The old saying says to let sleeping dogs lie. But, if you’ve ever watched your family pooch snooze, their twitchy paws imply a lot more is happening. If your kid has ever asked why Spot is running in his sleep, Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist at Harvard Medical School thinks it’s because your pup is dreaming of you … and your little one, too.
Barrett, who’s studied sleep and dream behavior in humans for much of her career, told People that dogs have a sleep cycle similar to humans, which presumably include more periods of Rapid Eye Movement, less shiny happy people, and a whole lot of dreaming. “There’s no reason to think animals are any different. 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,” she says. Who’s a good boy?
The doctor was careful to note that there is no way to be sure what dogs are dreaming of, exactly. Scientists have actually come closer to figuring this out in cats, thanks to mad scientist Michel Jouvet, who in 1959 discovered cats with lesions around the locus coeruleus in the brainstem sleep walk. Or, more specifically, sleep hunt. So, it would stand to reason that your cat dreams of mice, like Jiro dreams of sushi. Sadly, Jouvet figured this out by purposely damaging cat brains. If your kid wants to do psychological experiments on your pets, you have much bigger problems than analyzing your pup’s subconscious. Just assume they dream of squirrels — and call a human therapist.
[H/T] The Independent