The Science of DOGS
Oh, dogs! A best friend that always has your
back – in fact, studies have shown that men are 3 times more likely to get a girls phone
number if they have a dog by their side! And do you ever feel like your dog just “gets”
you? It turns out that humans and dogs both respond to emotional sounds. When your dog
hears you crying or laughing, the response in their brain is similar to that of a human’s.
In fact, they interpret your crying as another dog whining. Which may make you want to cuddle your buddy
– but did you know that dogs often curl up into a ball when sleeping to conserve body
heat and protect their most vulnerable organs in the abdomen from predators? Comfy! If you’re
not always around to cuddle, leaving them some clothes that smell like you will actually
help them with separation anxiety. And while you may think you have the smartest
dog, animal psychologists believe most dogs are about as smart as a 2 year old human.
Dogs can understand more than 150 words, count up to 5, and notice simple errors such as
1+1=3. Dogs are also capable of solving spatial problems; they learn the location of hidden
treats, find the fastest route to the park and operate mechanisms such as latches and
simple machines. And by the way, dogs aren’t completely colourblind
as many people think! But unlike the three specialized receptors in our eyes to distinguish
colours, dogs only have two. Because of this, they see black, white, blue and yellow. Meanwhile,
their brains don’t interpret red and green, but instead see grey. Of the 75 million domesticated dogs in America,
labradors are the most popular, but the most intelligent dog breeds are Border Collies,
Poodles, and German Shepherds. However, these are measures of intelligence that compare
to our own; dogs are amazingly smart in other ways. You’ve probably heard of drug sniffing
dogs, but did you know that dogs can sense seizures, detect low blood sugar and can sniff
out cancer? In one study, dogs were able to identify 30 of 33 cases of prostate cancer
by smelling participant’s urine. It is believed that dog’s highly sophisticated sense of
smell can detect variation and the presence of volatile organic compounds. Their sense of smell is 10,000 to 10,000,000
times more sensitive than humans depending on the breed. A secreted fluid from their
nose helps them smell by capturing scent chemicals in a thin layer of wet mucous on their nose.
In fact, for a dog, breathing is different than smelling. A small fold of tissue called
the alar fold separates the flow of air depending on whether they are sniffing or breathing.
Which also allows them to pick up pheromones in the air to help locate and determine the
readiness of possible mates. Tinder for dogs! On top of it all, humans really do love dogs!
A recent study found that dogs activate the same hormonal response that triggers us to
love and care for our own babies. Accompany that with studies showing decreased stress
and anxiety, and it’s clear why they have become such an important part of our lives.
They truly are Woman and Man’s best friend! Unless you’re a cat lover…in which case
you should watch our scientific debate on Cats vs Dogs, where we try and figure out
which precious pet is truly the best! Head on over to that video to help us decide which
side wins! And subscribe for more weekly science videos