What Do Dogs Do When They Sense Danger?

Dogs have been considered as man’s best friend for hundreds of years. They have a lot to offer- they are loyal, affectionate, and make great companions.

They have also proved themselves very useful by completing certain jobs like protecting livestock, pulling heavy loads, rescuing people from water or mountains, and working with the police. 

There is another skill that dogs have – they have an amazing ability to sense danger. This is because their sense of smell is extremely strong and they also have excellent hearing.

If your dog senses danger their behavior will change and they will try to warn you in some way. In order to read your dog’s signals, you need to get a better understanding of what these changed behaviors are. 

Why Are Dogs So Good At Sensing Danger?

Many years ago, dogs were not domesticated animals. Our pets are descendants from wild dogs like wolves. These animals thrived in the wild, which means they had to be good at lots of different things.

They had to be good at hunting, finding shelter, and sensing danger so they could keep themselves safe.

Having an amazing sense of smell and hearing played a big part in this. The wild dogs who were most successful at avoiding danger survived and reproduced, and this continued until dogs were domesticated. 

Whilst science can explain most of a dog’s ability to sense danger, there are some things that even science can’t explain.

Some people say that dogs have a ‘sixth sense’ which allows them to know when bad things are about to happen. 

Detecting Health Issues

Dogs can be trained to alert their owners to urgent health problems, like a spike or a drop in blood sugar or an imminent seizure.

Even if your dog isn’t trained, they might still try to warn you if they sense a problem. This could involve excessively licking you in one particular area, or nudging that area with their nose. 

A dog’s sense of smell can also help them to detect when someone is suffering from a disease. You might notice your dog gravitate towards certain strangers in public areas or on public transport, and try to offer them comfort.

This could be because they can sense that person is not very well. Dog’s will usually understand when a woman is pregnant, as they can hear the baby’s heartbeat and sometimes smell the baby. 

Detecting An Intruder

Your dog’s keen sense of smell and excellent hearing will mean that they will know if there is an intruder in the house or if someone is on your property long before you do.

Your dog might try to warn you of this by growling or barking at a window or door. Dog’s see your family home and yard as their territory and they will want to defend it at all fiercely. 

But what if your dog bakers a lot anyway? How will you know when they are trying to warn you about something?

Usually, if your dog is warning you of danger they will bark from the bottom of their lungs- it’s a deep bark, and will probably be lower than usual. 

Alerting You To An Urgent Threat

Your dog will be able to smell dangerous things like a gas leak or a fire much sooner than you will. If your dog becomes aware of this kind of danger, they will try to warn you of the urgent threat to your safety.

They will likely display much more frantic behavior – they could run around in circles, possibly barking or yelping in a distressed way. They might also try to nudge you or guide you out of the house.

Some dogs might display this behavior when they sense a storm coming, so check the weather forecast just in case.

If you live in an area that gets earthquakes or tornados then your dog might be warning you about an imminent extreme weather event. 

Growling At A Stranger

If you are out with your dog, perhaps on a walk, and they begin growling at a stranger, it is probably because they have a bad feeling and they want to keep you safe.

The best course of action is to stay away from that person and try to walk in a different direction. Your dog might be picking up on a danger that you won’t notice until it is too late.

Even if that individual isn’t dangerous, your dog could become aggressive or frightening in their attempt to protect you so it is best to keep your distance. 

Protecting Children

If you have children then there is a good chance that your dog will be very protective of them. If your dog thinks that your children are in danger then they will try to alert you, or they might even take action themselves.

Dogs have been known to jump into water to help children who they thought were in trouble, or to intervene when children are playing too rough because they think they are fighting.

If your dog is trying to get your attention then you should check on your children straight away. There was a family dog called Duke who ended up on CNN for saving the life of a baby.

He noticed that the baby was not breathing so he ran into the parent’s bedroom and woke them up, jumping on them repeatedly until they woke up and checked on the baby.

They called the paramedics immediately and the baby’s life was saved. 

What If There Is No Danger?

Some dogs might be over sensitive and perceive certain things as a danger when they aren’t. This doesn’t mean that you should punish them, just reassure them that there is no danger by comforting them.

Remember that your dog will pick up on things that you don’t, so it is always best to check before you dismiss their warning.

Check for signs of an electrical fire or food left in the oven, check that the other people in the house are safe and well, and check the weather forecast. 

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