As the saying goes, the dog really is man’s best friend. After all, they have co-existed alongside us for thousands of years and have become one the most popular types of household pets. However, it may surprise you to learn that your canine companion is a lot more similar to you than you probably realize.

Dogs have been shown to be able to read facial expressions, pick up on emotional climates and reflect them back at their owner, communicate jealousy, display empathy and even watch television.

Here are some of the most surprising ways in which your dog shows human characteristics.


Dogs have a reputation for being loyal, but few people realize exactly how far this trait goes. A number of studies have been conducted that show that dogs are more inclined to favor strangers that they have seen being helpful to their owner. During one particular example, a container was given to the owner. The owner then tried to open it and couldn’t, and so passed it to one of two other adults – one of which helped, and one of which refused. When it came to offering treats, the dogs were significantly more inclined to take the treat from the person that had helped their owner, than the person who had refused.

Speak Our Language

While dogs may not be able to speak back to us, they can understand plenty of what we say to them. Basic commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ may be a given, but many dogs are able to learn their own names, other members of your family, and even inanimate objects. Back in 2010, New Scientist reported on a remarkable border collie that had been taught the names of more than 1000 different items.

They Get Jealous Too

Your canine companion wants to be the center of your world. That means that in those moments where you are giving attention to another animal in your home, or even another human, your dog may do everything in their power to get you to notice them. A member of our team has a chocolate Labrador, and every time she holds hands with her husband, her dog tries to separate them by pushing his nose in-between them! Clearly, some canines do not like to share the love!

They Can Play Tricks On Us

Dogs know how to wrap us around their tail and get what they want from us, and they aren’t above a little subterfuge to do so! They will also trick each other if they think there is something better on offer, for example, pretending there is something interesting going on outside to pique the other dog’s interest, then running back inside and grabbing the prime spot for sleeping!

One study showed that dogs have the ability to distinguish between different humans and adjust their behavior to deliberately mislead one if it means gaining a benefit from the other.

They Can Read Your Emotions And Behave Accordingly

Have you ever felt low and curled up on the couch, and your dog has come over and rested her head on your lap or legs? This is your furbaby interpreting your emotions and showing empathy.

In most instances, a dog will be able to adjust her behavior and mood to reflect yours. If you feel stressed, you may notice her pacing and seem restless. If you are excited, she may be more bouncy than usual. And of course, when you are feeling low, she will sense your sadness and try and show you that she is there for you by sitting quietly with you.

It is this very human ability that helps makes dogs such great companions for us. For more information about this and other pet concerns, contact us and our veterinary team will gladly assist you.