What Your Dog Thinks

What Your Dog Thinks

We can't read the minds of dogs, but from observing their behavior, we believe these are the things they probably think about most:

1. Other dogs. Whether it's the same or the opposite sex, dogs always seem interested in what other dogs are doing.

2. The Great Outdoors. Dogs are true nature lovers. I don't think I've ever seen a dog who didn't absolutely relish being outside, in good weather or bad.

3. Food. The overwhelming majority of dogs are domesticated, so they don't have to hunt for their food. Nevertheless, their primal urge and primary function seems to be to eat. And when they're not actually eating, I'm quite certain that they're thinking about it.

4. Humans. Dogs aren't called man's best friend for no reason. They crave the companionship and approval of homo sapiens. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that humans feed them, give them shelter, etc. Maybe they just like people. Go figure.

5. Running. While some dogs are born pointers, swimmers, retrievers, or setters, and most of them spend a lot of time just lying around, they're probably thinking about running while they're lazing about, eating, looking cute, getting groomed. I can easily imagine a dog chowing down and thinking, "when I'm done with this, maybe a little nap and then a nice run."

6. Adventure. Dogs are born thrill-seekers. To them, just about anything is a reason to get excited, be it as simple as a ride in the car to the store or somebody new at the front door. Always on the lookout for new highlights in life, dogs have an uncanny knack to make everything and every day seem exciting and new. Many dogs, if left to their own devices will also simply wander off, to who-knows-where and for no good reason.

7. Language. Being around humans so much, dogs hear quite a bit of conversation. They're also bombarded by our TVs, radios, and various other communications devices. Most of the time, they seem to not be paying attention, but say something like "walk in the park" and more than a few dog ears perk up. Researchers say that dogs can understand and comprehend a human vocabulary of up to 2000 words, which is more than some people. Dogs are especially sensitive to tonality, as they are able to discern the moods of people from the tone in their voices. They're probably picking up a few of the words as well. With all the language going on around them, they're potentially pondering the meanings of expressions, like "rock on", "piece of cake", "meat market" and other colloquial expressions that are somehow outside their usual context.

8. Personal Grooming. Dogs are experts at getting dirty, but they also are usually pretty good about getting themselves clean. They lick, scratch, roll around in grass and do all kinds of little things to keep up their appearance. And while many dogs are skittish about taking baths, they really don't put up too much of a struggle. Usually, all you have to do is turn on a hose and they'll be happy to take a shower.

9. Can I bite that? The primary means of protection, aggression, communication, conveyance and nutrition is a dog's mouth. No doubt they have to learn what acceptable biting behavior is. Puppies will chew on just about anything, even people's hands, until they learn the object lesson of "the hand that feeds." Many dogs will chew on sticks, carry just about anything in their mouths, and will bite if need be to protect a human or themselves. Proper use of the mouth is something they must think about, probably more than we're aware.

10. Heroism. All dogs seek to do good and being a hero is part of their nature. Stories about dogs saving people are everywhere. It's simply part of being a dog, and while dogs probably don't think about it much, there's something running through them all that give all of them the potential to be the next Lassie or Rin Tin Tin.    

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