What dogs know
I’ve decided the time has come to look a bit closer at our friends the dogs, and ask the question what do they actually know? It’s a funny thing being a dog trainer, having worked with thousands of dogs and their owners over the years; I have seen everything from the simply sublime and amazing to the absolute ridiculous. I should add that I always do my best not to judge, simply to observe and offer my point of view. However I certainly get to see some strange and rather funny things.
Some amazing stories
From the lady who claimed her dog would only eat his food if she sang to him, to the dog that slept between the husband and wife and growled if the man got too close! Funny things side though, I have also been witness to, and been told of, many interesting stories that make you start to wonder what dogs really know. Here are just a couple that spring to mind.
- The lady whose dog knew that she was pregnant before she realized. After a trip to the doctors it turns out she was around 2 weeks pregnant.
- Many people have told me about how their dogs have raised the alarm about a strange area of skin only to discover much later that it was cancerous. One person was even tested by a scanner to be told not to worry. The dog continued to lick the area and after much discussion and years later a second scan produced a positive result. It appeared that the dog had known long before the scan could detect the cancer.
- “Dogs who know when their owners are coming home” is a fascinating book about exactly that. Written by Rupert Sheldrake it looks at the fascinating ability of dogs to predict when an owner is planning to return. I myself have experienced this and met many people whose dogs also seemed to have this ability. This is not to be confused with dogs who hear, see or smell their owners from a long way away, the tests showed that it is at the point that the owner intends to come home that some dogs know.
- On a personal level it blew me away how my dog Inca knew one day that I was very sick. On the morning in question I was aching and could not move so was lying still in bed. Inca walked into the bedroom where I was lying motionless on the bed and within a split second jumped up and curled down next to me as if it was the most natural thing to do. Jumping on the bed was usually completely out of bounds however today it was like there were new rules. I had said nothing, did not move, or look at her; she simply walked in and knew what was needed straight away. Taken aback by her care and her knowledge it lifted my spirit no end and rather than push her off I cuddled her for a long period of time. It was my way of saying to her, “Yes you are right I am in a very bad way and I am in need of your love”. I knew that it would not start a bad behavior and she has never jumped up ever again since that occasion.
These are just a few of the things that make me wonder just what do dogs really know and understand. Sometimes I think that they know far more than we do. The difficulty that they have is that they do not speak and can’t write, the two easiest ways of communicating with a human. Sometimes to understand a dog you have to go deep into your heart and feel what it is they are trying to say, and very often when you go with your gut feel, you’ll find you are absolutely right.
The problem that we have is that we have almost no way of measuring what dogs can sense, feel or know because we do not understand it fully. We are only now starting to realize just how powerful their noses are! As science continues to advance, and we learn more about man’s best friend, we will slowly start to get the picture and maybe…
One day we may start to understand what dogs know. 🙂.
For more information on how to connect with your dog and how to get him to calm down and focus on you when it matters most, I encourage you to check out how I’ve trained over 77,000 dogs here!
Got any great stories about how amazing our canine friends are?