Experts reveal what dogs are really dreaming about
Oh, to be asleep.
To ride on those most emollient waves that gently swaddle and soothe us against the aggressive mundanity of reality. To clamber atop the highest mountain, and swim beneath the deepest seas, impervious to the day to day frustrations that so plague our waking moments.
Can there be any greater pleasure after a long, exhausting day than to slip quietly into a world of dreams?
Of course, not every night's sleep is so tranquil. Anyone who has experienced the spine-tingling horror of a night terror could tell you as much, and there are other nights when we might not dream at all, as we plunge into exhausted darkness.
While our understanding of human dreams, their function and what they say about the individual is ever evolving, we had - until now - perhaps consigned the dreams of our pets to more simpler confines.
You might have assumed, for example, that your pet dog is merely dreaming about running through endless fields, or chasing cats, and their own tail. However, according to People.com, a Harvard expert might have the real answer, and it is beyond your wildest imaginations.
Dr. Deirdre Barrett is a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School who has long been fascinated by dreams. Though maintaining that any assumptions made about the nature of animals' dreams are speculative, Barrett had the following to say about dogs' experience of dreaming;
"Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically. There’s no reason to think animals are any different. 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."
As for the meaning behind your pet's leg movements while they sleep, Barrett says;
"They may well be dreaming they’re running. Common sleep-walking doesn’t occur during dreaming sleep, but a much more vigorous “REM behavior disorder”— a spontaneous version of what Jouvet’s experiments did, is accompanied by dreams, so the more pronounced and fast the movements, the more likely they’re acting out a dream."
If you were concerned about the quality of your pet's dreams, or indeed your own, Barrett has some advice on that front, too;
"The best way to give ourselves or our children better dreams is to have happy daytime experiences and to get plenty of sleep in a safe and comfortable environment. It’s a good bet this is also best for pets’ dreams."
Naturally, dog owners everywhere are pretty excited - and somewhat overwhelmed - at the thought that their beloved best friends might actually be dreaming about them as they slumber peacefully. After all, I'd be willing to bet that many of those same owners have happy dreams about their faithful hounds every now and then, how nice it is to think that the feeling may very well be mutual.