Having a dog at home is like having a good friend that can sense and respond to your needs, often even better than friends or family. They are also very intuitive and can sense both excitement and happiness in a household or stress and chaos. It is a commonly held idea that dogs often take on inherent characteristics of their owners. A dog belonging to a happy and friendly person generally grows up to be amiable and a distrustful or depressed owner ends up affecting his or her pet as well. The capability of dogs to be so responsive to human emotions has resulted in them being recommended for therapy and as companions by mental health doctors all over the world for people of all age groups. You will be surprised at how effective they can be. To give you an idea, here are a list 11 things dogs can sense about you.
11 Things Dogs Sense About You
Certain breeds like German Shepherds and Alsatians make for great guard dogs because of their great intuitive skills among their other admirable attributes. Dogs, especially those that are of loyal dog breeds, tend to be a little defensive of their territory and their human family and can be suspicious of strangers. But do not write off your dog’s reaction to a new person it meets as unwarranted distrust. They are good at sniffing out those with poor or mean intentions. They are also just as good at sniffing out your intentions to make them go through something unpleasant like a hair trim or a bath, and can make a run for it if they want to. Usually they will allow you to cajole them into an unpleasant but necessary activity, despite knowing what you are up to, if you are gentle and loving. Researchers contend that dogs establish eye contact with humans and are able to read their reactions to interpret their intentions, more often than not, successfully.
Dogs can tell when you are sad. In an incredibly human gesture, they also try to placate you when they sense you are upset about something. Dogs usually pick up on their owner’ depression and tend to get unhappy themselves if it continues for long. They can seem subdued and even refuse toys and food until you cheer up. Studies show that a dog is more likely to approach someone it senses is sad and placate them than someone who is visibly happy and friendly. It is a common thing for dogs to do to go up to their owners and try to comfort them through various physical gestures like lying at their feet, or gently grazing their neck against their legs, or even trying to lick away their tears. Dogs are thus extremely kind animals and the support and care they extend to their loved ones, can warm any heart. No wonder they are recommended as companions by mental health experts.
Dogs can sense if you are being unfair. If there are multiple pets in the household, a dog can pick up on whether or not you are being fair not only in the distribution of resources but also in providing your love and intentions to every pet equally. Dogs can be like children sometimes, in that they can be sense neglect, even if it is not very apparent, and get affected by it. Dogs can stop cooperating altogether and become disinterested or distressed by this behavior in humans. This is not limited to other pets. Dogs can sense that there has been a shift in your attention, even when there is a new baby at home, leading to it feeling neglected and even depressed, in some cases. But there are plenty of ways of making your dog feel loved and introduce him to the new member of the family, including your pet in the family’s consolidated effort to take care of the newborn. Your dog will probably then become your child’s first and most loyal friend.
The fact that dogs can smell fear is a commonly held contention, rightly so. They have heightened olfactory senses, which means that they can smell even small portions of adrenaline and related hormones which can alert them of your slightest fears. Brave, guard dogs like a Rottweiler or a Doberman is likely to rush to your rescue and defend you aggressively against one and all. Smaller dogs tend to pick up on their owner’s fears and get nervous when they sense you are scared. They generally mimic your actions and become restless and anxious themselves. Fear is an emotion most animals have in common with human beings. Dogs, being particularly sentient and generally alert and intuitive, can sense and respond to fear very well.
Dogs are gentle animals. Even the bravest and fiercest breeds are dependent on their owner for love and care. Their general intuitiveness and sensitivity can cause them to sense anger just as well as any other emotion in their owner. But they can often fail to understand their source. Thus owners, who have been with their dogs for a long time, often do not need to actually reprimand their dog for ill behavior to discipline them. A simple gesture like a glare or a hand on the hips can convey to the dog that it is in trouble! When at the receiving end of anger, dogs tend to get subdued and submissive, whining, whimpering and even getting scared to the point of losing bladder control. Since they are often unable to understand the source of your anger, being gentle creatures themselves, they may mistake your anger at something or someone else, to be anger directed at them. It is important therefore to be responsible around them even when upset about something, so that they are not unnecessarily distressed.
Dogs can tell if you are a kind person. Dogs, unlike many humans, have a strong moral compass. A study conducted on dogs of different breeds showed that dogs invariably responded to a set of actors who shared their food with a homeless person favorably as opposed to those actors who were instructed to not share. Dogs like humans judge you on your actions. They are observant and will pick up on your kindness and love you for it. If you are specifically stingy, they may act out, stealing things behind your back or being scared and mistrustful of you. Dogs are kind animals themselves and expect reciprocity from humans.
Dogs are playful. But they can also be downright sneaky. If you’ve kept that well garnished steak on the kitchen table and let your guard down for just a minute, your super intuitive dog will sniff out your inattention and head for the haul the moment your back is turned. Food is a dog’s favourite thing apart from your love and you must not judge your pet for trying to be a little resourceful about it. Most dogs want their owner’s approval and wouldn’t dream of stealing food in front of them. But a little mischief when you are not paying attention is to be expected. Nobody is perfect!
Dogs can sense if you don’t like someone. They can do so by interpreting both your body language and behavior around them and the chemicals discharged by your body which they can sense as well. When happy or excited the body releases chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. When unhappy, resentful or mistrustful of someone, this reaction elicits a different set of chemical discharge by the body which can be picked up by the dog. Your dog is also extremely sensitive to your gestures and body language and can be perceptive and insightful while analyzing them. Especially dogs that have been with their owners for a long period of time tend to easily pick up on their dislike of a particular person. They usually mimic your reaction, disliking people you dislike.
It is not an urban myth that dogs can sense pregnancy often even before the woman can herself. Many studies and research have found evidence to back this up. The principal reason for this is their heightened sense of smell which is why they can sniff put even small portions of hormones, which are discharged aplenty by the woman’s body when pregnant. Another line of explanation would be the dog’s inherent sensitivity to its owner’s emotions and moods. Dogs can pick up on slight changes of attitude and mood and notice even slight bouts of nausea, lethargy or sickness, which are also common among pregnant women. They are likely to escort you protectively everywhere once they sense you are with child and even nuzzle closer to you to show support and love.
Dogs have a strong and profound reaction to death. They can tell when you are mourning a major loss. They may become more attentive or demand more attention from you, when they sense that there has been a grievous loss in the family. Usually, they go through a mourning period of their own if their owners are grieving. Some dogs are even to let out haunting howls when confronted by the loss of a loved one. Dogs can help you cope with a loss by making you realize that you are responsible for the sensitive animal that is mourning with you, so that they become the incentive for you to get back to a normal routine.
Another myth about dogs which is well founded is their ability to sniff out diseases. It is not entirely certain if it because of their sense of smell although it is a distinct possibility that they can sense small portions of chemical imbalances manifested in your body during sickness. Often dogs can be great companions for children who are prone to a sickness or have a long term affliction. They have been known to become alert even before seizures or bouts of fainting and serious diseases. Naturally, they respond with extreme care and support, often refusing to leave their loved one’s side, until they get better.