A dog’s brain is far simpler than a human’s brain as it doesn’t have the capacity for speech.
The dog’s brain is similar to a human’s in that it interprets and analyzes information, the dog acts based on how he thinks the information should be processed.
Our brains are programmed to take in information through speech and process it, we also take in information based on expressions and learn to interpret that data. We learn later to read and use that data. For dogs, the process is similar. The dog takes in data, but he/she is programmed to interpret the data based on scent. He takes in other information based on his senses and learns to interpret that data.
Dog’s intelligence is in some part determined by genetic makeup. Some breeds of dogs are simply more intelligent than others.
The brain is made up of billions of neurons. It’s much like the brain of many mammals, with a cerebrum that controls learning, emotions, and activity. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls the muscles, and the brain stem controls the nervous system.
A dog’s senses feed into the brain and the nervous system. This network of cells throughout the brain controls instinct and learning. Sometimes there is a conflict between a dog’s instincts telling what he wants to do, and what we want the dog to do. This conflict is probably occurring in the dog’s limbic system. We can override their limbic system and resolve the conflict by giving the dog rewards for obeying its owner’s commands rather than obeying his “instincts”. That’s how you can use the dog’s brain, combined with reinforcement, to train the dog.
Dog’s Sensory Abilities
Dog’s have the same essential senses as human – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell – but their senses are much more highly refined than humans. These senses trigger sharp physical reactions in the dog.
Although a dog’s eyes are flatter than a human’s, they are more sensitive to light and movement. Dog’s have a greater ability to see things in their peripheral field of vision, which can be quite effective when training is combined with hand signals. Dogs are far better at picking up hand signals and cues that we would normally think are outside of the range of vision. However, dogs have a harder time finding objects directly ahead in their field of vision than people – it’s one of the reasons it’s sometimes easier for people to spot a tennis ball in the grass than it is for a dog.
Dog’s ears are quite sensitive to sound, far more so than humans. We’ve all heard of the dog whistles that sound at a higher frequency than most humans are able to hear, but are perfectly auditory to dogs. Dog’s ears are actually like scanning devices – one ear can focus on what is in the dog’s immediate environment, while the other scans for sounds farther away. A dog can hear four times farther away than a human can.
Touch is a very powerful sense in a dog in fact, it’s one of the first senses that a dog develops. A dog’s entire body is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings. A dog will detect subtle changes in air flow and of course is very responsive to touch from his master. A dog may find pets strokes around the collar or stomach to be a pleasant reward for good behaviour.
Taste and Smell
If you’ve watched your dog devour a meal or a treat, it may seem like eating is one of the most important parts of a dog’s life. Well, few pooches will turn down an opportunity for their favourite grub, dogs don’t have as acute a sense of taste as we assume that they do, in fact, a dog’s taste buds are less refined than a humans. Dogs are able to discern sweet, sour/bitter, and salty tastes, but that’s about the extent of their taste process. However, their sense of smell is far superior to humans. A major part of the dog’s brain is devoted to interpreting scents. Even part of their mouth is able to interpret scent.
If this article was of interest to you, you might also like to visit my other dog brain article:
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originally posted on my other blog: http://dogsforlifex.blogspot.com/2011/04/dogs-brain.html