We’ve all seen our furry friends twitching their noses, moving their legs like they’re running, and even barking softly while they sleep. After a fun day playing at the beach or in the yard, it’s easy to imagine what they might be dreaming about.
But what you might not know is that, according to new research from Harvard psychologists, your dog is probably dreaming about you – their beloved human, the most important person in their world.
Dr Deirdre Barrett, who studies how animals and humans sleep at Harvard Medical School, did a lot of research on how dogs sleep. She thinks it’s pretty likely that dogs dream a lot like we do. They dream about things they experience every day, just like us.
Sometimes, their dreams might seem kind of weird and imaginative compared to what really happens. Experts think dogs dream more with their imagination and emotions rather than logically, focusing on things they care about and find exciting.
As Dr Barrett explains, ‘since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you.’
Humans and dogs have similar sleep patterns, which shows in the different stages of sleep they go through. Just like humans, dogs have deep sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep stages when they’re snoozing. Dogs dream during these REM sleep stages.
Both humans and dogs have something in their brains that usually stops them from moving during sleep so they don’t act out their dreams. But sometimes, this doesn’t work properly, and they end up moving because of their dreams.
If a dog’s brain mechanism weakens, you might get to see them dreaming. They might chase after a stick you threw for them or run through fields in their dreams. And when they dream, they often dream about you—your face and your smell—which makes them feel really happy and cozy.