Can Dogs Sense Danger? Strange Senses You Didn’t Know Your Dog Had

Can Dogs Sense Danger? Strange Senses You Didn’t Know Your Dog Had

Written By Amica Graber

Jan 9, 2017

If you stood in a room of dog owners and asked them if their dogs had a sixth sense, chances are that one of them would have a story to tell.

From sensing storms to travelling thousands of miles to find their owners, some dog senses can be explained by science — and some remain a mystery.


Can Dogs Sense Bad People?

Dog protects owner from robber | Source

Has your lovable pooch ever turned into Cujo around a stranger for no apparent reason? It may seem strange — but it’s a well-known fact that dogs can pick up on stranger danger better than humans. 

Canines aren’t psychic, but they have remarkable senses. Trained service dogs can smell a dip in blood sugar in diabetic owners, and they can also sense a rapid heartbeat. Dogs can also smell pheromones in humans, which can help them identify emotions. All of these traits can make a dog decide someone is bad news well ahead of an incident taking place. 

Dogs are also fluent in body language. In the words of Cesar Millan, “Does the dog have a bad attitude or do you have a bad attitude?”

When humans are about to commit an act of violence, subtle changes take place in their body. They may sweat more, and their adrenaline spikes. Although a human won’t be able to detect these signals, it’s like an alarm going off for your fur-BFF.

All of this is explained by science. But how can we explain the natural disasters which dogs have been known to detect?


Can Dogs Sense Storms?

The sky is clear, and the sun is shining. But Fido is growling in your lap and growing more anxious by the minute. Suddenly, a clap of thunder echoes through your home, and it starts to rain. Did your dog sense a storm brewing?

Although it may seem like dogs have a preternatural ability to detect weather changes, your dog’s amazing foresight is down to enhanced senses that see, hear, and feel things that humans cannot.

Again, this is down to amazing senses. Dogs can pick up on a barometric pressure drop and the electrical signals that start to swirl before a thunderstorm. Although thunder may be miles away, a pup’s sensitive ears can hear it.


Can Dogs Sense Earthquakes?

Dog senses earthquake | Source

In 2011, Japanese residents reported weird behaviour in dogs before a huge earthquake occurred. This is nothing new. As far back as 373 BC, it was reported that animals, including dogs, evacuated the city of Helice before a giant earthquake ripped the city apart.

Scientists are still skeptical that dogs can predict earthquakes, but there’s a body of evidence that has shown similar reactions in dogs before most major seismic disasters. It’s possible that dogs can pick up on tiny waves of seismic activity that we can’t sense.


Can Dogs See Ghosts?


Believers in the supernatural are adamant that dogs can detect paranormal activity. If such things are real, it would make sense that dogs would be able to sniff out some bad juju. Pet owners have shared stories of their dogs barking ferociously at thin air, or cats refusing to go into some rooms in the house.

“There was a murder/suicide that had occurred at a house in our quiet neighborhood. One day about a month after it had happened, I was running with my dog around our neighborhood. She was running full speed ahead when all of a sudden she turned sharply to the side and just stopped in front of this house. She stood there and just stared at it. I had to literally drag her away. Freaked me right out,” a user told Buzzfeed.

A crime scene triggering a dog can be explained by the potential smell of blood, pheromones, and cleaning chemicals. But is there a scientific way to rationalize a dog “seeing” a ghost? Not yet. But if ghosts do exist, and  if dogs can sense energy disturbances, it’s possible that they could also see ghosts.


Can Dogs Sense Fear?


It’s not just an old wives’ tale — dogs really can smell fear. When someone is afraid, changes in the body that are imperceptible to humans are obvious to dogs. Fearful people sweat more, and the fear pheromone changes the scent of sweat.

Body language is perhaps the easiest way for a dog to read the emotions of someone who is afraid. A dog-phobic person may have stiff posture and stare intensely at the dog, which can simultaneously unnerve the animal. Often, this becomes a catch-22: a fearful person will continue to have negative experiences with dogs because the animal is reacting to their strange smells or intimidating body language.


Dogs And Psi Trailing


Have you ever watched the movie Homeward Bound? It seems a little far-fetched, right? Actually, stories of pets traveling thousands and thousands of miles to find their humans isn’t fiction. Homeward Bound was based on a true story, but pales in comparison to the story of Prince, the Irish war dog. 

When Private James Brown left Prince, the Irish Terrier/Collie mix, to fight in the trenches during World War I, the dog was inconsolable. Shortly after Brown left London, Prince ran away, and Brown’s wife sadly presumed that Prince had run off and died of a broken heart. Imagine Private Brown’s surprise when Prince turned up at his trench in the middle of France!

Somehow, the dog managed to travel, unattended, from London to Armentières, a staggering 154 miles away. Prince was adopted by Private Brown’s regiment and remained with his master for the duration of World War I. Both man and dog survived the war, and they happily lived out the rest of their days together in Britain. The story seemed so far-fetched, no one believed that it was true.

Has your dog ever detected a dangerous situation? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments.