Dog Psychology - Part 2
Updated: Jun 25, 2020
2. Dog traits - level II of dog psychology
In the first part of the dog psychology chapter we saw the psychology of dogs coming from their animal instincts. In this part we will talk about the psychology which is specific to dogs but not to all animals.
D. Dog senses - Smell, sight, sound and touch - PRINCIPLE # 4
As we learned in principle # 3, dogs are 100% embedded in the moment. To maintain this level of focus they keep on accessing their environment through their sensory organs - nose, eyes, ears and touch (in same order).
Sense of smell is most important to dogs and they generally sense 60% of their environment through their nose. The percentage of the dog's brain that is devoted to analysing smells is actually 40 times larger than that of human. It is estimated that dogs can identify smells somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than human beings.
After nose, dogs rely on their sight. A dog's primary use of sight is to process motion, a skill vital for hunting. Dogs also see colours but not like us. Our colour receptors can detect three colours and its variations, i.e., red, blue and green. However a dog has only blue and green receptors.
Dogs can see shades of grey, yellow and blue.
Dog pupil is also bigger than a human which helps them to see better in dim light. However, it prevents dog from clearly focus on images and objects.
Ears and eyes almost have same importance for dogs. They determine the identity and relative location of the object by analysing the sound coming from it. Human ears are sensitive to sounds ranging from 20 to 20,000 Hz. However, the hearing range of dogs extends to between 47,000 and 60,000 Hz depending on the breed and individual dog.
Out of all the senses, the sense of touch in dogs is most similar to the humans. Dog's entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch sensitive nerve endings. The most sensitive nerve endings are along the spine and towards the tail.
Dogs have whiskers too. Above their eyes, on their muzzle and below their jaws. These whiskers help them to read changes happening in their environment. They help them to differentiate different types of touches or changes in the environment like Pain, Body Movement and Position, Temperature, Pressure and Chemical Stimulation.
E. Dogs are pack animals - PRINCIPLE # 5
Dogs are pack animals. In wild, they live and hunt in packs. Pack has certain rules. It is surely not a democracy. There is a leader and the others are the followers. The role of the leader is to guide them in hunt, protect the pack and provide leadership in tough situations.
Dogs consider their human family as their pack. Now it is our responsibility to provide firm leadership to the pack. A lot of issues arises when we fail to do so and our dog takes the empty spot of the pack leader. This disturbs the balance of our relationship with our pet. Therefore, become a pack leader and guide your pet to a happy and healthy life.
In further blogs we will see, how breed and individual psychology and behaviour traits apply.
As we progress in our learning and understanding on dogs, we will keep referring to these principles. So do keep them in mind.