Dogs and color vision


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There is a widespread misconception of dogs being colorblind. They view the world in more shades than black and white interspersed with gray shades. Scientists have found that dogs can see color. The range of colors a canine can see, however, is much less compared to a human. This happens as humans possess three dissimilar kinds of color receptors. Each receptor is tuned to different wavelength ranges. In comparison, dogs have only two kinds of color receptors. It means your dog could fathom colors, but its world is limited to blue, gray, and yellow shades. The colors are also not intense.

Survival and others

For a dog, seeing color is important to its survival. It permits them to view things which could be blurry or difficult as their farsight makes nearer objects nearly out of focus. It is believed that dogs rarely use color to differentiate between objects. The best guess is that a dog relies on the perceived darkness or brightness to differentiate. This flies in the face of logic that if an animal has a certain sensory ability, it will use it to make better choices. This may not be the case at all times and in all species. In humans, to give an example, perfectly edible food is discarded if it is thought to smell bad. This happens even when it is known that the sense of smell is much weaker than that of animals like dogs. Women automatically gravitate towards babies as the latter gives off a pheromone which makes them attractive to caring mothers and females. Another pheromone helps to mate and make one individual more attractive than another when it comes to mating.

Color can be a differentiator

A couple of scientists working at a Russian university found out the extent of color vision in dogs. The experiment was a simple one and comprised four paper pieces of colored light blue, dark yellow, and dark blue. These colors were selected as they had two dissimilar visual dimensions which dogs should be able to differentiate, The dogs, during the training phase. Were given two boxes-each having slices of meat, with one problem: only one of the boxes was unlocked. Colored cards either light blue or dark yellow were pushed up in front of the box, with one card corresponding to one box. Every dog received a total of 10 training trials per day for a total of nine days. This discrimination was understood by the dogs quite fast and they were accurate at the end of the training period. The position of the cards was then changed to see whether the dogs understood the correlation between the card and the meat-filled open box. It was seen that the dogs followed the color card associated with the food. The color was the basis of conscious choice.

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