Things Dogs Do That Will Amaze You
Dogs and humans have evolved together for centuries, so it only stands to reason that there would be quite a special bond between the two.
Aside from obvious friendship, playtime and cuddles, dogs are capable of procuring some incredible (and incredibly helpful) skills. Of course, some of them come naturally, while others take a bit of training, but all are talents that are well beyond human faculties. And each one of them will make you want to get (or get another) furry, floppy-eared friend.
Here are just a few of the truly unbelievable abilities dogs have.
They Can Detect Cancer
Whether you’ve heard of people who personally had their dog act strange when they are diagnosed with the illness or you’ve been lucky enough to see a cancer-detecting service dog in action, this is a truly incredible ability.
It’s still unclear what these gifted dogs are specifically detecting. But the fact that they can sniff out cancer with accuracy means that there’s hope for finding even earlier detection for people who are diagnosed with the disease.
They Bring Comfort to the Sick and Elderly
Being in an elderly community or in a hospital isn’t exactly where people want to end up. While both places can have positive elements, a little four-legged friend wandering around can certainly brighten up any environment.
Just ask the residents of this lucky nursing home where a little teacup poodle has made it her duty to greet everybody every day.
They Bring Comfort to Traumatized People
Petting pups can be comforting and calming.
After major tragedies or experiencing a situation (or multiple) that gives someone PTSD, there are often teams of trained therapy dogs on hand and ready to give anyone who needs it extra love and affection.
They Can Help With a Panic Attack
Because they are so calm and comforting (not to mention often trainable and obedient), dogs are excellent helpers for people suffering panic attacks.
They can even be trained to detect when a panic attack may be happening to their owner — even if the owner can’t command them to help — and can provide warmth, companionship or sometimes weight on one’s chest to help them snap out of it.
They Can Cheer You Up
Dogs are great at helping people who suffer from any number of mental illnesses. While some issues require immediate help, others like stress and anxiety may require a soft and gentle reminder that you are not alone.
Many dogs possess the ability to naturally cuddle up when you need it most, but they can also be trained to help when you are not feeling especially like yourself.
They Can Rescue Drowning People
Any dog owner or dog lover knows that dogs love to keep tabs on you. Even the most independent personalities like to know where you are and what you’re up to. It stands to reason, then, that they also want to know that you’re safe.
Dogs that especially love to swim can be trained to take note of when someone might be in trouble and jump in to help out. They also have a keen ability to know when a critter in the pack might be in danger and may naturally help out without any training (though that doesn’t, of course, mean that you should let your dog ever be the only babysitter of your kid).
They Can Find Missing People
Some breeds, like Bloodhounds, have incredibly impressive senses of smell. And that's why they’re used most often in search missions to find missing people.
But all dogs have excellent smelling abilities, even if some of their other senses are waning.
They Help With Depression
There have been multiple studies (not to mention plenty of personal accounts) on how dogs help their owners see the light in even the darkest times. It’s like they have a natural ability to know exactly what their owner needs and exactly how to meet it. Plus, they have genuinely positive personalities that want the creatures around them to feel happy.
They easily love unconditionally and remind you that there’s a reason to continue seeking out happiness in your own life.
They Warn Diabetic People About Their Blood Sugar
Like many other superhero abilities, dogs are able to sense subtle changes in our chemical makeup that we are oblivious to. Sometimes, those changes are life-threatening like in the case of a blood sugar drop with a diabetic person.
Dogs can be trained to stick by their companion’s side, ready to warn them of an issue before any complicated medical device would and often saving lives in the process.
They Can Warn Against Seizures
Much like diabetes and so many other subtle changes that we humans don’t always physically pick up on, dogs have been known to warn people about all sorts of seizures.
Because they possess this incredible ability, they can ensure the person having the seizure is as safe as possible — either by protecting them, activating an alarm or by warning them before it happens so they can get to a safe location. That's not to mention they can bring comfort to a person when they come out of the seizure.
They Can Help Autistic Children
There’s still lots to learn about autism and how it affects the human psyche. One of the major issues for most autistic people concerns their general ability to socialize. But, for many people living with autism, dogs can provide comfort and companionship on a level that many humans cannot.
They can teach lessons about care and about bonding with others in an effort to help autistic children grow.
They Can Warn Against Fires
While you should never depend on your dog to be your smoke detector, many families and people have stories of their dog being the reason they’re still alive today.
Because they are sensitive to all sorts of environmental factors we don’t often see and will often wake up more easily than many humans, they can and do warn their human friends of danger all the time.
They Protect Their Owners Through All Situations
Of course, dogs can be protective and can ward off potential attackers. Even in dire situations, many dogs are fiercely loyal to the people they care about the most.
They naturally know what to do to help out and consistently do it without question.
They Can Warn Against Bombs
Like the brave humans they serve, special dogs can be trained to hone in on their already special abilities. Case in point: They can warn when explosives might be near, even in extremely intense and stressful situations.
They remain focused and task-oriented, often saving many lives in the process.
They Can Predict Earthquakes
While there’s still plenty of debate surrounding whether or not dogs can predict major natural disasters like an earthquake, lots of people make the solid argument — either from research or from personal experience — that dogs can sense something shifting in their environment.
Since they’re already gifted at sensing small human changes and can pick up on all sorts of subtleties that humans don’t notice, it stands to reason that they can very likely sense major shifts in the Earth.
But, since natural disasters aren’t often predictable — especially earthquakes — it’s particularly difficult to test this ability. Suffice it to say, if your dog is acting particularly strange (and all their basic needs are met), you might want to consider listening to whatever they’re trying to tell you.
They Force You to Exercise
To be their happiest and healthiest selves, dogs need exercise. Some breeds require much more of it than others, but all breeds love to be outside and walk or run around.
Even if you think you’re too busy or are stuck inside all day, your dog’s big pleading eyes (not to mention the timer on their bladder before an accident) will likely force you to get up and move around.
And taking them on walks can not only be excellent for your mental clarity, but it can absolutely help your physical fitness (and sometimes save your life in the process).
They Can Warn You About Shady People
While not every person a dog barks at is dangerous, there are all sorts of reasons your pooch may yell at a stranger. Their keen instincts may pick up on danger or warning signals that you would otherwise overlook.
If your dog is generally friendly and well-socialized, they may find something odd about a person they’re barking at. Often, it’s something about their appearance, the way they act or something about the way they smell. While they’re not always spot on, dogs can definitely provide excellent warning systems if your own spidey senses are tingling.
They Can Detect Your Blood Pressure
Plenty of people can attest to the calming powers of canines. And it’s hard to imagine walking away from a good cuddle session feeling more stressed than before.
But did you know that the simple act of talking to and petting a pup was found to lower blood pressure in humans? It’s nice to see some science supporting the fact that hanging out with your dog is actually great for your health.
They Raise Orphaned Animals Like Their Own
Dogs love to love — so much so that they are happy to raise another species as their own.
It’s no wonder that they sometimes consider themselves human — and that we humans love them as fiercely (and sometimes more) than we do our own kind.
BONUS: They Can Become Mayor
Some dogs have even dabbled in politics and done well for themselves.
It’s entirely possible this politician pooch — voted (honorary) mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, by residents — is the most universally loved public servant ever.