Sensing emotions

The truth about dogs
 
The social systems of dogs and humans are very similar in structure. We both live in tight-knit families (or packs). We both have a complex language of facial expressions, body posture, and vocalizations that promote bonding. Dogs have learned over many centuries that the better they anticipated our thoughts and feelings, the more they were rewarded with food, shelter and affection.

Dogs have little to do all day other than sleep or observe our behaviour, so it's no wonder they know us so well.  “Is she happy?” your dog might wonder. “Is she mad? Should I run for cover?” With their fates so tied to our every whim, our dogs are wise to monitor our moods. A good mood might mean an extra cuddle or a game of fetch. A bad mood might mean scary loud noises and a day spent hiding under the bed. It makes sense that dogs would watch us so closely, as our changing moods give essential clues as to what is about to happen next.

Your dog is probably a far better observer than you are. We humans pay so much attention to language that it often interferes with our ability to see, smell, touch and hear what’s actually going on  around us.

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?

Burying bones is another typical dog behaviour, like when dogs sniff or wag their tail. This behaviour is instinctive and goes back millions of years. It’s a food-saving technique and strategy,  that all dogs are born with. Before dogs were domesticated this was often a necessary behaviour to ensure that they’d have adequate nutrition during times of prey scarcity.

Do dogs sweat?

A dog's body temperature is controlled by their brain. When there are increases in outside temperatures, or a dog gets excited, stressed, or they have simply been exercising, their body gets a signal from their brain to lose the extra body heat. In humans, this usually results in sweating.

Dogs do have some sweat glands, but considerably fewer than in humans, and their skin is covered in fur which minimizes the amount of cooling that sweating can provide.

Most of a dog's sweat glands are located around their paw pads. You may have seen damp footprints from your dog when they have walked across a hard surface in the summertime.

Have you ever wondered why some dogs like to bring us gifts during greetings?

Gift giving does not happen with every domesticated canine, but for those dogs that do exhibit this behaviour, it’s just so endearing.  I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like their beloved pet missed them while they were away, so much so that they had to celebrate your return with a present?  Even if that present is an old smelly sock you left lying around.

Raising the hackles

Although dogs tend not to communicate to much with their hair, you can discern some things from it.

First or all a scared or stressed dog is likely to shed more of their hair than normal. You may have seen this if your dog gets nervous during visits to your veterinarian. After the examination, you, the vet and the table are covered with your dog’s hair.

Dogs may also stick up their hair to communicate how they are feeling, which is called “piloerection,” or more colloquially, “raising the hackles.” Although dogs hair is most often raised over the withers (the area where the tops of a dog’s shoulder blades meet), dogs can raise their hair all along their spine. Dogs raise their hair when they’re aroused about something. It’s comparable to a person having goose bumps. Raised hackles can mean that a dog is afraid, angry, insecure, unsure, nervous or wildly excited about something.

Scent marking

Dogs gather essential social information using their sense of smell, whether smelling other dogs directly or by sniffing their urine and faeces.

Marking serves as a way to claim territory, advertise mating availability and to support the social order. A dogs society is based on hierarchy, it's what they understand. They communicate age, gender and status within their packs via the pheromones in their urine. Both male and female animals can engage in marking behaviour.

A dog uses urine marking to help make a new environment smell like home, masking unfamiliar odours with their own scent.

In addition, marking functions as an efficient way to protect a dog's perceived space. It's much more efficient than physically challenging each interloper who approaches that space.

Paw and pad care

Pads provide extra cushioning which help protect your dogs bones and joints from shock, provide insulation against extreme weather, aid walking on rough ground and help protect tissue deep within the paw. With all that work to do, it’s no wonder your dogs paws take a bit of a beating. You can help you dog maintain their paws and pads by following these simple steps:

Dog teeth

Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lives. As puppies they have 28 baby teeth that start to break through their gums between 3 and 6 weeks of age. Puppies do not need to grind much of their food so they do not have molars. Puppy teeth begin to shed and be replaced by permanent adult teeth at approximately four months of age. Although there are some breed variations, most adult dogs have 42 teeth. Molars should start to emerge once your puppy reaches 6 or 7 months of age.

The order of tooth replacement starts with incisors, then canines (fangs), and finally premolars. The teething period can be a frustrating time for your puppy. Teething can lead to your puppy clamping it's teeth down on anything it can find, in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. Teething can be accompanied by drooling, irritability, and fluctuations in appetite.