What Do Dogs Really See When They Look At Us?


Have you ever caught yourself lost in your furry friend’s eyes, wondering what they see when they look back at you? While we humans are drawn to faces, a study in 2020 suggested that our pups might not share the same interest. What? How can that be?

Human vs. Doggy Vision

Dog vs human eyes
Image credits_ Canva.

We’re captivated by faces and expressions, but do our canine companions feel the same? Research shows that while we’re wired to seek out faces, dogs might not be as impressed by them.

The Study Setup

dog in MRI machinedog in MRI machine
AI Generated Image Created by Robin Jaffin via Shutterstock.

Imagine dogs lying like little sphinxes in an MRI tube, trained to watch a screen. This is how researchers in Hungary and Mexico set out to understand what stimulates dogs’ brains when they see faces.

What the Dogs Saw

lhaso apso dog upside down lhaso apso dog upside down
Photo credit_ PicsbyFran from pixabay via Canva.

Our four-legged friends were shown quick clips of the front and back of human and dog heads. It was a canine cinema experience designed to peek into their minds!

Human Brains Light Up

brain scan illustrationbrain scan illustration
Photo Credit_ geralt from pixabay via Canva.

Just like in previous studies, human participants showed significant brain activity when presented with faces. It seems we’re hardwired to pay attention to who’s looking at us!

Dogs’ Brains: Not So Much

Dog brainDog brain
AI Image Created in Shutterstock by FODMAP Everyday®

The dogs’ brains told a different story. The vision-processing areas were unmoved by faces, not showing any preference for the front of the head over the back.

What Captures a Dog’s Attention?

Close up dogs eyesClose up dogs eyes
Photo Credit_ YamaBSM from pixabay via Canva

Interestingly, dogs’ brains lit up more to the life form in the video rather than the angle of the head. It seems the species on the screen mattered more than the face itself.

Brain Responses vs. Behavior

Dog looking at personDog looking at person
Photo Credit_ Dayvison de Oliveira Silva from Pexels via Canva.

It’s important to note that brain activity doesn’t always match behavior. Just because dogs’ brains don’t light up doesn’t mean they don’t recognize or care about faces in their own way.

Canines Recognize Facial Cues

Young woman looking at dogYoung woman looking at dog
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Other studies have shown that dogs are indeed adept at reading facial expressions. They can pick up on cues and emotions, so don’t stop smiling at your pup just yet!

The Canine Cognition Puzzle

dog giving her pawdog giving her paw
Photo Credit_ Leon Natan from Pexels via Canva.

Each study adds a piece to the puzzle of canine cognition. We’re learning more about how dogs perceive the world, even if we can’t yet fully grasp their experience.

The Mystery Continues

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Shutterstock_1951301203-Photo-credit_-Dean-Drobot-via-Shutterstock

While we may not know exactly what goes on in our dogs’ minds, the bond we share with them is undeniable. As we continue to study and learn, the mystery of our dogs’ inner lives only deepens our fascination with them.

But Love is Love Regardless

cavalier king charles spaniel dogcavalier king charles spaniel dog
Photo Credit_ PicsbyFran from pixabay via Canva

So, next time you’re gazing lovingly at your dog, remember that while their brains might not process faces like ours, the connection you share is unique and special. Dogs may not be as visually drawn to faces, but they certainly respond to the love and care we show them. Keep cherishing those tail wags and affectionate looks – they mean more than we might realize!

Save Your Dog’s Life by Avoiding These 12 Foods

Pug with popcorn.Pug with popcorn.
Photo credit: Damedeeso via Canva.

Our dogs bring so much to our lives, and we spend time every day walking them, feeding them, and generally addressing their well-being. But did you know that some commonly found foods – that might in your kitchen or somewhere your dog can reach, right now – could be deadly for your pooch? Here are 12 foods you should never feed or allow your dog to accidentally ingest.

To be prepared, keep the contact details of your local veterinarian, the nearest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) at hand.

Read: Save Your Dog’s Life by Avoiding These 12 Foods

The Pandemic Left These Animals Homeless – But Malls Have a Solution

White retriever dog pushing a woman with shopping bags in a cartWhite retriever dog pushing a woman with shopping bags in a cart
Photo credit: Canva

Animal shelters are finding new homes for their furry friends in a place you might not expect – malls. As part of an effort to alleviate the burden of increased animal intakes during quarantine, malls across the US are offering empty storefronts to animal rescue groups for free or at a steep discount. The collaborations between malls and animal havens are gaining popularity and have been widely successful in finding homes for pets. Read: The Pandemic Left These Animals Homeless – But Malls Have a Solution

Pawsitive Impact: Can Pets Boost Your Health and Happiness?

dog on beachdog on beach
Photo credit: Jacob Gomez via Canva.

Love hanging out with puppies and kittens? According to the CDC there are myriad reasons why having pets improves our lives.

Thinking about adding a pet to your household? Already have a pet and wondering why they bring so much joy to our lives? Let’s look at the research. Read:Pawsitive Impact: Can Pets Boost Your Health and Happiness?

Why Veterinary Costs Are Soaring – and Half The Time You Can’t Even Get a Vet Appointment!

vets giving anaesthesia to dog.vets giving anaesthesia to dog.
Photo credit: UAN FIGUEROA via Canva.

Pet ownership continues to get more and more expensive!

According to an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 2023 review, 38.4% of households in the United States own a dog, and 25.4% of households own a cat. That translates to 65.1 million households with dogs, and 46.5 million with cats, and our animals require veterinary care. Many animal owners are experiencing sticker shock at the vet’s office – and even difficulty accessing a vet as well. Here are the reasons why.

Read: Why Veterinary Costs Are Soaring – and Half The Time You Can’t Even Get a Vet Appointment!

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