How does a dog's sense of touch work? - Blog Bowl&Bone Republic




How does a dog’s sense of touch work?

Surely you know that dogs have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, which makes them perfect trackers. But have you ever wondered how dogs’ sense of touch works? Unfortunately, this is an issue that is often overlooked. As it turns out, the sense of touch plays an enormous role in every dog’s life.

a dog with his guardian in the city

The sense of touch is essential to a dog’s psyche. Physical proximity is crucial in the development of a puppy. Through contact, he can locate his mother, despite lacking a developed sense of sight. Touch affects the dog’s sense of security and attachment to the guardian. This way, you can show your dog your friendship.

What will you learn from this article?

  • Puppies know where their mother is by the sense of touch right after birth
  • Touch and closeness in the first months of a puppy’s life affect his confidence and self-esteem when he is an adult dog
  • Dog whiskers with which dogs locate objects around them even when it is dark

The dog’s sense of touch

Every dog ​​guardian surely knows how important the sense of smell and hearing is for our pets. It is these two senses that make dogs such good trackers. They can perceive sounds from the environment much better than humans and smells. On the other hand, interestingly, dogs’ eyesight is worse than ours. Dogs see colours differently. Some colours are not recognizable at all.

Have you ever wondered how dogs’ sense of touch works? I find this an exciting topic. Due to dogs’ body structure, the importance of contact will work differently than humans. Therefore, I am delighted to bring you closer to this topic. This knowledge will allow you to get to know your pet better and understand how it perceives the world around it.

How the sense of touch works in puppies

In the beginning, I think it is worth mentioning that the sense of touch plays a different role in dogs when they are very young puppies and others when they are already adult dogs. That is because dogs are blind right after birth and almost entirely deaf. For this reason, the sense of touch, in their case, is the primary way of perceiving the outside world.

Newborn puppies have one primary purpose. Be as close to your mother as possible. She provides them with the necessary food for life and gives them a sense of security. For dogs that have just been born, these are crucial to satisfy the need.

So how do puppies perceive what is happening around them through their sense of touch? Their determinant is warmth, which is the source of their mother. With the help of heat receptors located right next to their nostrils, they track their mother so that they can follow her direction.

For this purpose, they characteristically raise their head, trying to track the source of heat, i.e. the mother. Once they’ve figured that out, they slowly creep in that direction. That is how the sense of touch works in tiny dogs.

Why does only puppies’ sense of touch works this way

You’re probably wondering why the sense of touch only works this way in puppies. As the dog grows, along with his maturation process, the heat receptors at the nostrils begin to disappear. Why is this happening? Because as the days and weeks go by after birth, he begins to open his eyes and see more and more. The same goes for his sense of hearing, which is improving.

For this reason, the dog begins to perceive the surrounding reality primarily with the help of other senses that are developing more and more. The touch no longer plays such a significant role.

Why you should take your puppy in the arm

Touch has a very calming effect on newborn puppies. Therefore, small dogs must first have close contact with their mother or guardian. Being petted and cuddled has a direct impact on the puppy.

The feeling of closeness makes the dog feel calm and safe. As a result, his breathing becomes regular, and his heart rate is very even. For puppies, distress and anxiety affect their vital functions.

What’s more, if puppies are cuddled and touched from an early age, it directly impacts their behaviour as adults. Such dogs are visibly more energetic and active. They have greater self-confidence and openness to the world.

How important the sense of touch is in the first stages of a dog’s life is very interesting. At the same time, many people underestimate this topic. Dog guardians may not even realize closeness’s importance for a small dog. It has a direct impact on the entire further life of the quadruped.

How the sense of touch works in an adult dog

Although dogs have a great sense of smell and hearing, this does not mean that touch plays no role in perceiving the outside world.

Touch for a dog is a sense that affects his psyche, well-being and emotions. Indeed your dog likes to be stroked and cuddled by you. He perceives your touch as love. If you want to learn more about how else you can show your four-legged friend that he is essential to you, I refer you to another post devoted to this topic.

a dog with his guardian in the city walk

Stroking and hugging a dog

The caregiver’s touch strengthens the bond between the dog and his owner. Moreover, your touch in stressful situations for your pet gives him a sense of security. You instinctively hug or pick up your dog when he is scared. Your closeness in such a situation is essential to him.

Your touch when the dog feels good and safe is a form of relaxation for him. One of my dog’s favourite forms of spending time, especially after a long and intense walk, is lying on the couch together. My pet, at such moments, wants to be stroked and cuddled.

During such evenings, when it is also chilly and frosty outside, I reach for my dog’s NAP blanket from the Bowl&Bone Republic. The dog, nestled in his highly soft and pleasant-to-the-touch material, falls asleep in the blink of an eye. Me being next to him and the blanket give him a sense of security and peace.

Hugging a dog, however, is more complicated than you might think. A pet’s hug cannot be accidental. The wrong way to cuddle your dog can make him very uncomfortable. This behaviour can make your pet nervous rather than happy with your assumption.

If you want to learn more about what can annoy your dog, I refer you to the article devoted to this topic.

How sensitive is a dog’s sense of touch

Although the primary senses responsible for a dog’s perception of the world are smell and hearing, touch also plays an essential role in the life of a quadruped. Dogs have to touch receptors all over their bodies. At the same time, like humans, some body parts are more sensitive than others.

Your dog has the most touch receptors on the pads of his paws and his face, especially around the nose and eyes. Now you know why caring for your dog’s paws is crucial on cold and frosty days. The pads are highly susceptible to mechanical damage.

There are whiskers on your dog’s face responsible for the dog’s sense of touch. Interestingly, with their help, the dog recognizes the objects around him and locates them.

Whiskers are especially useful when your dog is moving around in the dark. Then his sense of sight becomes virtually useless. The vibrissae allow the dog to move quite efficiently in the dark.

That’s why taking care of your dog’s moustache is essential. It happens that inexperienced groomers trim the dog’s vibrissae during the haircut, which is a huge mistake and has negative consequences for him.

The dog’s sense of touch

So, as you can see, the sense of touch plays a more crucial role in your dog than you might initially think. It affects the dog’s mental development, emotions, and well-being, especially in this initial period of your dog’s life.

Does your dog like to be petted and cuddled? What is your relationship like in terms of intimacy and affection?

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic in the next post, share it in the comments section.

Author: Klaudia, great dog lover

The dog by my side teaches me to enjoy every moment and to perceive each subsequent day as a chance for a new, wonderful adventure. While looking for my soul mate, I found it in a dog's wise eyes.

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