I remember when I was but a child, I had a dog named Max, a fat burly looking boxer. I recall watching him as he slept. Some time after he had fallen asleep, he would begin whimpering and quietly barking to himself, somtimes snoring. Occasionally in a fit of all this, he get up pace around in a circle for a bit and then lay back down...only to go through yet another loop of similar behavior later on.

I've also noticed some of my relatives' dogs exhibiting similar behavior. Do dogs dream like us people do? If they do dream, then what do they dream about?

Maybe a doggy dream scenario would invole he or she watching as the person person (mail man...couldn't help myself there) drops some postage through the mail slot, and all they can do is watch from a distance and bark. No running up to the slot to attack the letters and rip them to shreads or to nip at the mail carrier's hands. Just barking, totally helpless, possibly like the dream where I'm runnning but not moving.

Or perhaps they would dream about toppling over the garbage can in the kitchen and feasting on your left overs, maybe they dream about going for a walk, or maybe about other dogs.

Would a dog dream in the doggy version of dreaming in color? That is would they be able to smell and hear stuff in their dreams as well?

just wondering...

Dogs should be able to dream just as people do, relative to their brain capacity that is. Dogs have been shown in recent years to see color, and they have all the upper brain functions of mammals. The fact that dogs sometimes act out their dreams should be enough evidence that they do in fact, dream.

It's 9:30pm and Wiley is on the hunt. For a few moments every night, he pulls my attention away from whatever I'm reading. Wiley is my 1 year old Mastiff pup.

It begins with a whimper, almost a wheeze, then his breathing escalates. He'll bark, a slight woof! under his breath, almost seeming to mumble. His eyes roll frantically under his eyelids.

woof!

He lies on the couch flat on his back with his legs in the air, but he doesn't know it. His legs begin to twitch slightly, then begin their usual route. Just like the understated bark, his run is slight and almost feigned, but steady. In his mind he no doubt leaps and bounds across some field of high grass, chasing a rabbit or squirrel.

woof! woof!

He gains speed and periodically tremors violently. The understated woof! gives way to a grumble, grumble, which the imaginary rabbit would likely recognize as a full-on growl.

Then as suddenly as it began,

THUMP!

Ten stone worth of puppy rolls off the couch and hits the floor. Wiley is startled awake. He looks up at me with those big puppy eyes, as if to say, "Damn it dad, I almost had it that time." I'm sure he almost did, and he'll try again tomorrow night.

Without getting back on the couch, he goes back to sleep and I go back to my reading, just like every other night, amused.

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