How Do Dogs Recognize People?

Like my human friends and family, my dogs know who I am – even when they’d like to pretend otherwise.Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

“Will? Yeah we know him. What did he do now?”

Recently I’ve started thinking about the different ways our dogs identify and recognize who we are.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

Smell, of course, is a big one for pups. To Eko and Penny, I imagine an individual’s scent is as recognizable as their face

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

But for my two, I also know sight plays a big role. If I say “Who’s that?” both Eko and Penny immediately swivel their heads looking for a familiar face

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

Even when that face is far away, the dogs still recognize the silhouette and go running

What cracks me up is that even with their heightened senses, the pups have made a few mistakes. Women with a similar winter coat to Emily have on multiple occasions been mistaken for Emily. Eko and Penny even act sheepishly when they realize the mix up!

I’ve found there are also a number of subtle ways the dogs recognize us.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

We hear car doors outside all the time, but the dogs wait until around the time Emily comes home before they expectantly run to our door after hearing a car pull in

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, puppy, cute, chicago

And you don’t even have to be in the room for the dogs to recognize you. These two always perk up when they hear Emily on the other end of the phone

We often say our dogs know us better than we know ourselves and I think this post lends further credence to the saying. While we all think of ourselves in one way, our dogs recognize who we are in a networked multitude of ways. Smell, sight, sound, body language – you name it, and our dogs have our number.

There’s very few personal subtleties which slip by a pup. So, of the ways your dog knows who you are, what’s your favorite?

28 thoughts on “How Do Dogs Recognize People?”

  1. That double take look Sam gives me makes me crack up every. single. time. His feet move faster than his body and he practically leaves rubber getting to me once he’s recognized it really is me. And then I love when he recognizes our car when we’ve been out and about-that just blows me away. How DO they do that? 😉


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: