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Do Your Dogs Have a Sixth Sense About People?

When my dogs see someone they don't like, they react right away. Do your dogs have this instinct?

 |  Jun 27th 2013  |   10 Contributions


We’ve all heard the stories of a dog pacing around the house an hour or more before a storm arrives. We’ve heard the stories of wild animals heading for higher ground right before a tsunami comes ashore. Is it because their bodies feel differently at that moment? Is it their keen sense of hearing that allows them to hear the noises of a storm well before humans can? Or is it their overall sense of knowing?

Do our dogs have a sixth sense?

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Woody and his favorite guy

Dogs, like humans, have five basic senses –- sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Dog senses are more heightened than human senses. Their sight is much more keen and able to detect things better in the dark. A dog’s sense of smell is up to 10,000 times better. Humans win the contest for taste, with around 9,000 taste buds as compared with only 1,700 for dogs. Dogs are on par with humans, though, when it comes to the sense of touch. Dogs use the sense of touch as one method to communicate with one another and with their human counterparts. A dog’s hearing is approximately the same as a human’s when it comes to distance and quality. However, a dog can pick up much higher frequencies.

However, what I’m referring to in this article goes past all this. I’m talking about the sixth sense, and how dogs use it at all times.

First, what exactly is a sixth sense?

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I know I like the barista at Starbucks

According to Roget's Thesaurus, a sixth sense is the power to discern the true nature of a person or situation. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, a sixth sense is a keen intuition, a term that alludes to a sense in addition to the five physical senses.

Dr. Vint Varga, DVM, states that animals are sensitive. Dr. Varga explains that sensitivity is a state of being aware and responsive to our world and those around us, as well as to ourselves. To do so, of course, we must draw from our senses -– what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, touch, taste and smell, and even feel in our gut. Our senses don’t paint the full picture but merely a fragment of all that exists.

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I know the lawn mower guy is coming soon

My belief is that all living creatures have a sixth sense, humans and animals included. Some of us refer to it as a “gut” feeling. Some, who work with the chakras, know that the solar plexus chakra, where the “gut” is located, is the center of all-knowing. Some experience this gut feeling as an overall knowing. I believe that the only difference between a dog’s sixth sense and a human’s sixth sense is in trusting what’s received. Dogs are more open to trust how they feel, never doubting what it is or where it comes from. Thus, they act upon those feelings accordingly. They’ll sometimes move away from a situation that doesn’t feel right. Sometimes they bark at the person who is giving off a “negative vibe.” Basically, they trust what they feel, whereas we sometimes ignore our gut feelings.

I know for certain my dog, Dusty, has a sixth sense when it comes to people with negative energy. It seems the weirder that someone acts, the more she is inclined to bark at them. We like to say that Dusty has an internal “weird vibe detector.” It really doesn’t matter the race, gender or age of the person. If they are not experiencing a good moment in their lives, she will detect it within a split second.

Yesterday afternoon we pulled up next to a car parked in front of a local sandwich shop. We noticed that all the windows were rolled down and two girls, approximately 12 years of age, were sitting in the back seat. My wife and I really thought nothing of it but Dusty immediately began barking and yelping in the direction of the two girls. My wife managed to distract Dusty with a treat as I glanced at the two girls. I noticed that each of them had an unhappy look on their faces and didn’t seem at all like they wanted to be there. I went into the sandwich shop and noticed a woman in line in front of me. She didn’t seem happy to be there and seemed to be rushing the worker making the sandwich. Finally the woman apologized and stated that her daughters were waiting for her and weren’t happy that she had stopped for sandwiches. They instead wanted to get to the pool and skip their lunch.

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On the look out for people parking near my car.

The very next evening we all went out for ice cream. Of course, Dusty goes most everywhere with us and never misses an opportunity for her own small sampling of doggie ice cream. It’s actually the same frozen custard that we eat, except it comes with a dog biscuit inserted in the cup. We pulled into the parking spot and I proceeded to get out of the car to fetch the ice cream custard for us. Before I could step out of the car, a family pulled up next to us and parked their car. In the car were a husband, wife and two young girls sitting in the back. The family were all smiles, laughing. They seemed excited to be there together getting their frozen treats. On this occasion, feeling the positive energy emitting from the family, Dusty began to wag her little nubby tail. Dusty was very pleased that they were there, having fun and enjoying life. Dusty wagged her nubby tail a little faster when the family recognized her and commented on how beautiful she was.

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Is it time for some puppy ice cream?

My recommendation to everyone is to trust your feelings, your very own sixth sense. Whenever you’re in doubt of your own feelings, pay attention to how your dog is acting. They will definitely let you know if something or someone feels weird.

Has your dog reacted differently right before a major natural disaster? Does your dog react to people that seem to be in a bad mood? Do you notice how your dog tries to alert you to someone or something that doesn’t seem quite right? Let us know in the comments!

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