For thousands of years, humans have turned to dogs for love and companionship. It should come as no surprise then that our favorite furry friends are, in more ways than one, more human than canine.
While you shouldn’t treat your dog as if he were human, we can’t help but note several ways by which they mimic and act like humans. We’ve highlighted five surprising ways below.
Humans have the tendency to seek out greener pastures in the pursuit of a better life or situation, and in a microcosmic way, so do dogs. When dogs bark their way out of your home and in the blink of an eye, want to be let back in immediately, they, too, are seeking greener pastures and testing the waters, so to speak.
Check if there are no underlying (yet simple) problems present such as insufficient access to food or drinking water, or a lack of attention. By ensuring you satisfy the needs of your furry pal, all his barking and eagerness to go out will be mostly limited to reasons like curiosity and excitement.
Dogs, just like small children, often present possessive behavior. When your dog sees other dogs or other humans getting preferential treatment – whether it's in the dog park or in your own multi-dog home – dogs will react in a similar manner to children. They will display behavior such as growling, refusing to cooperate, and many will push other dogs out of the way to catch your undivided attention.
To deter such behavior in your dog, a bit of training and practice will go a long way. Teaching your dog basic obedience and keeping to a routine, or even regulating your dog’s resources (rewards or treats) will curb any jealous behavior your dog may demonstrate, whether it is towards a new human or pet housemate.
Feeding your dog right, investing in high-quality dog food and following best practices for giving treats can also help, as studies have shown that nutrition affects your dog’s moods,behavior and stress resistance.
Dogs are hardwired to obey several key training commands. “Sit,” “kneel,” “roll over,” “come,” and several other key phrases have been used by dog owners the world over to create control, structure, and order for their canine companions. But, a Border Collie in South Carolina, U.S., has shown that dogs have the learning capacity of a three-year-old human.
Chaser, the Border Collie, knows a record number of 1,022 words. Not only does Chaser know the name of 1,022 things and commands, she can also categorize the named objects according to their respective functions and shapes. The knowledge Chaser has displayed regarding human language is greater than any non-primate has been able to display.
So go ahead, with a little patience, you can still teach your furry pal a few more important words and tricks for his own “human” vocabulary.
In a study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, researchers found that dogs live up to their moniker of being “man’s best friend.” Researchers found that dogs can recognize emotions and display learned behavior using sensory input across all five senses. The research found that dogs can create mental representations of both “positive and negative emotional states.”
Dogs can also react appropriately to positive and negative emotional states. Their ability to read nonverbal, auditory and olfactory cues, combined with emotional cues, enables them to react accordingly, similar to how humans would respond to such nonverbal cues.
Social interactions are central to how humans interact with those in our surrounding environment. Watching those who share our space is part of learning about those around us. At a glance, these non-interactive social cues help us determine who appears nice and who seems mean.
Dogs also appear to display this degree of moral alignment according to one study inthe journal Animal Behaviour. In the study, dogs were more inclined to favor actors who aided their owners, rather than those who displayed negative behavior towards their owners. Similar results have been observed in human infants.
The evolution of dogs as man’s best friend has led to particular characteristics that mirror the tendencies and complexities of human behavior. While this article only highlights five social cues that mimic human behavior, dogs have been noted to display many more. The knowledge gained from scientific research shows that our dogs don’t just resemble us in some ways, they also behave in a similar manner to us.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet's Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Origen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.