We all know dogs. We are familiar with the pitter-patter of doggie feet on hardwood floors. We recognize the soapy, fresh scent of a recently washed pup, and we understand that scent will not last long. We know if it’s raining outside, the dog will inevitably want to rub her flank on the grass.
We know this all intuitively, but not empirically. And while some dog owners might say that what they know from observation is enough, others have dedicated their lives to better understanding what’s going on inside that canine brain of theirs. So, on this National Dog Day, here are some things research tells us about dogs:
- Some American studies (though not all) have found that black dogs and cats take longer to be adopted than those with different colored fur.
- In the United Kingdom, eight million dogs produce somewhere north of 1,000 tons of crap a day.
- Local agencies in England and Wales spend a total of “£22 million per year” on “dog waste collection” and related services.
- Some people have a phobia of dogs—cynophobia—which can be linked to historical use of dogs against African American communities.
- Dogs that solve a problem in order to access their treat wag their tails more than dogs that simply get treats.
- Dogs have the emotional life of a two- to three-year-old human child.
- A special part of your dog’s brain lights up when he smells you.
Happy National Dog Day. —Bettina Chang