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5 Incredible Things Dogs Sense About You

  • a Care2 favorite by Katie Waldeck
5 Incredible Things Dogs Sense About You

For centuries, people have been turning to their beloved pooches for affection and companionship. And for good reason — dogs are incredibly perceptive and intelligent creatures. They may not understand the nuances of everyday life, of course, but dogs have an incredible ability to understand how their pet parents are feeling emotionally, and even physically. Indeed, they don’t call ‘em man’s best friend for nothing!

Continue reading to check out some of the amazing things that your canine friend can tell about you.

See Also: 10 Fun Dog Facts (Slideshow)

1. They Know if You’re Scared.

Heard something go bump in the night? Dogs can pick up on your fear, and will usually mimic your behavior. If you’d like to alleviate your dog’s fear, you need to alleviate your own first! One exception, though, would be the several breeds that have been, well, bred, to be guard dogs.

Also Check Out3 Reasons Dogs Are Like Kids (Slideshow)


2. They Notice Inequality.

Dogs can tell if you’re playing favorites. Let’s say you have two dogs who both earned a treat for good behavior. If you give a treat to only one, the other will likely pick up on that, and believe she’s done something wrong. They can even stop cooperating all together. Perhaps there’s something us humans can learn from this!

Related: 9 Reasons to Love Mutts


3. They Know Whether or Not You’re Paying Attention.

Any pet parent with a sneaky pooch knows this one is totally true! The science backs it up, too: studies have shown that dogs are perfectly aware whether or not there are any people around, and will behave accordingly. Even the most well-behaved dog on the block can’t risk temptations when no humans are around to scold them.

Earlier: Modern Dog Bowls for Stylish Pups


4.  They Can Tell if You’re Sick.

Dogs have long been prized — and put to work — for their keen sense of smell. Their noses are thousands of times stronger than the average human! Just as dogs are trained to sniff for drugs or explosives, dogs have also been successfully trained to pick up on the extremely subtle scents our bodies give off when we have cancer. Other dogs have been trained to alert their pet parents when they’re about to have a seizure minutes or even hours before an attack will happen– though it’s not entirely clear if this skill is related to dog’s sense of smell.

More: Which Pets Improve Children’s Health?


5. They Know If You’re Sad.

Does your dog somehow know just what to do when you’re not feeling so happy? You’re not imagining it — studies have shown that dogs can pick up on your sadness and are more likely to approach you. One such study placed two people, one crying and one quiet, in a room. Almost all of the dogs approached the crying person, and most of those did so with submissive body language — even if the crying person was a stranger to them. Researchers, though, aren’t entirely clear on whether this means that dogs fully understand empathy.

More Slideshows:
Top 10 Small Dogs (Slideshow)
Top 3 Dog-Like Cat Breeds (Slideshow)
What Does My Dog’s Breed Say About Me? (Slideshow)

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cute Pet Photos, Depression, Dogs, General Health, Health, Humor & Inspiration, Mental Wellness, Pets,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
8:36AM PDT on Oct 8, 2015

I'm sure animals have empathy and no doubt at all that they have feelings. Let's not "humanize" them too much, though, else I think we run the risk of misunderstanding them (e.g. those horrible "guilty dog" vids on Youtube some people think are cute, where the dogs are clearly displaying fear and distress).

10:28AM PDT on Sep 29, 2015

This is true for cats too!

8:50AM PDT on Sep 29, 2015

Most animal lovers know these things, but it's nice to have our theories backed up by an expert;)

3:26PM PDT on Sep 28, 2015

Dogs, and cats, too, are very sensitive beings.

5:25AM PDT on Sep 27, 2015

Thanks for the article

3:11PM PDT on Sep 26, 2015

Good article. Well written, Nice photos. AND all true.
Kindness toward animals is a core Baha'i teaching about the station and capacity of animals, who have senses and feelings.
“Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let the children try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests."

12:26AM PDT on Aug 13, 2015


8:36AM PDT on Jul 31, 2015

Dogs, in fact all animals, read body language like their ancestors in the wild. It's how they survived ~ or didn't if they weren't paying attention.

2:14AM PDT on Jul 31, 2015

Thanks for the article.

3:37PM PDT on Jul 4, 2015

Haha, I remember a Billy Connolly skit where he said there'd always be these big, shaven headed blokes with huge dogs called things like 'Kong' and the owner would say, "be careful, he can smell fear", and Billy retorting "I'm not surprised, I just sh*t myself!"

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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