Humans and dogs have been side-by-side for centuries. There’s no question that our species’ have an unbreakable bond that is destined to endure many more centuries, if not millenniums, to come. Whether you own dogs or not, we’re sure that you’ve wondered what dogs really think of us at some point. Dogs seem to be the most genuine of animals, and it’s usually a “what you see is what you get” situation with them.
They do have impeccable instincts, and funnily enough, sometimes they’re able to judge people and situations better than us. So, do they think that we are dogs too? Or do they recognize us for what we really are?
The short answer is no.
Did you know that dogs can be as intelligent as a two to three-year-old child? Yep, the smartest dog breeds, like the border collie, poodle, and golden retriever, are surprisingly smart. This level of intelligence is exactly why they do not think that we are dogs.
How exactly do they recognize the fact that we are not dogs aside from instinct? It turns out that they use their sense of sight and observe our actions. That’s right! It’s because they are keen observers and ascertain that we do things differently.
When we’re born into this world, our cognitive function develops later on and so we rely on verbal cues, our sight, and scents through our noses to make sense of the world and interact with it early on. That’s the same thing with dogs, only that they stay reliant on verbal cues and scents their entire lives.
What do dogs see humans as? Based on the actions that they can and cannot do and on the things that we can and can do for them, they know that we are not canines like them. See how they look up to us and rely on us for a lot of things? Through their cute little hints, they tell us to feed them, open the door for them so they can get out, or cuddle with them because they’re anxious.
Dogs rely on their sight, and after growing up with us and spending a significant amount of time with us, they already know the patterns of our actions. Well, maybe not 100% of them, but we’re certain that they do know their hoomans very well.
The varying dog breeds actually prove this point further. There are hundreds of dog breeds. So, does this not confuse a chihuahua if they meet an American bully for the first time and this creature does not look like them? Would they think that it’s a different animal?
It turns out that no, dogs do recognize other dog breeds, studies find. That’s how an Alaskan malamute would recognize that a miniature pinscher is also a dog-like itself, even if they differ in size, color, and shape tremendously.
We did mention that dogs have impeccable instincts, right? Well, those instincts are aided by their heightened senses, and perhaps their sense of smell is their best asset.
As a matter of fact, dogs have 300M olfactory receptors and their noses are 40 times more powerful than ours. It is said that they can smell a scent that’s 20 kilometers away. No wonder they’re used for sensitive operations like narcotics or explosives detection as scent trackers.
The movies got this part right at least. This is how they know for sure that we are not dogs like them. Notice your dog’s gross habit of smelling your rear as well as that of other dogs? That’s not just some weird way of greeting someone, but also a way to gather relevant data about someone’s identity.
Rest assured that they already know yours and they know the scent of other dogs too and they don’t match. That habit, by the way, is also a way for them to ascertain if they’ve met this dog before or not.
That’s further evidence that scents register in their brains and their memories aren’t as short-term as thought. So, if they can remember the scent of another dog they’ve sniffed a month ago, they sure can remember and recognize your scent, and that you are not a dog but a human.
We’ve discussed how dogs used their sense of sight to recognize our verbal cues and also how their sense of smell helps them navigate the world they live in. But, we’d also like to point out how they use their unique sense of hearing to communicate with us.
New studies show that bonds go deeper between dogs and humans. It turns out that dogs recognize that a human’s voice is different from another dog’s bark. Studies show that the reward center of a dog’s brain lights up whenever they hear their owner’s voice as opposed to hearing another dog bark.
They know that it’s us and they know that they might be getting a treat whenever they hear our voices.
No, but it’s not actually hard to see why we would think so. Just take note that language is key to how we humans think and communicate. We read, write, and verbally communicate. Dogs don’t do that.
As mentioned above, they rely on their senses to survive and so it’s not possible for dogs to think that they are humans because they don’t think like us, to begin with.
What do dogs see humans as? They see us for what we really are. They are man’s best friends, after all.
They rely on their instincts, they rely on their heightened senses, and mostly, they rely on our bond. We may not be a part of the same species, but that won’t stop us from becoming family.