Dogs Your dog is a mind reader

Published on May 11th, 2015 | by Debbie Martin


Your Dog Is a Mind Reader: How Our Canine Friends Sense Emotions

If you have ever felt that your dog is a mind reader or is somehow sensing your emotions then maybe you were right after all.

You may have noticed that he looks upset when you are sick or hangs around close to you when you aren’t feeling too good. He may even run off and hide if there are arguments at home. So how does he know how you are feeling? The truth is that he isn’t a real mind reader but he does know how to sense your emotions.

Can They Read Our Minds?

Most of us who live with dogs wonder at some point where they can really read our minds. After all, this seems to be the only sensible explanation for how they seem to understand exactly what we are thinking at any given time. One possible reason for this is they simply have nothing they enjoy doing more than sitting and watching us all day long. If you think about it in this way it seems pretty easy to understand how they could tell when we are happy, sad or upset. Your dog knows very well that your current mood is very important to how you treat them and how much fun you have together. If they see that you are in a good mood then they are going to felt confident o getting some playing time later on, for example.

The Basics of Understanding Each Other

The starting point for understanding each other is to consider is that dogs and humans share a similar way of living in many ways. We both live together with our closest family members and look after each other. In addition, dogs and humans also share the ability to communicate using a variety of different, complex languages. These include vocal languages but also non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and body language, all designed to help us bond more and look after each other when necessary. Having lived with us for so long, dogs have learned how to interpret and understand much of the non-verbal human language we use. This has helped them to work out what we are thinking and feeling. Of course, this helps ensure that our canine friends can enjoy more affection from us, as well as food and shelter.

Dogs Are Great Observers

As we have just seen, it is through seeing us throughout the day that our canine friends are able to understand our moods and emotions so well. However, being next to us all day long wouldn’t be much use if they weren’t very good observers. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. In fact, it could be said that your dog is probably a better observer than you are. This is because humans often pay so much attention to spoken language that we neglect to see what is going on in the way that dogs do. Dogs also have highly advanced senses of smell, touch and hearing that help them to get a fuller picture of their surroundings and the current situation. Of course, you can’t see your own usual facial expressions and attitudes in the way that he does. If you could then maybe it would be easier to understand how much can be gained through simple observation.

The Importance of Body Language

It is commonly stated that the vast majority of human communication is made up of the non-verbal type. This includes the way we sit, the way we hold our head and our facial expressions. Dogs are excellent are reading our non-verbal communication. Look happy and he will probably come running over happily wagging his tail. Put on a display of sadness and he will probably come over to console you in any way he can. Dogs are particularly good at reading and understanding our facial expressions. Try putting on a few different exaggerated facial expressions and you will almost certainly seem him react differently to them. It has also been suggested that this could explain why dogs always seem to find the only person in the room who doesn’t feel comfortable around dogs. This is because they may sense the person’s tenseness or fear and misread it as being some sort of challenge.

Understanding Sounds

Your dog might not understand human spoken languages as well as you but he has more sensitive ears and can pick up a far wider range of frequencies. Many people are mystified by how their pet works out that they are getting home and are sitting there eagerly waiting for them. This is usually simply down to the dog being able to hear noises that we don’t always pick up. The jangling of your car keys or the sound of the gate opening are sounds our ear don’t always pick up but which dogs do. In the same way, they can pick up things we don’t even know that they hear when we speak. They know our tones of voice so it is easy for them to pick up on our feelings by hearing if we are angry, happy or sad.

Their Sense of Smell Helps

A dog’s sense of smell is about a million times better than a human’s. This means that they are able to put together a smell image in their brain that helps them to understand their surroundings. So how does this help your dog to understand what you are thinking and how you are feeling? Well, that is because he can pick up on subtle change in your scent that let him understand your current mood. This could be why dogs are said to be able to detect illness in people, as they understand when the chemicals in your body change. It might also explain how dogs can detect fear in humans or how seizure alert dogs understand when someone is about to have a seizure.


Your dog might not be able to read your mind but by using all of his other abilities he can work out pretty accurately how you are feeling and what is on your mind.

Tags: , ,

About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑