6 Reasons Why You Keep Dreaming About Your Dog

Here's what it means when your fur baby goes from real-life to REM, according to a psychologist.

Love a bit of shut eye? You’re not alone, with the average person spending a whopping 26 years of their lives either asleep, or at least attempting to sleep. With that equating to about a third of our lives, it comes as no surprise that we also dream a lot too. And while researchers say that almost everyone dreams several times each night, most of us will only remember dreaming about half the time. And – again – while some people remember every night’s dreams, many will have almost no recollection of their dreams at all.

Dreams are so important, that they have been studied for thousands of years. However, it was during the time of one of psychology’s most important pioneers – Sigmund Freud – that interpreting dreams was made mainstream, thanks, in part to his famous book, The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud hypothesized that our dreams actually disguise latent desires that the dreamer may not want to express openly, while Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung – who is also considered as one of the most important thought-leaders in psychology – argued that dreams aren’t a method of disguising our desires but rather a way of communicating them.

Woman dreaming

While there’s no doubt about it that analysing and giving meaning to dreams has become a source of both entertainment and self-reflection, there still lies the question: do dreams actually mean anything? And if so, what?

With some of the most common dreams centred around our four-legged friends, if you’ve been dreaming about dogs recently, you’re not alone. Pups are believed to be the animal that most frequently appears in our dreams – ahead of cats and snakes respectively.  We spoke to Manuela Schmitten, a psychologist at Inner Space Psychology to find out 6 reasons why you keep dreaming about your dog.

Related: These Are the 3 Most Common Recurring Dreams Women Have, New Survey Says

If you’re afraid of dogs

If you’re afraid of dogs – a condition called cynophobia that effects some 7 to 9 percent of the population – dreaming about dogs is likely to be more like a nightmare. Dreaming about dogs when you’re scared of them – or if there’s a recurring dog in your dream that you see as threatening in real life, could be an indicator that you’re feeling attacked or threatened by either a person or a situation, in real life.

If you love dogs

Because dogs are usually seen as symbols of steadfast loyalty, unconditional love, friendship, protection and as a source of joy, dreaming about dogs if you love them can sometimes be a reminder of your values, and an indication that you should stay on your moral path, explains Schmitten. Seeing a dog in your dream can also mean that there’s a skill or talent that you might have neglected of late – and that no may be the time to reconsider it.

If you dream of random dogs

If the dog in your dream isn’t one you’re familiar with, this is usually more in relation to what you think of dogs personally, and what they mean to you. For example, says Schmitten, if you dream about walking along an empty street and a friendly dog greets you, it can mean that some unexpected, good news is around the corner. If the dog in your dream is growling or barking, however, watch out — it can mean that a betrayal of some sort is headed your way.

If you dream about your own pet dog

Woman playing with dog

If you dream about your fur baby, again it’s important to look at the context of the dream, advises Schmitten. If in your dream, your pet bites you, it can be a sign of imbalance in your life. On the other hand, if your pooch is having fun and playing with you in your dream, it can be a sign of feeling social and accepted by those close to you.

If you dream about a dog from your past

If you dream of a dog from your past or a family dog you used to have, it’s likely that something is missing from your life. “Because dogs symbolize protection, dreaming about a dog from your past might take you back to a time when you felt protected, and it can often remind you of a time when you felt safe, and both gave and received unconditional love. It might be worth taking a step back to ask yourself whether there’s something missing from your life right now,” suggests Schmitten.

If you do something wrong in your doggie dream

While dogs emphasize the positive aspects of relationships, they can also reveal our fears – so if you do something wrong in a dream about your dog, this might mean you’re afraid of losing a relationship or doing something wrong in real life.  It could also mean you’re feeling guilty, or might be worried about letting someone down, explains Schmitten.

Also, if you’ve been constantly dreaming about dogs, chances are that there’s an underlying message there for you to get to the bottom of. See if you can figure out what’s going on with the dog in the dream, and how it might relate to your current reality. Because, if something keeps showing up in your dream, there’s a good chance it’s appearing in your waking life too.

Lucy Pearson
Lucy Pearson is a freelance writer, book blogger and host of The Bondi Literary Salon based in Bondi. Read more
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