group of dogs

The Mind of the Dog

An introduction to the complexity of the mind of the dog

With all this diversity comes a very unique animal, with varying abilities and levels of intelligence.

Some of the most intelligent of dogs do not show this, unless they are presented with a challenge.

This is where we as the human are constantly underestimating that intelligence.

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris,or Canis familiaris) is a member of the Canidae family. It is one of the most diverse species on the planet with over 450 different breed groups.

All my life has been about the study of dogs and their behaviour, one thing I have learnt is that dogs are driven by their three primary senses.

These senses are at the forefront of how they learn, communicate and how they think.

A dog’s world is interpreted predominantly by its sense of smell, whereas a human world is interpreted by sight.

As human’s we have around 5 million scent receptors in our nose’s, your dog has somewhere from 125 million to 300 million (depending on the breed).

A human literally cannot imagine how to process all of that information a dog’s sense of smell gives them.

The same applies to a dog’s eye sight. As we have really no way of truly knowing how they interpret their vision. All we know is that it has been proven that they do not just see in black and white, they have colour vision which is the equivalent to red–green colour blindness in humans.

dog licking lips

We know through breeding that the dog’s visual system has evolved to aid us through hunting, however while a dog’s visual acuity is poor their visual ability to pin point moving objects is very high.

Now when it come to the dog’s hearing it is once again significantly greater than a human’s.

Studies over the years have shown that dogs are capable of hearing frequencies which are more than twice that of a human.

They can distinguish sounds roughly four times that of humans which means that dogs can hear sounds on frequencies that humans cannot even begin to detect.

With these three senses’ working together in harmony helps the dog produce the picture of the World around them.

In particular, perceive and correctly process activities they are being presented with on a day-to-day basis.

However with thousands of year’s of domestication this has changed the way that dogs use and process the information being produced by these senses.

This is what predominantly sets them apart from their ancestry the Grey Wolves.

Wolves totally rely and trust their sense’s never allowing them to conflict in any way. This is why they continued to have survived in the wild.

Domestic dogs can question their own senses especially when in conflict with another source like a human’s direction.

The dog’s mind works at a more basic level than the humans; however they do have a far greater understanding of their own mind than the human does of their own.