Do Dogs Have a Sixth Sense?
November 9, 2017
Have you ever suspected Baxter was a secret genius? You might not just be playing proud paw-rent. It turns out dogs may have a sixth sense...of sorts. Before you dismiss the idea, consider these three reasons we think it's possible.
Social Smarty Pups
Ever notice your dog comes to comfort you when you're feeling down? Or that he is extra playful when you're feeling happy and upbeat? According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can read human facial expressions and cues. MRI studies have shown dogs can understand human emotions based on the sounds we make. As a social creature, your dog's in tune with his pack!
Dogs don't just have a sixth sense about their owners. In fact, they are skilled at discerning the intentions of complete strangers as well. In one study conducted at the University of Milan, dogs could separate "good guys" from "bad guys". After observing people behaving either kindly or rudely to one another, dogs were more likely to approach the people who used a friendly tone of voice. So the next time your pup gives someone the cold shoulder, it could be because he's not hearing neighborly vibes.
Dogs can be highly attuned to changes in the atmosphere. The noted canine researcher Dr. Stanley Coren studied whether or not dogs can hear seismic activity prior to earthquakes. He found their ability to hear higher frequencies meant they were responding to seismic activity before humans could. With their keen senses, dogs can also hear thunder and smell oncoming rain long before you can. If your dog is anxious during thunderstorms, his restless behavior may start before you know bad weather is on its way.
Although your dog's five senses may not include an actual sixth sense, it's still important you understand what your pup does experience. You can even learn how to decode your dog's sounds and behaviors by keeping a journal of uncharacteristic behavior. Write down instances when your dog's senses may be kicking in to see if you notice patterns or particular strengths. You might discover your dog is as accurate as your favorite weather service.