During a Miami dog training session the other day, a cue little boy asked me if dogs dreamt. It caught me off guard because I thought it was universally obvious. “Why of course they do” I answered and luckily he did not grill me for scientific proof on the spot. He was only eight after all. I asked him, “Does your dog snore?” He laughed and nodded yes. I asked how he knew that for sure. He said, “Because I hear him at night!” Too which I replied, “Well, it is the same as when you are watching your dog twitch, bark, run, eyelids flutter and whine in their sleep. You can see him dreaming.”
How often do you catch your pup running in place or barking while asleep? I know I catch my dogs playing, running, barking, and having a grand ole time all while asleep or at least lying down with their eyes closed. Scientific studies of a canine’s brain waves progressed recently and have become more popular topics. Recently a team of scientists analyzed a conscious dog’s brain waves while the dog was awake in an MRI machine.
The results were fascinating in that researchers are now able to pinpoint exactly where in the brain dogs think, learn, feel and dream. This is just preliminary research but with time we should know more about how and what a dog thinks during different cognitive cycles. More importantly, soon we’ll know what the process is and what the limitations are in the cerebellum. Sometimes dogs are more visceral then cerebral animals, which is also probably why I and so many people love them so much. Less thought and more feeling, that’s what dogs do best and some of the reasons that make them so special.
So can a dog dream? Well, in my humble opinion yes, of course they can dream, just as you and I do. Perhaps they are dreaming of a tennis ball, a stuffed Kong toy that you are giving him/her for dog training, or a romp in the dog park with some friends, but as Bob Dylan said “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows”. What they are dreaming about, will tantalize and intrigue us until dogs speak, but that may be a while. In the meantime, if you see your dog dreaming, they are, and I would no sooner disturb their dreams and wake them up then I would my partner or best friend. Sitting back, admiring and loving your dog for who they are is awesome enough. Dream on beautiful pups, dream on.
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