Shhhh! Puppies Sleeping


Shhhh! Koda and Summer are sleeping. They are in one of their favorite spots on the cool marble next to the fireplace. They are head to head, resting against one another. Their chests rise and fall rapidly. Just an hour ago they were running around the room and playing on the sofa. As soon as they were drained of energy it was time to find a spot to sprawl out and rest.

Last night on my blog, I asked questions about the possibility of them dreaming and the content of those dreams. Today I read a little about it and got some answers.

First I learned that Dogs do dream, below are some excerpts from the website

Dogs do dream,” said Stanley Coren, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the  of “Do  Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know” (Norton, 2012).

Dogs sleep more than people do, Coren told Live Science, and they have a particular penchant for catnaps. But the structure of their sleep looks remarkably human: Like humans, dogs cycle through stages of wakefulness, rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid-eye-movement sleep. Scientists reporting in the journal Physiological Behavior in 1977 recorded the electrical activity of the brains of six pointer dogs for 24 hours, and found that the dogs spent 44 percent of their time alert, 21 percent drowsy and 12 percent in REM sleep. They also spent 23 percent of their time in the deepest stage of non-REM sleep, called slow-wave sleep.

What I found most interesting is that dogs spend most of their sleeping time in deep non-REM sleep which is the stage in which dreams feature more typical activies and are less often remembered by the dreamer later. So this could include activities similar to what they do when awake: playing with toys, taking walks, and running around in the backyard.

The REM sleep, which is different than the non REM sleep, is full of the crazy stuff that is often remembered upon awakening. It makes me think of mornings when I have overslept and the bizarre dreams I can recall. Then I lay there in bed going over the odd disjointed details. “Let’s see, I was walking down the ninth grade hallway of my high school and I was late for class, then I pushed open a big heavy door, and found the room was filled with water and sharks were circling.” Alarm clock sounded and that was the end of the twisted plot. My dreams feature sharks from time to time. Many mornings I can only recall bits and pieces of dreams.

Summer and Koda, being dogs not people, supposedly spend the majority of their sleep working through their daytime activities. Then for that short amount of REM, they may encounter some not-so-typical stuff in their dreams. That could possibly be when they are seen twitching or yelping. Maybe it’s Koda digging a hole in the dirt that goes deeper and deeper until he finds himself far down in a hole and is barking for help in the dark abyss. Or maybe Summer dreams that Koda is gone from the yard and she can’t find him anywhere and cries out. I do not like that nightmare at all!

I like to think about their happy dreams, the ones about running free at the cabin, tongues hanging to the side, as they gallop along the gravel road to the gate, then turnaround and sprint in a race back toward the lake. I hope they see our smiling faces in their dreams and hear our soothing voices. Most of all, I hope they get the rest they need and sleep through the night (so that I too get the rest that I need). Sweet dreams puppies!

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