If you’ve seen your dog sleeping, watching his legs flail while he lets out a muffled half-bark through his closed mouth, you’ve probably joked that he was just dreaming about chasing rabbits. But is that true?
According to scientists, it probably is — assuming that he chases rabbits while he’s awake, too. Psychology professor and author Dr. Stanley Coren told LiveScience that not only do dogs dream about waking activities the way people do, but also the structure of their sleep patterns is very similar to ours.
“What we’ve basically found is that dogs dream doggy things,” Coren told the site. “So, Pointers will point at dream birds, and Dobermans will chase dream burglars. The dream pattern in dogs seems to be very similar to the dream pattern in humans.”
Coren said that when dogs and humans are asleep, they both have periods of sleep characterized by rapid eye movement (REM) and periods of non-REM sleep. Dreams are possible during both stages of sleep, but the ones during REM sleep are more vivid, notable or just plain weird.
One of the ways that sleeping humans and their snoozing pets differ is that even though we might dream about running from something, our legs aren’t wildly churning under the covers.
Imagine the disappointment when the little guy wakes up via Imgur
Posted by Eleven on Friday, 12 February 2016
We both have a part of our brain stems called the pons that keeps our muscles paralyzed while we sleep and prevents us from actually doing whatever we’re dreaming about. But the pons isn’t always developed in puppies and can be slightly inefficient in older dogs, which is why their muscles sometimes twitch and move, even when they’re out cold.
Either way, sweet dreams!