Even flies may dream in some form. — Mathew Wilson. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I was sitting here at the computer a few moments ago when I heard this thump thump thump coming from behind me.
I swivelled around to see Juno fast asleep on the floor, completely motionless apart from his tail which was wagging frantically.
I have seen Juno twitching his legs plenty of times, but this is the first time I have seen the little dude actually wag his tail. In fact as I watched he was waving and banging it out on the floor so loudly that he actually woke himself up.
Just like us, dogs have cycles of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. This is the period of sleep that usually aligns with some sort of dream activity (although research shows we do dream in non-REM sleep as well).
Studies have found that dogs usually enter a 2-3 minute period of REM sleep sometime around 20 minutes after starting their nap. It seems bigger dogs may have fewer but longer dreams, whilst smaller dogs like Juno have more dreams of shorter durations.
I can tell when Juno is off on a dream adventure, his breathing becomes irregular and he may start making funny growling or whruffing-wruff sounds. His legs usually start twitching in rhythmic ‘running’ patterns. His face twitches. His mouth chews. And now….he wags his tail.
He is busy doing something in there.
And this seems to correlate with the scientific research. Puppies and older dogs tend to have an under-active pons, the area of the brain stem that normally suppress any actual muscle responses (known as muscle atonia) to their dream shenanigans.
So they can tend to get a little jiggy with their dreams
Researches are confident that dogs dream about…..well doggy experiences.
Hunting, running, eating….pinching Kelly’s most expensive bra and burying it out in the garden somewhere. The usual stuff.
But the ferocious, joyous tail wagging?
Well sure it is a little pretentious….but I like to think he was dreaming of me.