Just HOW do dogs know the difference? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Just HOW do dogs know the difference?

I know dogs are smart, have exceptional hearing, scent, etc. But really, just HOW can they tell the difference when someone is coming to the house. I did a couple of tests:

1 - I had my friend drive my car to my driveway and get out of the car and come into the house. BUT, she's not allowed to say anything.

I asked her - did you hear ANYTHING? She said nope, not a peep, not a thump, nothing.

When I come home, I hear her tail wagging in the crate, and I can hear her stand up and stretch because she knows she's coming out.

I walked into the house and came down the stairs, didn't say a word and BAM ... Kyleigh's up and her tail is flying in the crate.

2 - I did the same thing with my dad and his brother. Had my uncle come into the driveway with my dad's truck (you can't miss the sound of the hemi engine LOL). We were in the upstairs living room, but the curtains were closed and she couldn't see outside. Her ears perked up at the sound of the truck, but before anyone got to the door (my dad was still in the truck), she lets out a low growl. I get up and there's my uncle standing on the doorstep (we had told him NOT to just walk in). A couple of seconds later, my dad joins my uncle on the porch, and of course Ky's tail pretty much cleaned the floor.

3 - My bedroom is in the basement. There are no windows, the door is closed and it is pitch black, and you can't hear anything from anywhere in the house once the door is closed - ok, I can't hear anything LOL (I suffer from major migraines, so this is how my bedroom has to be).

A couple of months ago, Kyleigh flew out of a dead sleep at my bedroom door and was barking / snarling / growling up a storm. 5 seconds later the doorbell rang.

So there's my three examples, and I'm sure everyone out there has similar stories ... my question ... just HOW do they do that? How do they know? I'm really looking forward to some of the responses on this thread!

Marionís Zoo-Kyleigh, Raylan-cat, Echo-TAG,
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:04 AM
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I think they recognize the sound of your vehicle. My dog can tell if there's a stranger in the house from the basement too.

I used to ride a mare who'd nicker when she heard my car in the drive. Only for me, my trainer used to laugh about it.

Animals senses are so much keener than ours. I always think of my dog if someone is playing music loudly or wearing strong perfume that it must be such an assault on their senses. LOL
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Blackshep ... yes, it was my vehicle (and my dad's) ... but it wasn't us coming in the house ... so how did they know it wasn't us coming out of our cars? THAT's what's bugging my brain LOL

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:13 AM
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Oooohhh, sorry I didn't get that!

Must be the footfalls? Maybe they can smell the person?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:18 AM
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My 16 yr old came home from playing football and decided to come to the back door via the alley. I stayed up to wait on him. I was expecting him to be dropped off out front, But he walked instead. Our girls were up wagging their tails so I went to look outback and nothing, I told them you guys are loosing it. About 10 seconds later I see the sliding gate opening and sure enough it was him.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:22 AM
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My dog is not social w/other dogs, some he tollerates, some he ignores, 3 females he is love with...and then there are the ones he despises. We are on the tenth floor.

G is sound asleep on my bed, window closed, moderate noise from the t.v. when suddenly he will come flying out of the bedroom, hackles up roaring out onto the balcony...I jump up to go see...it'll either be a particular PB or Rottie...they only just walked out the door...like three feet from it, barely crossed the threshold...how can my dog know that these dogs are walking through a steel door. The proximity of their location and his timing would almost indicate that he knew before they even walked out...He's not even on the balcony or in the L/R when this happens AND in a dead sleep...of course when BooBoo an tiny Pom (the most beautiful Pom I have ever seen), comes around, he starts squeeking and hmm,hmming...it's hilarious

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:53 AM
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My belief:


  • The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
  • A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 10:31 AM
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My mother had a bird who would freak out when her car turned the corner right in front of our house. Animals CAN recognize the sound of individual cars.

After that....smell?

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 11:29 AM
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Gunnar can hear anyone of our 4 cars coming from a mile away I swear. I can be home watching tv and he will be sleeping. He wakes up and perks up. I say "wheres dad?!" he goes running to the front door and knows that its dad coming home. and the bf says he does the samething when he hears my trucks. I think its awesome. that they know the sound of your vehicle. He even knows my brothers truck. although he still wants to bark at him lol
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 11:51 AM
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I think it's a little bit of intuition, a little bit of that powerful nose and a little bit of those big jack-rabbit ears c:

Combining those three things makes for a very powerful 'sense' that we can't comprehend...
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