What Colors Can the Dog See?

The Color Purple..From A Dog’s Eye

Over the years many people have the belief that a dog is color blind, and only can see in black and white.  Well tests now have proven that old myth not to be true.  I’m glad, the thought of them only seeing in black and didn’t seem right for our loveable pets!

Our eyes and our dogs eyes consist of cones, these are light catching cells that respond to color. Because dogs have fewer cones than we do, it suggests that their perception of color is not as vibrant or as deep as ours. The key to color vision is not only dependent on having these light catching cells, they must also have many different kinds of cones.  Each set of cones is based on a different light wavelengths, which is vital to seeing color. Humans have three different types of cones, and these cells give us our rich, full-range, and intense color vision. Dogs, have only two types of these cones which limits their color range intensely.

There was various research done at the University of Carolina comparing the way dogs see as opposed to humans.  Instead of seeing the rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), dogs see a very dark gray, darker yellow (kind of brown, light yellow, gray, light blue, and dark blue. In other words, dogs only see the colors of the world as essentially gray, blue, and yellow.

The difference in the way the dogs see from us is their perception of colors.  They have a hard time determining colors such as yellow, orange, red and green. Colors are usually very drab to our dogs, so therefore it helps by providing a large contrast in colors for them

Knowing this we can take advantage of it in training our dogs.  If we are training a dog to fetch, or go for the Frisbee, make sure that it are colors they can see!  High contrasting toys with blocks of color also make it easier for the dog to see.  For a dog, the big red ball you just threw across the yard to them has disappeared in the bright green grass.  Both items appear brownish gray to your dog, and it leaves them to actually rely upon their nose to find the ball.  Maybe that is why the dogs nose is the strongest sense they have, they have been relying on it for years to find things.

If we want our dog to focus on us more, maybe we should wear clothing that they can see us better!  Sounds like a good reason to go out and buy some new clothes to me.  I’m sure my husband wouldn’t agree.  I’ll just tell him I am doing it for the dog!

What seems to be the best contrasting color for a dog to find?  Research showed that the color purple next to the contrasting color white was the easiest for dogs to see.  So let’s here it for the color purple!

Contact Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or by email at kim@trainingcanines.com for all your dog training needs.  You can also visit the website at www.trainingcanines.com

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