Ever Wonder What Do Dogs Think About?

When it comes to Man’s Best friend we often wonder what our furry little counterparts are thinking. So when asked what do dogs think about the answer is a great many things. Today we’ll be going over dog’s emotions, cognitive development and other brainy tid bits about our canines and how they process information. Let’s dig in!

A Dog’s Emotions

Dog Emotions

Photo from Pets4homes

Dog’s brains are similiar to a humans in many ways. Certain cirumstances create certain emotions. They can experience empathy and other human-like characteristics.

The love and effection your pet shows is processed in a very similiar way to the way humans brain process these emotions. It is important to understand just because a dog can display human-like emotions there is a limit when comparing.

An average dog’s intellectual state is that of a 3 year old. Even very smart dogs only said to have the mental compacity of a 5 year old. Because of this more complex emotions and critical thinking are never developed like a human’s mind would. Please note that the difinitive perceived age comparison is often debated. It is commonly agreed that dog’s can reach the mental capacity of a 5 year old human.

Dog’s Developmental Stages

We often praise our dog’s for having such loyality and eagerness to please. Some things that play into that is the dog’s quick emotional development. By the time your canine reaches 6 months old they have filled their emotional capacity. There is a little more to their emotional development and here is a great article with details on each stage of a dog’s development Developmental Stages of a Dog.

Dogs will experience love, anger, joy, excitement, fear, distress and contentment. This is the extent of your dog’s emotional capacity. The more complex emotions like contempt, shame, guilt and pride will not be part of your canine’s emotional repertoire.

Think about the last time you caught your dog digging into the trash or found their poop on the floor. When they look at you and cower we all assume they are feeling guilty about the mess (or messes). We over think their mental state in these instances. The truth is your pet is experiencing fear. Fear from them relating to the bad reaction from the mess they made. You can check this helpful article to learn more about this What you see is the dog’s fear of punishment.

Can Dogs Understand Us?

A dog’s brain is smaller than a human’s with less surface as humans have more folds. A large portion of the canine’s brain is dedicated to their sense of smell. Dogs have been an intricate part of our lives for around 30,000 years. It was around this many years ago when dogs were domesticated. Because they have been interacting with us for so long they have learned to understand us better than any other animal.

Can Dogs Understand Us?

Photo from Animal Planet

Early on dogs helped humans hunt and even protected them. This relationship has been going strong ever since. Many believe it is because of our relationship with dogs that mankind was able to thrive. Audio cues, body language and even smell are the tools they use to best interpret what we are trying to convey.

Your dog won’t be tapping you on the shoulder saying “Hey Jon I have to go to the bathroom…is this a good time?” anytime soon but there are subtle signals your pet gives you. Body language and sounds your dog makes shows you what they are trying to say.


What do dogs think? A lot of that is still a mystery. MRI’s and other data can only tell scientists so much about what a dog really thinks about. Emotionally dogs have quite a bit in common with humans. Though they are limited on the more complex emotions our dogs show more human traits than even we do at times. Their brains develop within 4-6 months and at best give them the intellectual compacity of a 5 year human.

Dog’s understand us quite well but sometimes have difficulty conveying to us their needs. Paying attention to the audio cues and body language of our dogs will help us better understand what they are trying to say. Thank you for reading and for all your Pomsky information be sure and check back with us at Pomsky Pals.