Have you ever wondered how your dog recognises you?
Can he recognise you because of the way you sound, the way you smell, the way you look; or maybe of all the above? Then read on...
For social creatures, such as dogs, who share their lives with humans, dogs, and sometimes other animals too, it is vital to be able to tell one individual from another. However until recently, the aptitude for recognising facial features was assumed to be something that only humans and possibly primates had.
Further research took place recently, and Gregory Berns, a Neuroscientist at Emory University was able to announce: “Dogs have an innate way to process and recognise faces.” Berns adds: “Evidence shows that dogs have a face-selective brain area in their temporal lobe located in the cerebral cortex.” Gregory, you clever devil!
Having a brain equipped with such a wonderful “device” suggests that this ability is hard-wired in the dog through cognitive evolution, and helps us understand why dogs can read our emotions so accurately.
Emory University carried out more research, as they wanted to know whether that response is learned or innate. Research made it clear; if the dogs’ response to faces was learned – by associating a human face with food, for example – you would expect to see a response in the reward system of their brains, but that was not the case.
Another study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland, set out to examine facial recognition in domestic dogs, using pictures of faces. They discovered that dogs are more interested in the faces of other dogs than human faces. However, dogs who live with humans are more responsive to human faces than dogs living in kennels, and are more observant of familiar rather than unfamiliar human faces. Incredible! (Although not that surprising)
We have been trying to explain how the Dog has evolved to become our oldest and best friend for many years. For example we also found out that the dog’s brain responds better to the scents of human belonging to the dog’s family (the clan odour) or to another known dogs, rather than to the scents of others.
So here we have it, this wonderful skill is one we also share with our best friend: The Dog! Dogs have indeed incredible social skills, not just with their humans and doggie friends but with other species too.
Dog and humans have been cohabiting for many many years; and some even say that the Human race would not have evolved the way it has if it was not for the help, and constant support of the Dog.
I would love to show you how to understand your dog better, as well as helping you with any kind of behaviour problem your dog may have. Contact me today.