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My Dogs Decoded

Yesterday I came across this video by NOVA – ‘Dogs Decoded’ on one of the doggy groups I follow on facebook. Had some time on hand so I sat down to watch. It was a very interesting video and if you have a dog you should watch it.

As I watched the video a lot of things about my three dogs became clearer. A lot of things that I know about my dogs is not unique to me any more. Che and I have always said Cuckoo speaks and she’s not the only one in the world, most dogs do. So as I watched the video I made a list of things I learned about my dogs.

1. The expressions on both sides of our faces in any situation are not identical. We tend to see more of the right of a persons face then left when talking to them (left gaze bias). This is because the right side of our face shows more of the emotion we are feeling than the left. Dogs understand this too and tend to focus more on the emotion on the right of our face. Its helps them read our emotion and respond to it. This explains why I can’t con Cuckoo with fake anger, there’s too many parameters. :)

Our dogs understand us. Thats a very simple statement but holds a lot of meaning. Dogs understand our social ques, they understand gesturing – our pointing with fingers or eyes. Combine that with their reading of our facial emotions and you have mans best friend. 😀

2. Out of the three dogs I have, Cuckoo is the most communicative. She almost talks – each bark is different and means different things. You could almost have a conversation with her.
Dogs use barking as a language. Frequency, tonality and interval between barks vary to form a wide variety of meaning. A research facility in Budapest recorded the sounds dogs make in various situations and played the sounds clips to test base of dog owners. Dog owners almost always identified the dogs situation and behaviour correctly. So the bark of a dog is not just noise but a package of information to help us communicate. Then why do we debark dogs? :(

3. Spending time with my dogs always is an upper, it makes me feel better. The rottenest day gets better when I’m with them. Senti’s my special in this area. I have a need to nuture and Oh how I enjoy mothering him 😀

In Sweden a doctor has poven that Occitocin is reponsible for the bonding of babies with mothers. When we are petting dogs we release occitocin and so do dogs. This peptide causes a feeling of well being and bonds us to our dogs. Occitocin is good for us – it reduces the heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to lower levels of stress.

4. There’s always been this debate about dogs being decended from wolves. Research finally proves dogs are tamed domesticated wolves.

Soviet scientists over the last 50 years have run an experiment with silver foxes. They took the tamest foxes in each litter and bred them with other tame ones. They also did the same with the most aggressive ones. 8 generations later the tame foxes had started looking forward to human contact. 50 generations later they are starting to show characteristics of dogs. On the other side the agressive ones got more aggressive with each generation. A good reason to always ask to see the mother and father when getting a pup, it’ll say a lot about the dog we get.

And here’s some interesting trivia from the video.

There are more pet dogs in the world than babies, nearly 1/2 a billion.

Research proves that dogs can extend our life. People who have dogs are less likely to have a heart attack. If they have a heart attack they are three or four times more likely to survive it.

A border collie in Austria near Vienne understands over 340 words. That means she can correctly identify 340 items in a pile! She can also recognise new objects from just images shown.

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