What is your dog thinking about? – Part 1

If men are from Mars and women from Venus just where do dogs come from?. As pet owners we all like to occasionally think that we understand our dog and that he reciprocates. Unfortunately just assuming that a dog’s thought processes are like ours is nonsense. Sure the little guy may look up at you with those adoring eyes in such a knowing and thoughtful way but really we are just fooling ourselves.

For one thing a dog is historically a pack animal. Despite being domesticated, by humans, dogs still have many of their pack instincts and their way of thinking is influenced by this. They usually have training but not the intensive schooling that people enjoy. As such dogs can follow commands but do not have the brain power to think through situations and problems.

On the whole a dog likes and needs a leader, order and routine. His understanding of right and wrong is simply that certain behaviour attracts a reward or pet, whilst other behaviour attracts a harsh voice and or punishment. A pet dog relies on its leader, you the owner, for food, exercise, love and shelter and so you are in its thoughts a great deal but on a basic needy level.

I am told that dogs have little perception of time and that their vision is not colourful like ours but rather that they see in monochrome tones. When you consider all of these factors it is obvious that dogs do not think the same way we do as, after all, they are a totally different species. Their ability to learn certain actions means that at times they seem to understand and think things through but they are just acting out of habit. I do however feel that dogs are often tuned into our psyche and will pick up on sadness and tragedy.

Overall a dogs memories may be a complete jumble of seemingly small, insignificant and sometimes complicated issues. This is why years after being rescued such a dog may suddenly remember something terrible from the past and react accordingly. My personal experience of this is a dog with a terror of young men in baseball caps, as such a young man had been the dog’s tormentor previously. The longer you own a dog the more in tune you get with each other and this is great but it is really just familiarity.

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