by Clide Hob (guest blogger)
*Names of dogs have been changed to protect their privacy.
I’m sure we all remember the case of Scooby Doo and the Phony Fortune Teller. In that episode Scooby, dressed as a fortune teller, was only trying to catch that villain. But for a long time some people have attributed psychic abilities to dogs. Scientists have offered many reasons to explain away this suspicion but it’s this article’s contention that there are some examples not so easily brushed aside. Let’s take a look at what scientists say and some examples of their reasoning. Finally, some examples of dog intuition not so easily explained by that reasoning will be offered up, in the case of – Is Your Dog Psychic?
The idea dogs might be psychic has been around a long time. Even in antiquity people had suspicions when a dog realized an earthquake was coming before anyone else; or that a person was going to have a heart attack – some cultures believe dogs can see the specter of Death. There are many examples of dogs knowing well before hand of expectant mothers going into labor or of epileptics having seizures. I had two German Shepherds that could recognize the unique sound of our car engines.
Science has gone a long way in explaining the above. They now believe the relationship between dogs and humans is/was closer than ever previously suspected.
Scientists now believe the bond between humans and dogs is much older than ever suspected and that we kind of co-evolved together, creating an almost symbiotic relationship and that neither we nor dogs would be the same today had the other not been present.
A great deal of the dog’s development has been dedicated to understanding humans. Dogs have a section of their brain totally dedicated to human faces – understanding our emotional state just from facial expressions. Dogs can know how you’re feeling before your loved ones do. They also are experts at our body language and as communication can be 75-90% non-verbal this gives them an advantage. Another part of their brain is dedicated to smell and scientists believe they pick up clues about us from such things as our pheromones; I sure you’ve heard, “They can sense fear.” They can also hear things on the sound spectrum we cannot. All the above can create circumstances to make one suspect a dog is psychic. So the kill joy scientists win again? This article promised examples outside reasoning of science – so let’s go! Just for the record, I believe more in dogs’ psychic ability than I do in any human’s. The “psychics” I’ve seen are charlatans and con men out for a buck. We don’t have to argue though if you believe otherwise. I recognize it’s an unfalsifiable proposition and who knows? – maybe they are out there. But back to our canine friends.
A little while ago, I saw an experiment on a science show (a real science show, can’t remember which), where they took a man’s dog, Buster, and put him in a pen outside the house with cameras on him. Inside, they moved the man to a room where there was no visible access to the dog. After the dog had calmed down and was just lying there, they instructed the man to start imagining taking the dog for a walk. This dog had no access to his aforementioned “people skills”, but nonetheless he became greatly agitated and started running around and jumping up on the fence, seemingly expecting that walk. They repeated this over time with similar results. How could Buster know?
A couple had an older dog, Cliff, who had grown listless and seemed not to be enjoying life as he had in his youthful days. The couple privately spoke of euthanasia, and low and behold Cliff immediately perked up and became the puppy-like dog they’d always known. An aside – I feel bad for Cliff as he had to put an act on to keep from getting sent to that fire hydrant in the sky.
A woman reported she could think of a Frisbee, with no other outward signs; she even laid on the couch feigning sleep and thought about Frisbees and invariably Baron would be standing at the door, Frisbee in mouth waiting to go. In a similar story a man had only to think about cheese and his Rottweiler Dolly Parton II would be jumping around in front of the ‘fridge. It should be noted this only worked with cheese (an extra sharp cheddar I believe.) A woman took her dog, Mr. Corn Fritter, on the same walk every day. On this walk was a left hand turn she didn’t usually take but would lead her to the veterinarian. At work she made an appointment at the vet and figured she’d just take her pooch to the vet during the walk. No go. Corn Fritter wouldn’t budge from the living room that day and the woman had to drag the otherwise enthusiastic dog into her car for his checkup.
These examples, admittedly, are second hand, so here’s one from my personal experience. I put my dog, Socrates, out in the fenced in yard and he was taking his sweet old time. He decided to put some quality time in smelling the breeze. I could see him out the door from my chair. His back was to me and the screen (one of those mesh ones with the magnets) was closed. In his position he could not see me. I started to get impatient as I had an errand to run. Earlier I had given him half a treat. I thought to myself, If I said, “Hey boy do you want the other half of that treat?” he’d come in. No sooner had the thought entered my mind than Socrates sprang to his feet, ran in and sat under the shelf with the treats. That’s not his regular coming in routine – he knew, he knew.
Perhaps there is a scientific reason for these examples but I can’t think of it. Do you have any examples of extra sensory perceptions in your Pooch? Leave a comment. In the meantime, make with the Powerball numbers, Socrates!
Source Jessica Pierce, Ph.D. Psychology Today