10 Surprising Facts About Dogs You Probably Didn’t Know About

10 Surprising Facts About Dogs You Probably Didn’t Know About

For centuries, dogs have been part of our lives. Man’s best friend is always there during the best and the worst of times. While all animals are unique and special in their own little way, dogs managed to climb to the top of the list with their incredibly intelligent characteristics and their humorous antics. The furry canines are not just companions, but are unique within the animal kingdom.




1. Dogs sometimes pretend to be sick, just to get attention from their owners.

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Image: Ruby Schmank

Today, dogs are smart enough to copy human behavior and there are some canines out there who are masters at faking a cough or limp in order to get some extra attention. The “faking” illnesses or injuries to gain attention technique is backed by many veterinarians. According to Dr. Richard Pitcairn, author of Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, they get the idea while being genuinely sick. When the owner responds with some extra care and cuddle time, it encourages the dog to continue the behavior after getting better.

They understand this much like learning to sit or shake, in exchange for treats. Do keep in mind that dogs cannot fake major symptoms such as fever or inflamed skin, so be sure to take them to a vet in such cases. Most fakers are known to limp or cough; things that they can control.

2. Dogs can actually see colors, but not nearly as many as us.

Dogs can actually see colors, but not nearly as many as us.
Image: Hybrid

For long it has been believed that dogs can only see the world in black & white. The fact that dogs are color-blind has been misrepresented by many into thinking that they can see no color at all. In fact, dogs do see in color but are not high in contrast or quality as us. While humans have three types of color-sensitive cones in the retina, dogs only have two. The three cones give us the full range of color vision and the two types of cones dogs have puts them in similar situation with human color blindness.

A study conducted by the University of California, Santa Barbara, confirmed that dogs actually see color, but fewer than normal humans. While humans see rainbows as VIBGYOR ( Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red), dogs see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, brown, and very dark gray. Basically, they see the world in yellow, blue and gray.




3. Dogs smile in order to get affection from their owners.

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Image: Jonathan Daniels

Just like human babies, dogs are capable of mimicking emotions. Studies show that when it comes to dogs, smile is an appeasement gesture that indicates submission or nervousness. In other words, it means “I’m not a threat. I won’t challenge you. I like you”. The behavioral study also shows that dogs mirror our emotions because we actually train them to do so. According to Steven Budiansky, author of The Truth About Dogs, they have adopted a survival-of-the-friendliest strategy by learning our language and gaining access to our hearts.

4. Dogs only sleep belly-up in places they feel safe, stable and comfortable.

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Image: Wikimedia

Sleeping belly-up is a behavior only exhibited by domesticated pets. Studies show that dogs only take the posture (which makes them potentially exposed to threats), if they feel safe around someone. Although not all dogs show this characteristic, experts believe that it is more of a personal choice, just like humans.

5. Dogs can become attached to their owners.

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Image: Michael Hardy

Dogs and humans have been living together for thousands of years. Over this period, they have become just as attached to us as infants to their caregivers. Research shows that pet owners often develop a strong bond, known as the “secure base effect”; similar to that of a parent and their infant child. Researchers at Vetmeduni Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, found that dogs were more active and showed interest to food while their owners were around.

When the owners were replaced with a random stranger, they had limited activity nor did they show any interest in eating. Finally, when the dogs were left alone in a room with a stranger and their owners clothing left out in a chair, the dogs moved closer to the chair rather than the stranger. Researchers believe that this is why the American Heart Association (AHA) said pets can reduce the risk of heart disease, since it increases physical activity, boosts favorable lipid profiles, lowers systemic blood pressure and stress.




6. Sleeping with your dog in the room is actually good for you.

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Image: Rafal Jedrzejek

According to a new Mayo Clinic study, letting your four legged friend into your bedroom at night has benefits. The study conducted on 40 adults and dogs, who all wore motion-tracking devices, found that having a dog rest in the same room at night did not affect an individual’s sleep pattern. On average, people with dogs in their rooms (but not on their beds) maintained 83% sleep efficiency. Researchers also noted that the dogs rested well, regardless of their owners location.

7. Dogs feel jealousy.

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Image: Mean Shadows

A 2008 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dogs can get jealous of other dogs. For the study, dogs were trained to perform tricks and one set of dogs were rewarded for their efforts while the other simply had to perform tricks for no rewards. The group that received no rewards for their efforts became agitated as well as started avoiding the gaze of the rewarded dog.

Another study by scholars at the University of California, San Diego, found that dogs showed jealous behaviors when their owners displayed affection toward other humans or dogs. The jealousy was triggered by social interaction between the owner and their romantic partner; demonstrating that dogs are capable of expressing complicated feelings.

8. Dogs don’t feel guilt.

Dogs don't feel guilt
Image: Claudia Mañas

Those puppy eyes your dog gives you after getting into the trash is not guilt, rather a reaction to your reprimand. A new study shows that dogs will give you the guilty look, even if they are completely innocent of a crime. In the videotaped study, researchers placed dogs and their owners, along with a forbidden treat in a room.

The owners were then asked to leave the room and researchers then proceeded to give the treat to a selected number of dogs. Upon their return, researchers informed some of the owners that their dogs had misbehaved while the other half was told that the dogs behaved according to their commands. The information provided to the owners however, often did not correlate with reality. When the misinformed owners started scolding their dogs for eating the forbidden treat, they looked more “guilty” than the other dogs who had, in fact, eaten the treat.




9. Dogs can predict an epileptic seizure up to 45 minutes before it happens.

Dogs can predict an epileptic seizure up to 45 minutes before it happens.
Image: Pixabay

Dogs have the ability to detect hidden explosives, track down culprits or find missing people. We hear inspirational stories about them every day but did you know that they also have the ability to accurately predict epileptic seizures? While it is not completely understood, scientists believe that dogs are capable of detecting even the slightest changes in human behavior as well as smells, to accurately predict an episode.

Today, these canine friends inform their owners of an upcoming episode, giving them time to take seizure blocking medication, get to a safe place, or call for assistance. Seizure alert dogs are born with this remarkable ability which remains a mystery to mankind. Nevertheless, their ability to detect seizures upto 45 minutes in advance, allows victims to live a normal life.

10. Dogs experience static electricity during thunderstorms.

Dogs experience static electricity during thunderstorms.
Image: Pixabay

All dog owners know that dogs and thunderstorms don’t mix together. It’s a common misconception that they are simply afraid of lightning or the sound of the thunder. In reality, the reason why they are afraid is due to the fact that they experience high levels of static electricity during bad storms. Static electricity can cause an uncomfortable tingling effect on their fur, causing them to be afraid and hide under the bed. The best way to put them at ease is to rub a dryer sheet on their fur to decrease the amount of static electricity.

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