Love dogs? So do we! They're loyal, they're loving and they're good listeners. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite, lesser-known facts about our beloved canine creatures, based on recently published research. This is just a taste of what you can learn by taking one of our dog courses if you’re interested in finding work with dogs.
1. Scientific studies have shown that dogs can understand our emotions
We already know that dogs can tell if you’re happy, sad or angry by looking at your face. But, according to studies carried out by the University of Lincoln, UK, and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, dogs use a combination of their senses to recognise humans’ emotions rather than just looking at their owners.
The trial, carried out on 17 dogs, showed that dogs could detect emotion by both listening to sounds and looking at facial expressions. We’re not just talking about super smart border collies, this is a trait adopted by dogs in general.
2. Dogs curl up at night for protection and warmth
This behaviour can be traced back to dogs’ primal survival instincts. Once fending for themselves in the wild, dogs would dig a nest and curl up in a ball to keep warm while they slept. If you’ve ever seen your dog scratching at the floor and going round and round in circles to find a comfortable position to sleep, it’s because of the way dogs have evolved. If they lie out flat - it might be because they're hot or they're feeling comfortable in their environment.
3. Sometimes the reason dogs tilt their heads to the side is because they’re feeling empathetic
Have you ever noticed a dog tilting its head to the side as you talk to it? This isn’t a coincidence. Studies have shown there’s several reasons why dogs do this while you are talking, and one of them is to be empathetic or to try to understand what you’re saying. Scientifically this is because of where a dog’s middle ear muscles are located - which is in the same location in the brain that controls head movements. If only humans were so attentive!
Alternatively, if they've got a long muzzle, it could be that they’re trying to see past their muzzle to get a clear look at our faces.
Note that a persistent head tilt has also been linked to a sign that a dog isn’t well.
4. Dogs feel jealous, too
Charles Darwin believed that dogs could get jealous, stating that ‘everyone has seen how jealous a dog is of his master’s affection, if lavished on any other creature.’ According to a study carried out by the University of California, it is actually true dogs can feel that distinctly human emotion: jealousy.
If you’re giving attention or praising another dog or even a small child, your dog can show aggressive behaviour towards the other dog or the child, demonstrating jealousy.
5. Labradors and French bulldogs are the most popular dogs in the UK
In the eighties, it was cocker spaniels. Now it’s Labradors and French bulldogs, depending on where you live. Reportedly, Londoners and dwellers in Wales and the North West favour French bulldogs. But the ever-beloved Labrador is consistently popular, even if it will gobble up all the Christmas ham while you blink.
In addition to this fascinating information, there’s so much more to learn about these loving animals. And there’s so much more to discover. The world of canines is an incredibly exciting and constantly evolving one where research is regularly being carried out, producing fresh and astounding revelations about man’s best friend. Sign up to one of our dog training courses or canine courses today and become one of the experts!