Dogs are known to be the closest and most faithful human companions. With such a strong bond, it’s no wonder that you’re the center of your dog’s universe. He gives you all his attention throughout the day, making many dog owners wonder what dogs dream about? Do dogs dream about their owners?
You’ll be glad to know that your furry buddy is so much obsessed with you that he even dreams about you. Many studies have proved that dogs dream about their owners as they spent most of their time with them.
To know more about dogs’ dreams, read this post.
What Does Research About Dog Dreaming Say?
It’s not just a mere assumption that dogs dream about their owners. In fact, an expert proved it by experimenting with the dogs’ behaviour while sleeping.
According to Dr. Deirdre Barret, who serves as a teacher and a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School, says that dogs most likely dream about their owners. She says;
“Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically. There’s no reason to think animals are any different. Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell, and of pleasing or annoying you.”
She further adds that there is no way you can exactly know what your dog sees in a dream. But you can have an assumption based upon the everyday routine that he is dreaming about you.
Dr. Barret supported her claim with the past research. She said that they most probably dream about hunting as per the past research about cats. It’s because that’s the major thought in their minds when they are awake. Cats are not much attached to their owners. They like to have their own space as well. But dogs are different. They love playing and being around their owners.
How Are Humans’ And Dogs’ Dreams Similar?
With years of domestication, dogs have adopted many human behaviours. But they are similar to humans in their natural instincts too. One of these is their dreams are similar to humans.
Studies have shown that humans’ and dogs’ dreams are similar in that their daily routines mostly influence them. What they say or do is seen as dreams.
But this isn’t the only similarity between the human’s and dogs’ dreams. In addition to this, they have the same muscle mechanism too. The muscle mechanism stops our and the dog’s muscles from moving while sleeping.
But there are cases where the switch is weak and results in rapid eye movement (REM) disorder. This causes humans to act on the dreams they are having while sleeping.
The same happens with dogs. If the muscle switch isn’t strong, you’ll observe a dog running or snapping in a dream, sometimes even wagging their tail. If your dog is moving legs fast, he is most probably running in his dream. Moreover, puppies have a longer REM period than adult dogs and you’ll notice your puppy giving signs of dreaming much more frequently until he’s older and has calmed down. Adult dogs have only 10-12 of their sleep time in REM.
Thus, humans’ and dogs’ dreams are very similar.
Does A Dog’s Breed Affect It’s Dreams?
Yes, somehow, a dog’s breed can affect dreams. Many studies reveal that how much and how long a dog dream depends upon his size.
Smaller dogs dream frequently, but larger breeds don’t dream often. But the dreams of small dogs are relatively shorter in duration than the large dogs.
Moreover, as you know, dogs’ dreams are based on their daily experiences. Different breeds keep them involved in different activities. So, they will dream about different things too.
For example, if you have a Labrador Retriever, you can expect him to dream more about catching a tennis ball than a Pug. If your dog belongs to a short legs breed and sees himself in water, you can observe that he is afraid of something during REM sleep. However, if swimmer breeds have the same dream, the pleasure will be exhibited during the REM sleep.
Do Dogs Have Nightmares?
Yes, dogs can have nightmares. Like humans, nightmares are not what your dog will easily overcome. He’ll wake up scared and can become aggressive too sometimes. As you need some time to calm yourself after a nightmare, similarly, your dog will need it too. It’d be best not to disturb the dog during this period as he might attack you due to aggression and fear.
As you know that like humans, dogs’ dreams are also related to their daily routines. Dr. Deirdre Barret provides some practical advice that dog owners can follow to ensure that their dogs dream only of the good things.
“The best way to give ourselves or our children better dreams is to have happy daytime experiences and to get plenty of sleep in a safe and comfortable environment. It’s a good bet this is also best for pets’ dreams.”
Your bond with your dog is also important to allow him to sleep calmly. If you’re an abusive owner who punishes him frequently, he might have nightmares often because, as said before, dogs dream about their owners most of the time.
So, make sure you raise a happy and healthy dog.
When your dog is so attached to you, it shouldn’t surprise you that he dreams about you. Yes, studies have shown that dogs dream about their owners.
Their dreams, like humans, are based on their daily experiences to a great extent. Moreover, they experience the same things that humans do during sleep. It includes the REM sleep period, during which both humans and dogs act the thing they see in dreams.
Your dog’s dreams are oriented to its breed to a great extent. Smaller breeds dream often, but their dreams are short. On the contrary, larger breeds dream less, but their dreams are longer.
Like you, your dog can also have nightmares. Make sure to provide him a comfortable place to sleep and don’t punish him. All these things can be a reason for nightmares. A happy pup enjoys a healthy, peaceful sleep.