How can dogs recognize their family members?

dogs recognize

For humans, recognizing family members or familiar faces is a more or less simple task, primarily facilitated by our own neurological development. But perhaps we have not stopped to think about how other animals, such as dogs, recognize those of the same species or other close beings. In this article, we give you all the details.

The dog and his senses

There is no doubt that the dog is one of the most faithful and inseparable pets. Your dog will likely be the first to hear you come home and then receive you enthusiastically. It is known to all that the speed of recognition has to do with the sharp smell of dogs.

You could say that smell is the most developed sense of dogs. An example is the number of olfactory receptors that they have. The smell of dogs, without a doubt, is one of their most reliable ‘tools’ when it comes to recognizing objects or people.

But it is clear that, apart from the smell, hearing, and sight, they are also important senses in dogs. And it is precisely by combining smell and sight how dogs can recognize different people or animals.

How do dogs recognize us?

Regarding this issue, there are several studies and researches that state that the areas that are stimulated in the cerebral cortex when a dog sees a face are the same as ours. This implies that dogs use their sight to discriminate between familiar and alien faces.

If we go further, there is scientific evidence that dogs use purely facial recognition: they just have to look at anyone’s face to know if they are known or not. In this sense, it has also been known that they have more difficulty discriminating faces when their owners have it covered. Perhaps in these cases, his advanced sense of smell comes into play.

Beyond mere facial recognition, dogs can also discriminate between the different expressions. And, what is more curious, it is known that dogs prefer to see faces of beings of the same species before any other.

Do Dogs Recognize Their Parents?

Once we have solved the ‘mystery’ of how dogs are able to recognize us, the next question is that do dogs remember their Siblings? And to answer this, we must turn, once again, to science and research.

The procedure began when puppies were placed in front of two adult female dogs, one of them the mother. The results showed that a high percentage of the time, the puppy preferred to approach and spend more time with his biological mother.

But what if the puppy grows and becomes an adult? To test whether this recognition was still accurate, garments were impregnated with the smell of the biological mother and specimens of the same race and age. The result was positive again since the juveniles – around two years old – continued to recognize her mother’s smell. 

The biochemical mechanism behind this phenomenon is not yet well known, but it is undoubtedly one more proof that dogs are able to recognize their loved ones.

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