I don’t know about you, but I regularly wonder what my dog is thinking. When you invest so much time, energy and money into a pet, you suddenly begin to view them as a little person in your life. Suddenly you find yourself saying things like, “I can’t go out tonight because I promised Darcy we’d have a pamper evening,” or “Does the pub allow dogs?”, and just like that, your life changes.
It’s like having a baby, just without the late nights, dirty nappies and tantrums. Instead, you are responsible for a furry creature that rarely does as it’s told and is partial to chewing your slippers. However, unlike a baby, dogs are blessed (or cursed) with the ability to do certain things that humans simply cannot.
They may fool you with their drooling muzzle and hours spent snoozing, but dogs are actually incredibly intelligent…
1. They can detect diseases
Your canine companion has the ability to sniff out scents that the human nose is oblivious to. This phenomenal skill means that they can sniff out a juicy steak in your shopping bag, the aroma of another dog (traitor!) on your clothes and even cancer.
Yes, you read that right, dogs have been known to detect cancer in humans. In 2011, scientists studied a Labrador retriever who was successful in sniffing out colorectal cancer in 98% of stool samples and 95% of breath samples.
Watch them in action in this video…
As a result of this unique ability, ‘Medical Detection Dogs’ now exist. Their job requires them to alert their handler if they detect cancer or dangerous blood sugar levels in a human. They operate in a similar way to guide dogs for the blind, deaf and disabled, as well as the dogs who work for the authorities, such as the army dogs who seek out bombs and the police pooches who find drugs, traces of blood and corpses. Smart, huh?
2. They can hear things you can’t
Your dog may not look as though they can hear you when they are snoozing on the couch, but don’t be deceived as they can actually hear you loud and clear. The same goes for when you’re out on a walk and they run off, they can hear you as you scream their name, they just choose not to.
To put this into technical terms, dogs can hear up to 46kHz, which essentially means that their ears can pick up high-pitched frequencies. For example, if you were to rub your fingers together, you’d create a friction which in turn releases an ultrasonic noise that your dog can hear quite clearly at a considerable distance.
There is some suggestion that this ability even makes it possible for dogs to hear paranormal activity. No wonder Scooby-Doo was so good at solving mysteries!
If you think that’s impressive, wait until you hear this…
3. They can preempt natural disasters
There are few natural disasters in history that could rival the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The magnitude nine quake completely devastated large areas of Southeast Asia, India and Africa, killing an estimated 280,000 people.
Striking the day after Christmas, the waves claimed the lives of innocent holidaymakers who were obliviously sunning themselves on exotic beaches. With no pre-warning that the tsunami was soon to head their way, these people became clueless victims, which is what makes the event even more tragic.
However, whilst the humans were oblivious to the danger they were soon to be in, the animals in the area knew. In the days before the gigantic waves hit shorelines, elephants reportedly became extremely vocal and charged for higher ground. Meanwhile, dogs refused to go outside and flamingos abandoned their nesting areas. Whilst thousands of humans lost their lives, there were very few animal casualties.
Many attribute this to an animal’s sixth sense.
For centuries it has been believed that animals have a particular ability to sense certain situations. Whilst there is no scientific evidence to support this, there is evidence to suggest that the animal’s behavior during the tsunami was the result of their highly-sensitive hearing.
4. They can feel things we can’t
Whilst there is no scientific evidence to prove that dogs can sense things we can’t, it would seem that they have a knack for preempting a problem.
For example, many years ago I remember taking my dog for a walk. I was only young, but I’d watched enough horror movies to know that if my dog won’t go somewhere then I probably shouldn’t too.
So when my dog refused to walk into a wooded area, I abandoned my plan and took a detour. When I returned home, I told my grandad about the weird antics of the dog. It was then that he told me the wooded area I’d tried to walk through had once been the scene of a great battle in which 1,000 men had lost their lives in the year 1642. Did the dog know that? Of course not, but it certainly sensed something that day.
5. They can see things we can’t
With that spooky story in mind, it’s now time to tell you that dogs may be able to see ghosts. You probably knew this already, for all dog owners have at some point watched their dog suddenly leap up from a nap as if they’ve just been poked by an invisible entity.
At other times they’ll bark at things that aren’t there or act uncomfortable in a particular area. It’s frightening behavior that can often lead you to assume your house is being burgled, or that there is danger ahead – even though it’s likely to be perfectly safe.
6. They need your help on hot days
At 38°C, a dog’s normal body temperature is a whole degree higher than a human. This is a result of their warm blood and quick metabolism. This ultimately means that on hot days, your dog may experience more discomfort than you. Thus, it is very important to never ever leave your dog in a car on a hot day!