It goes without saying that you love your dog. In fact, you probably love your dog more than you love most people — or perhaps all people. Good for you. Carry on.
However, despite sleeping in the same bed, binge-watching the same TV shows, eating the same pizza and listening to the same music, there’s a good chance that your dog has a lot going on behind the scenes that you’d find amazing, surprising, or just plain weird.
Here are 10 things that will have you looking at your faithful friend in a whole new light:
- Ever wondered why your dog circles a few times before settling in for a nap? It’s because dogs have an instinctive, primal drive to turn long grass (even when there is no long grass) into a bed.
- Dogs have a whopping 300 million scent receptors in their noses. This is why many dogs have an astonishingly accurate knack for sniffing out disease. They’re not psychic, but rather they’re detecting scents given off by abnormal cells.
- You’ve probably heard that dogs cannot sweat. This is actually false. They do sweat — but only through their paws (which is why their paws can smell funky sometimes, kind of like corn chips).
- Have you heard the news that dogs can’t see colors? Well, that’s a myth as well. Dogs can indeed see colors. However, unlike human beings who have three different color receptors in their eyes, dogs have two. As a result, the colors they see the clearest and best are blue, gray and yellow.
- Most dogs can remember about 50 words, although some can remember hundreds or even thousands. Plus, dogs have no problem with multiple languages or sign language.
- After defecating outside, your dog probably digs around the area with his or her paws. Well, if you thought that this was done to “bury the evidence,” then you’re mistaken. It’s actually to mark their territory by transferring scent from their paws to the ground.
- Male dogs don’t lift their legs when they urinate because their anatomy compels them to do so. Rather, they do it so that the air currents distribute the scent of their urine across the largest possible area — thus marking their territory. This is also why some very dominant female dogs lift their legs when urinating.
- Dogs can and do develop best friends — which could be with humans or other animals — and act accordingly. Once this bond is established, it never breaks.
- The reason that your dog twitches, barks, yelps, sighs, and growls during sleep is because he or she is dreaming. However, unlike humans who can have some pretty bizarre dreams (being eaten by a giant green pepper, playing volleyball with a bunch of ferns, working on a Corsa exhaust system for a Ford Raptor, and so on), psychologists suggest that dogs are most likely dreaming about familiar activities like going for walks or barking at the postal carrier.
- Tail wagging is a kind of language. Generally: wagging to the right means that your dog is happy, and wagging to left means that your dog is alarmed. What’s more, wagging low means that your dog is insecure and feels vulnerable, while wagging high (along with muscle tension) means that your dog feels aggressive.