For human beings, recognizing familiar or familiar faces is a more or less simple task, facilitated mainly by our neurological development. But perhaps we have not stopped to think about how other animals, such as dogs, recognize those of the same species or other close beings. In this article, we give you all the details.
The dog and his senses
There is no doubt that the dog is one of the most faithful and inseparable pets. He will likely be the first to hear you come home and then receive your enthusiastically. It is known to all that the speed of recognition has to do with the beautiful smell of dogs.
You could say that smell is the most developed sense of dogs. An example is the number of olfactory receptors that they have: it is estimated that between 200 and 300 million, a considerable number if we compare it with the five million that the human being possesses. The smell of dogs, without a doubt, is one of their most reliable ‘tools’ when it comes to recognizing objects or people.
But it is clear that, apart from smell, hearing, and sight, they are also essential senses in canids. And it is precisely by combining smell and sight how dogs can recognize different people or animals.
How do dogs recognize us?
Regarding this issue, there are several studies and investigations that state that the areas that are stimulated in the cerebral cortex when a dog sees a face are the same as ours. This implies that dogs use their sight to discriminate between familiar and alien faces.
If we go further, there is scientific evidence that dogs use purely facial recognition: that is, they have to look at anyone’s face to know if they are known or not. In this sense, it has also been known that they have more difficulty discriminating faces when their owners have it covered. Perhaps it is in these cases when his advanced sense of smell comes into play.
Beyond mere facial recognition, dogs can also discriminate between the different expressions we can express. And, what is more curious, it is known that dogs prefer to see faces of beings of the same species before any other.
Do you recognize your canine relatives?
Once we have solved the ‘mystery’ of how dogs can recognize us, the next question is whether this ability is transferred to members of their canine family. And to answer this, we must turn, once again, to science and research.
The procedure began when puppies were placed in front of two adult female dogs, one of them the mother. The results showed that a high percentage of the time, the puppy preferred to approach and spend more time with his biological mother.
But what if the puppy grows and becomes an adult? To test whether this recognition was still valid, garments were impregnated with the smell of the biological mother and specimens of the same race and age. The result was positive again, since the juveniles – around two years old – continued to recognize their mother’s smell, despite being separated.
The biochemical mechanism behind this phenomenon is not yet well known, but it is undoubtedly one more proof that dogs can recognize their loved ones.