You’re the Person of Your Dog’s Dreams, Literally, Says Harvard Expert
Science| | By Matthew D'Onofrio
The unconditional love a dog has for its owner refuses to quit even in their sleep.
A clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard Medical School reveals that dogs most likely dream about their owners and the happy times they share together.
Dr. Deirdre Barrett, an expert who has studied sleep behavior in humans for years, says humans dream about their everyday experiences after shutting their eyes for the night, though human dreams are more visual than logical. Therefore, it is likely so do dogs.
“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,” Barrett told People.
Most mammals have a sleep cycle similar to humans, where they enter a deep sleep stage in which the brain is a lot less active and then a Rapid Eye Moment (REM) stage which occurs in continuous periods. The REM cycle is where the dreams occur.
“That certainly makes it the best guess that other mammals are dreaming, too,” said Barrett.
This makes sense when dogs are seen moving their legs as if they are running while sleeping, likely acting out their dreams.
When it comes to mammals, cats however do not share similar dreams.
“We actually know more about cats’ dreams, because one of the earliest sleep researchers, Michel Jouvet, destroyed the tiny area in cat brains that inhibits movements during REM sleep,” Barrett said. “Cats lay quietly through the other stages of sleep, and when REM began, they leapt up, stalked, pounced, arched their backs and hissed. They looked like they were hunting mice in their dreams.”
The moral of this story is to have happy experiences throughout the day with your canine companion and then let it get a good night’s rest for maximum dream potential. And if you have a cat, it doesn’t matter because they’ll still dream of eating rodents.