If you think you know all there is to know about our four-legged friends, then think again! Despite living together for thousands of years, there are still plenty of things which most people don’t know about dogs.
Regardless of what dog breed you have, they continue to amaze us as we find out new things about them, and the benefits that they bring to us as their owners.
If you are already a huge doggy fan, prepare to become an even bigger super fan after reading these nine amazing things about canines.
They can smell human disease
A dog’s sense of smell is stronger than even the most advanced man-made pieces of equipment.
In fact, some dogs are actually trained to detect cancer in human’s urine or breath; they have remarkable noses. There are plenty of reports of patients going to see their doctor based on their dog repeatedly licking a lump or legion, and it later being confirmed as cancer.
They can lower our stress and blood pressure
Stroking a dog for just 15 minutes can reduce blood pressure and lower stress levels. Petting a dog can increase the levels of oxytocin in our bodies, which is a stress-reducing hormone.
The University of Missouri-Columbia found that human blood pressure drops by around 10% after 15-30 minutes of stroking a dog.
They reduce sibling rivalry
Having a dog in a family can give children some common ground and reduce the amount of sibling rivalry. Dogs teach children to be more gentle and patient and also give them a great sense of responsibility which can improve their relationship with each other. This will be music to most parents’ ears!
In fact, pets can bring your family closer together in general, with more excuses to get out on a Sunday family walk.
They can help you to live longer
A study published by Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes has found that there is a link between owning a dog and living longer.
The study found that dog owners had a 24% risk reduction from death if they owned a dog. For those people with heart problems, the percentage was even higher.
They’re great in bilingual families
Dogs can be multilingual as well as humans! There are reports of dogs being able to understand up to three of four different languages.
Perhaps the most important thing though, is our body language as their owners. It is more likely that what your dog is picking up on is certain body language and tone of voice rather than the actual words that you say.
Test it out with your dog next time you ask them to sit. Still make the same gesture that you usually make, and the same tone of voice, but change the word!
They can learn sign language
All dogs are capable of learning sign language. Similarly, to the way they associate certain words with certain actions that they must perform, sign language works in the same way.
Traditionally ASL was the most common form of sign language to teach dogs, but a new type of communication called K9Sign has been developed in the last few years. This sign language also helps the dog to tell their owner whether they are thirsty, have an injury or would like a specific treat.
Your dog is as clever as a toddler
The average dog has the same mental abilities as a two-year-old child. They recognize an average of 165 words, signals and gestures, and dogs that are in the top 20 percent of intelligence can recognize up to 250 words!
Border Collies are one of the smartest breeds of dogs, closely followed by Poodles and Germans Shepherds.
They can get jealous
Your dog isn’t just your dog…they’re a green-eyed monster! A study carried out by UC San Diego suggests that dogs do display jealous behaviors when their owner is putting their attention elsewhere.
We’ve always known that our dogs are quite empathic and can tell when we’re feeling sad, but what this study revealed is that they have a much more complex emotional brain than we originally thought.
The study found that a dog was four times as likely to touch or push their owner, when their owner was interacting with a stuffed teddy, than when they were paying attention to a book.
Guide dogs can do their business on command
Have you ever wondered how blind people pick up their dogs poop? The dogs are actually trained to pee and poop on request, to make it easier for their handler to pick up after them while they’re out and about.
They use many different commands for this from ‘get busy’ to ‘go potty’. They are usually discouraged from going about their business when they are wearing their service coats and out on a walk with their handler.
Author: Thomas Woods is the creator and author of Perfect Dog Breeds, a website which draws from Thomas’ wealth of experience in training and caring for dogs of all breeds and sizes.