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Do You Know Your Dog as Well as He Knows You?

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

How well do you know your dog? Is it as well as he know you? Turns out, your dog might know some pretty intimate details about you that you don’t know about him!


It shouldn’t come as a surprise since dogs’ noses are so powerful, but your dog not only knows your scent, but it might even make him happy! In a study published in Behavioural Processes, dogs in an fMRI machine had happy brain activity when they smelled their owners’ unique scent. While you might be able to smell your pup when he, well, smells, you probably couldn’t pick his smell out of a group of other dogs.


Dogs and people process body language differently in some ways, but both of us are pretty darn good at it. You know your dog: You can tell when he’s happy, when he’s excited, when he’s scared, when he’s unsure, and so on. You look at your dog’s overall body and posture, and make your assumptions from that. Turns out, dogs do the same thing to us—maybe even with much finer detail than we realize. (Has your dog ever dashed to the front door the second you simply thought about taking him for a walk? Pretty fine body language observation on his part!)


One thing you and your dog share? Facial recognition! Long thought to be unique to humans, a study published in Animal Cognition found that your dog likely knows your face as well as you know his. Just like you can pick out your pup in a crowded dog park or even at a breed-specific play date, he can do the same with you!

We understand each other in many of the same ways, with the exception of scent. No wonder dogs and people make a perfect pair!


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