You can be in a sea of people, and your dog will only look for you. They run as swiftly as jaguars when they hear you calling their name.
No one also gets excited more than your dog when you knock on the door. So how do dogs know their owners?
Find out how dogs recognize you through their powerful senses of smell, sight, and hearing. You’ll also learn other things your dog knows about you, such as your mood and physical conditions.
How Do Dogs Know Their Owner?
Dogs know their owner through their powerful senses. Here’s how they recognize you.
Dogs Can Smell Their Owner
Your furry friend recognizes you based on their strongest sense organ: their nose.
Dogs can smell scents from a large distance. The average length they can smell is 12.4 miles, depending on their breed, training, and environmental conditions.
So even if you’re a block away and your dog is at home, they can still recognize you coming.
Some breeds with the best sense of smell include Basset Hound, Beagle, Labrador Retriever, and the German Shepherd.
Dogs also quickly know your scent because they associate it with positive experiences. This association helps you form a strong emotional bond.
Some experts even believe dogs can smell diseases, pregnancy, and other bodily processes inside your body.
Dogs Recognize Your Face Through Sight
Dogs not only rely on their powerful sense of smell to recognize you. They also use their eyes to become familiar with your face and body.
This ability to read human behavior and expressions is inherited from their ancestors.
One study shows that dogs possess solid non-verbal communication skills with humans, primarily through hand gestures.
This study by Paolo Mongillo from Italy revealed that dogs also distinguish their owners in a crowd of strangers by looking at their faces.
When dogs are faced in front of people walking back and forth, they only focus on their owners. But when all of them wore masks, the dogs could not find the owner.
Dogs Recognize Their Owner Through Voice
Dogs recognize their owners based on their voices. According to a study from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.
The researchers invited 28 dogs and their owners to play hide-in-seek. Dogs are commanded to find their owner behind the walls while other strangers are also hiding.
It’s a fun experiment that led to meaningful results. The strangers even copied the owner’s voice in multiple rounds.
The researchers also ensured that the dogs’ noses had nothing to do with it.
The study concluded that 82% of the dogs found their owners.
Watch this video to see it in action.
Dogs know their owner in a similar way they know their name. Your dog knows their name based only on your sound and gesture.
Why Your Dog Recognizes You
Your dog recognizes you because of their great senses, strong memory, and communication skills.
While these traits are hereditary, domestication and constant close contact with humans means our dogs can recognize us more easily.
Over thirty thousand years ago, wolves and humans slowly began engaging with each other. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors took advantage of the predatory nature of wolves in their hunting.
Over time, dogs have evolved from seeing humans as providers to seeing them as companions. Apart from their pack, their family.
When dogs form a close bond with their owner it helps them to recognize you and easily pick you out of a crowd.
What Does Your Dog Know About You?
Aside from knowing your face, smell, and voice, here are other things that dogs might know about you.
When You’re Sad
Dogs know when their owners are happy or sad because they can decipher your tone of voice and facial expressions.
Notice how they suddenly approach you when you’re crying. Dogs are good at cuddling humans and comforting them with all their abilities.
When You Have New Priorities
Sadly, dogs understand when they are not your top priority anymore. They pick up the fact that you need to go out for work or school now or that you have a new baby in the house.
Dogs can recall moments when they received enough attention and compare them to their present situation.
That’s why you should do your best to keep giving your dog enough playtime. Playtime, exercise, and socialization are basic needs for your pup.
It also helps to introduce your dog to new family members or pets, so they don’t feel left out. Doing so will also make sure they form a strong bond without the possibility of aggression.
When You Need Protection
Dogs are intuitive creatures. They can sense when a threat is coming your way. Then they get extra protective.
For example, if your spouse is going out of town, you’ll notice them sleeping next to you so they can protect you.
Dogs also bark at people who seem suspicious. Or when they hear a loud knock on the door that’s unusual.
Our furry friends can smell the adrenaline that our bodies release when we’re scared or threatened.
You’re a Generous Person
Your dog may not have an in-depth understanding of values, but they know you’re a good person because you provide for their basic needs.
Have you ever wondered why dogs cling to people who give them food?
It’s not just because they know how to take advantage. Dogs also learn how to show gratitude and appreciation.
And because they can spot a generous person, our puppies also know when someone is being unfair.
A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that dogs know when you give more attention, food, and playtime to other dogs.
Some signs that they sense you’re being unfair include their distress and anxiety.
Dogs know where you’ve been with just a simple sniff. Like sponges, humans absorb all types of compounds wherever we go.
But only dogs can smell all those compounds, whether it’s the soil you walked on or the friends you hugged.
Dogs can also smell the butcher you stood next to while shopping, the food you ate, and the car you went in.
That’s how powerful a dog’s sense of smell is.
When You’re Coming Home
Dogs also know their owners enough to understand when they are coming home. And they have several indicators for this.
First, if you come home at a particular time every day, your dog will get used to the schedule. They thrive on routines, so these events become predictable to them.
Another reason they know you’re coming home is when they start smelling you from a certain distance. Some dog breeds can smell you even if you’re a few steps away.
Some experts also believe your dog measures your arrival based on the scent you leave at home. As your mark weakens, your dog predicts you’re close to coming home.
When You’re Sick
Professional dogs are currently being trained to detect illnesses like diabetes and cancer.
But even before training, dogs can already sense this. They smell specific chemicals that cancer cells release, which we humans cannot smell.
Dogs can sense other conditions and processes, including your monthly period, pregnancy, prostate diseases, bladder issues, and lung problems.
Do Dogs Know Their Name?
Yes, dogs recognize their name through the sound you make. But this does not necessarily mean they can understand actual words.
Dogs understand the patterns of sound you make, so they respond to them. They also react according to your tone and pitch, allowing them to decipher your mood.
Scientists also believe that dogs understand their names because of general learning and memory mechanisms.
Dogs learn different information pieces in a complex way. Find out more about how dogs know their name.
When Do Puppies Learn Their Name?
Dogs recognize their name by about 12 weeks old because it is when their eyesight and hearing have fully developed.
Start training your dog their name once they open their eyes and start hearing at 21 days old. But don’t expect them to learn it right away.
Train your dog to learn their name as early as possible so that you can teach them other commands.
Learn out more about when puppies learn their name.
No One Knows You Like Your Dog
Whether you’ve been with your dog for a month or a decade, they instantly study your traits, smell, voice, and other characteristics.
That’s why dogs can recognize you with just one sniff or look. Dogs also recognize your voice even if you’re hiding.
Keep training your dog to recognize your face, voice, and smell so you can develop a stronger bond with them.
Also find out whether dogs know their own siblings and if they can recognize them after time apart.