One of my favorite parts of a dog is their eyes. It is something we all notice right away when meeting a new dog, or seeing an old canine friend we have not seen in a while.
A great comparison of their eyes in my mind is marbles. They are shiny and come in such a variety of colours; there is something for everybody.
Dogs communicate with their eyes; our lab Abby does it all the time. She is able to communicate simply with her eyes by looking at the kitchen counter and then back at us. By doing so she is telling us that the counter holds something positively tantalizing for her, which she wishes to levitate right to her mouth.
A dog’s eyesight often allows them to engage in humanlike pastimes. Abby has never been one to watch TV but I have boarded a few dogs that, when animals come on the screen, are totally focused on television shows. Marlo – a sweet Cockapoo – loves shows with animals. She can literally be sound asleep but if she hears an animal noise is immediately on high alert, her pointing eyes straight ahead. We get such a kick out of her antics! Once I was watching a show about an elephant rehabilitation sanctuary and she was running at the TV and growling. I actually purchased her a video especially for dogs. I think it had squirrels on it, her personal favorite! Her owner Carol told me recently that Marlo’s new interest on TV is baseball and hockey! It has been proven that fast images or flickering on TV captures their attention most of all.
A dog’s eyes are placed more to the side of their heads, giving them a better view of the world around them in all directions – apparently 240 degrees! Humans see in our visual field around 200 degrees.
People often debate whether dogs can see colour. Scientists have proven that they are simply colour blind. Dogs have fewer cones in their eyes than humans. Cones are what give us clearer vision and the ability to see tiny details. Colour blindness in humans occurs when a person is lacking one of three kinds of cones in their eyes. With less cones the less ability to see colours.
Research has proven that dogs actually see colour but fewer colours than their human counter parts do. Scientists have discovered that humans see the rainbow in violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange and red. Dogs visualize it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light-yellow, darker yellow (similar to brown) and a very dark grey. Their green, yellow and orange are all yellowish in hue, and violet and blue resemble a blue hue. Blue-green is seen as grey. This is fascinating! Red has been proven very hard for dogs to see as it may be seen through their eyes as a darker gray or even black!
Dog toys are often marketed as bright orange which really for dogs is not the best for retrieving. It is designed for the owners to see after throwing a toy for their dogs. A helpful tip for you dog is to have the retrieving toy be darker than the grass or much lighter so it stands out. This will provide a higher chance of success for the dog, so you won’t have to go and “fetch” the toy!
Dogs rely on many of their other senses more than their eyesight to navigate around their world. Their hearing and smelling abilities are far more sophisticated. I am sure you have observed this with your favorite pooch!
We are lucky to have communication with our dogs; by a look we can tell if our canine friend is scared, happy, playful, sleepy, sick/feeling blue or pleading for a treat!
Enjoy the pictures of outstanding eye colours I have witnessed at the dog park. It is wonderful that all our dogs are so unique in so many different ways.
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