Let’s consider a few other important things to
know about how a dog’s brain works.

If you’ve ever watched your dog sleep and see changes in his face, you might have asked
yourself what’s going through his mind. In fact, today most researchers believe that dogs do in
fact experience dreams in the human sense of the word. That is, they are imagining real things
not abstractions. Luckily for them, researchers also believe that dog dreams tend to be happy,
or at least exciting. The reason we bring this up is to prove, as if you didn’t already know it, that
dogs are complex creatures that benefit emotionally from full, rich lives.

We know that dogs can understand us because when we tell a trained dog to sit, he sits. But
dogs’ understanding of language goes much deeper than that. Today, we believe dogs are
about as smart as a toddler and many breeds can, with the right training, learn to understand
up to 150 different words! Even more impressive, dogs are capable of distinguishing tones in
our language. This means that dogs aren’t only picking up on what you’re saying, but also how
you’re saying it. This is a hugely important piece of knowledge. If you are subconsciously
sending out a tone of fear to a strange dog, that might elicit a certain, unwanted response. On
the other hand, speaking in a calm, confident tone will help your commands carry more weight.
One of the most powerful tools that dogs have is their ability to not only experience emotions
themselves, but to actually learn from human emotions as well.
That’s how connected our two
species are! Our furry best friends are exceptionally good at transferring our emotion onto
whatever it is we’re interacting with. So, if we’re getting frustrated with trying to open a stuck
jar, our dog will understand what we’re feeling and understand why. At the same time, showing
extreme happiness with something (like a new toy you want your dog to play with) will make
the little guy more interested in trying it out himself. This is a great case of using your emotions
to connect with your dog and get him to do something that you want, and which is best for him
anyway.

Dogs are constantly looking to make a connection with their human counterparts. They’ve been
around people so long that they do this best in the same way that we do: by looking for
emotional connections. While it’s great to read up as much as you can on dog psychology and
emotions, there’s never a substitute for actually going out and creating new experiences and
emotional connections with your dog!