Twitching legs, flicking tongues, flapping ears….an occasional yip or growl. There is something extraordinarily entertaining about watching a dog in the throes of a dream.
“What do dogs dream about?” my husband asked me last night as we watched our little Italian greyhound’s paws madly paddling the air. My husband thinks I’m an expert on dogs—ha!—and since I’m not, I went to a trusted source of information: the internet.
It’s a good question, and since many people ask it, there is a wealth of information on the web, and there are a great many articles posted online. In Psychology Today’s 2010 article entitled “Do Dogs Dream?", Dr. Stanley Coren confirms that the resounding answer is yes! “During sleep the brain wave patterns of dogs are similar to that of people, and go through the same stages of electrical activity observed in humans, all of which is consistent with the idea that dogs are dreaming.”
The tell-tale signs of a dog dreaming are nearly identical to a human: irregular breathing, eyes roll back and move, and scientists believe that they may dream about something they have seen or done that day. So a dog could be dreaming about chasing a rabbit, swimming in the lake, running after a ball. It’s pretty fascinating when you think about it, and it suggests that dog’s brains are significant and complex. Although I believe animals are instinctual and not logical, and their thoughts may be much more simplistic than ours, this does not diminish the fact that a dog is a sensate, intelligent, and soul-possessing creature that has a lot more going on in their heads than we think. Just because they cannot communicate via speech, does not mean that they don’t have thoughts, feelings, and dreams.
Coren, Stanley. Psychology Today. 28 October 2010: Web. 4 April 2014.