Animal Behaviourist Dr. Jo Righetti discusses 5 things that dogs are far superior to humans at doing.
Dogs are born to sniff. It’s how they analyze the world around them. It’s how they say hello, as impolite as it may seem to owners!
It’s no wonder that dogs like to use their sense of smell, as the area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing scent is 40 times greater than that of humans, and dogs can identify smells at least 1,000 times better than we can! The dog’s superior sense of smell comes from 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose. Compared to humans' paltry 5 million, it’s no wonder smell is considered to be the dog’s primary sense.
Dogs are not only in tune with our routines, they are often one step ahead of us. They are first at the door for a walk, pulling us along as they strive for the next best smell. They love to chase anything that moves, fetch balls, wrestle with one another, jump up on visitors, or steal your slippers and run away before you can catch them. They wolf their food down, barely pausing to taste.
Living at a fast pace comes naturally to most dogs. This aids survival, helping them escape from any would-be predators or rivals, and a fast pace would also help them hunt – if that was allowed. We cannot convince dogs to sit in an armchair all day long, especially the more active breeds, so we need to think up suitable activities for them to use their energy. Then they are more willing to snooze alongside us.
People enjoy keeping dogs for the companionship they bring. Surely there is no other animal that makes a more faithful friend than our canine companion. Many dogs are so attached to their owners that they fret when left alone, suffering from separation anxiety. They may exhibit unwanted barking, whining, try to escape, or show inappropriate toileting or destructive behavior.
Dogs like to be with their owners. Given the chance, many will follow you from room to room, even sleeping with you if you let them. While this can be trying at times for owners, many of us enjoy that level of adoration and companionship.
Nobody welcomes you like your dog. Even when the rest of the family barely lifts an eyebrow at your return home, your dog greets you enthusiastically every time. Sometimes it only takes a 60-second trip to the garbage bin for your dog to greet you like you’ve been absent for months!
Some pooches even get a little over-enthusiastic in their greeting behavior - jumping up, sniffing crotches, and generally being over-the-top. It can help to put a leash on your dog or to teach them an alternative, acceptable behavior such as sitting or fetching a toy.
In a world full of judgmental people, and that can include your family and friends, it is very empowering to be accepted for exactly who you are. This is what your dog does. They do not care if you are having a ‘bad hair day,’ you’ve just lost your job, or your house or car is not the flashiest on the street. They love you. If only we could love as unconditionally as our dogs!