A pet psychologist reveals what dogs dream about, but warns never to wake them up
Dr. Deirdre Barrett, clinical and developmental psychologist at Harvard Medical School, claims that dogs experience dreams similar to humans, and their owners probably also appear in them.
While dog owners hope that their dog has peaceful dreams, they accept that they will never really know what is going on inside their head. But a Harvard psychologist claims she has the answers we've all been looking for. Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard Medical School, published a study on what dogs dream about. She explained that dogs are likely to dream about their daily experiences, just like humans, which means they are more likely to be dreaming about their owners, reports British "Mirror".
She added: "People dream about the same things that interest them during the day, albeit more visually and less logically. There is no reason to think that animals are any different. Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their owners, it is likely that your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell, and pleasing or bothering you. While there's no way to know for sure what a dog is dreaming about, Dr. Barrett says they're probably dreaming about running when their paws or legs start twitching, or when they're interacting with another dog or human when they start barking.
She says that most animals have similar sleep cycles that humans go through light, deep and REM sleep stages. People dream during The REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement) dream, so it is assumed that then animals also dream. In humans, REM sleep usually begins 90 minutes after falling asleep and lasts between five and 15 minutes, with each cycle continuing throughout the night.
Dr. Barrett says owners can try to improve their dogs' dreams by exposing them to "happy daily experiences" and will provide them safe and comfortable environment for rest during the night. But when it comes to nightmares, the American Kennel Club advises owners never not to wake their dogs because it can aggressively to react to the person who wakes them up.
They added: "Not all human dreams are good. We conclude that dogs can have nightmares too. Those nightmares are hard to watch. It can be tempting to wake your dog up to comfort him, as you would with a child, but there are some risks associated with dog nightmares that you should be aware of."
"If you've ever woken up from a nightmare, you know it took you a while to remember where you were and who you were with. Like some people, dogs can react aggressively to a person who wakes them up. It can be dangerous, especially for children," they explain. "The best thing you can do for a dog you think is having a bad dream is to wait for your dog to wake up and be there to comfort him."