Your Dog Reads Your Mind..Sort Of

How and why your pet knows what you’re thinking

Huldah Nagel
Oct 1, 2019 · 3 min read
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Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Do you ever get the feeling that your pet knows exactly what you’re thinking? When you’re feeling down, your dog comes over to comfort you. Or when he knows you’re distracted, your pet takes advantage and sneaks off with your food.

If you’re frustrated, your dog knows and he won’t listen! Or if you are angry, often your pet will shut down. Even when you try to hide it from them. If you pet another animal, your pet knows you cheated on them.

How do they do it? Do your pets read your mind?

Though it seems like your dog is capable of reading minds, he isn’t. He is just really, really good at picking up on cues.

Dogs communicate primarily through the use of body language. Because of this, they can pick up on slight physical, bodily changes that indicate your mood. As in, posture. When you’re mad or frustrated, you get tense even if you don’t realize it. Your dog sees that. When your eyes shift, so do the eyes of your dog — right to what you’re looking at.

Not only that, but dogs have a keen sense smell. Dogs that are trained to help diabetics can do so because their keen sense of smell allows them to pick up on chemicals that are released with the change of blood sugar levels. Or ever notice that you sweat when you get scared or nervous? Yep, you get smelly. Your dog knows.

Dogs also have a keen sense of hearing. When your voice goes high around a cute puppy? Your dog knows. She KNOWS you’re thinking about adding another puppy to the family. So she noses in and tries to distract you away from that idea.

And if the above list isn’t enough to explain why your dog know what’s going on before you do..dogs are also great at picking up on situational cues. I can snap my finger at my dog and it can mean several things; come, sit, lay down, roll over. It depends on what the situation is. She needs no other guidance. She just knows.

Unless you put a conscience effort into controlling it, your body naturally and instantaneously reacts to your emotions in various ways. That is what your dog reads. So if you want to keep secrets from your dog, don’t react.

Don’t grab the leash and go all happy, baby voice on your pooch. He knows you’re taking him to the vet. And don’t train when you are frustrated. Doggy knows and will not respond, either because she knows you’re aren’t in the mood to stick to your guns or because she thinks it’s her fault and will shut down.

So, no: your dog doesn’t actually read your mind. But it’s basically like he does.

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