What do golden retrievers dream about?

Last week on a long drive home I noticed my dog had what appeared to be a nightmare. Which had me thinking “what do golden retrievers dream about?”. I mean, can they even have dreams?

I and my partner were debating the other week about whether a dog can really dream or not. I believed that they could and he took the opposite vote to mine (of course).


This is what led me to research this topic, but then I thought hey, why not share this with everyone in the community too. Today I’ll share everything I learned from the research about whether your dog really dreams, has nightmares as well as a few tips for handling a dog thats asleep.

Who am I?

Hey, my name is Rachel Summers a today I’m going to share the answer to where you golden retrievers dreams and if so what they dream about. We are going to dig into the science behind why dreams occur and see if the same methodology applies to dogs too.

If your a dog lover or just a curious reader, then stick around as this will be one of the most interesting pieces of content that you’ll ever read on the internet. Without any further ado, let’s get stuck in and see what I was able to find out from researching on whether dogs dream or not…

What do golden retrievers dream about?

The information that I actually found appeared to be quite interesting. Although dog brains and human brains are quite different in the grand scheme of things there are also a lot of similarities.

One of them is the capability of being able to have a photographic memory or photographic projection. There is no absolute cement evidence on exactly what golden retrievers dream about. From looking at the data from a human dream, it’s safe to say that they are dreaming of past and future experiences.

Past experiences are just past events or activities that have already happened and caused you to replay the event in your mind. Future projections work in the same way but are built up of experiences that you have had in the past that form a future that you have specifically designed. The same applies to dogs when they are thinking of something that hasn’t happened yet.

How to know when your dog is dreaming

How to know when your golden retriever is dreaming. An easy way to identify when your golden retriever is dreaming is… By the fact that they will appear to be scratching and sniffing in a very dramatic way.

Now you could be across the other side of the room or even in another room totally. You may hear this and going to see what they’re up to. Only to find them completely asleep. And it does happen, believe me.

There have been a few times now that I found Bella doing just that. And now, because I’m able to identify a little better I always know when she’s doing it.

Do all breeds dream?

Yes, other dogs can also appear to be dreaming from time to time. If your dog is dreaming, then it can be easily identified by scratching and sniffing noise with an erratic movement of the head. Almost like a jerking movement.

When I shared this post on Facebook asking for if anyone had experienced the same thing. I had over 57 other parents message me explaining that they had witnessed the same thing.

Can dogs have nightmares?

There’s no hardcore evidence to say that golden retrievers can dream or have nightmares. However,  if they are having dreams “then what makes you think that they can’t have nightmares?”. A nightmare is just a bad or negative projection of the mind. In theory, this means that a nightmare is nothing more than a bad dream.

So yes I truly believe that dogs can experience what we call a nightmare too. Which is why I believe that my dog has different reactions in behavior to different projection in her mind when she’s asleep at home.


Do dog’s dreams in black and white?

Well, we all know that dogs see partially in color. Or you can say just plain or black and white. I hate to say just black and white because there is a little more to it than that. If we want to classify as that for this post then so be it. Anyway,  golden retrievers and any other dogs will dream in the same way they perceive the world.

This means that when you see your dog dreaming they’re probably projecting an image that seems realistic to their brain. The only thing that seems realistic to our brain are usually things that we have witnessed with the naked eye.

How does a dog’s dream look?

Just like our dreams are very relative to what we class as reality. It is exactly the same way that is projected inside of a dog’s brain.  

It’s really interesting to understand the fact that whilst you’re dreaming your dog could be too. Maybe you’re dreaming about each other or maybe you’re not. But it would be great if you could see them too.

What Do Golden Retrievers Dream About-facts

Is there anything to worry about?

Personally, I would say there’s nothing to worry about if you see a dog dreaming. Let them enjoy the moment. As it’s probably for filled with chasing birds and cats. Running after the postman or a dog kingdom full of food. Who knows?  we could even go as far as saying that they dream about ruling the world.

And walking us humans around as if we were there pets. Crazy to think about but shows you my imagination. But I do think I actually came across that one time in an episode of The Simpsons. The only time I would say if there is anything to worry about is if you see your dog having a bad experience.

Can you wake a dog when they are dreaming?

If you do decide to wake them up during this time. Then you need to be aware that they may be under the impression that they’re still in a dream. Make sure to proceed with caution

As you do not want them to get up and mistake you for someone else. Because that could end up with them nipping or taking a chunk out of you depending on how their bites are.

To avoid any of that just simply leave them to it. That’s what I do and it never causes any problems. I mean seriously,  would you like to be woken up out of the dream. How do you respond when someone wakes you up out of a nightmare?. Exactly, well you can expect your dog to be the same way. That means, don’t go round trying to wake dogs when they’re asleep, as you may get an unpleasant welcome.

What you should do if you see your dog dreaming

There is nothing that you need to be doing if you see your dog dreaming. I tend to sit there and watch my dog (Bella) for hours. But, as I explained every dog is different. Make sure to be careful if you wake them up whilst having a nightmare. 

There are no specific problems that have been reported to this day with dreaming and dogs. So just let them be as you would like to be if you were dreaming too.


There is still currently no specific scientific evidence to defend the fact that dogs have dreams. It’s merely an assumption based on comparisons of the human brain and the dog’s brain. As well as other comparisons that have been made two other animals.

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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