What Does a Dog Think When You’re Not Around?
There has been a fair amount of research performed on dogs to gauge how their mental state changes when their owners go on vacation, at least for short periods. Dogs associate their owners with different events during the day, including meals (and the time they’re delivered), walks and treats.
They will know (at least in the short term) that something isn’t quite right but they probably don’t associate that feeling with you. Those feelings will most likely be anxiety and stress as they dislike change like this. Do they know you’re not there?
Well, they know you’re not there at that exact time but they won’t be thinking, ‘hmm, I haven’t seen my owner in days, where the hell is he?’.
The truth be told, no one really knows what goes on inside a dog’s head for any kind of time-frame that’s more than a few hours long.
What does the research tell me?
A study published in Psychology Today revealed that dogs miss us more acutely when we’ve been away for longer stretches. The study, which compiled fMRI data on different dogs, found that canines have some grasp of time. According to the research, pooches greeted their Owners with more gusto after two hours than 30 minutes. However, when researchers measured the dogs after four hours, they found no difference. During these stints of separation, they also displayed negative emotions via their fMRI data.
In other words, dogs can start missing their Owners from the moment they part ways. After that, keep missing them more and more for up to two hours. Beyond the two hour mark, they begin a plateau of melancholy until they see their Owner again.
“Okay, fine,” I hear you say, “but do our dogs miss us, or do they just miss people in general?”
Science has an answer for that too. Another study provided dogs with three different scents: their Owner’s, someone familiar to them, and a stranger’s. In each case, the dog reacted the most positively to their Owner’s scent. Moreover, each pooch was willing to wait by the door when they could no longer detect their Owner’s scent. The same wasn’t true of the other two scents. Unsurprisingly, though, the pups showed more interest in the scent of the familiar person than the stranger.
Do Dogs Miss Their Owners When They Go On Vacation?
Dogs do miss their owners when they go on vacation. Dogs become emotionally attached to their people, so they miss them when they’re not around.