Watson explains dog mysteries

Watson here and I’ve been under constant scrutiny for the past few weeks. It seems that mom has been reading about pet behaviors, and since I’m the only dog in the house, she keeps a close eye on what is going on with me. Her latest kick is my sleeping habits.

I can tell her a lot about sleeping, because it is an activity I really enjoy. Yes, dogs sleep, between 12-14 hours a day, and during that time the sleep cycles from quiet to active every 20 minutes. About 75 percent of that time is quiet sleep, and the remainder is REM (rapid eye movement) or dreaming time.

So do dogs dream? Yes, scientists have confirmed that dogs dream just like humans. By comparing the brain activity of both, they discovered them to be the same. During REM sleep the body goes into a “sleep paralysis” so the only reaction you can observe is a twitch or whimper.

What do dogs dream about? I can tell you that most of my dreams involve running, swimming, and playing. I do bark occasionally when things get going but nothing too scary.

Another question is why do dogs ritually circle before settling in for sleep? Most dogs do the circling and theories abound. Some scientists think that it is probably an activity that marks the dog’s spot as his.

Others, including Dr. Paige Smith-Harrington, feel the behavior is wired into the dog’s brain from his ancestors. When dogs slept in the wild, they would choose a spot then walk round and round to flatten the grass and drive away snakes. The result was a nice, warm safe spot to sleep.

One other theory is that dogs turn to determine which direction the wind is blowing so that it’s easier to detect scents of predators while asleep. Actually, I don’t circle because I lay on the couch with dad who can watch for the predators. Whatever the reason, all this talk about sleep has made me sleepy. I’m going to take a cat nap. Sweet dreams!

XOXO Watson


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CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likeable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer. Contact me, jkwmil@outlook.com.


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