Canine Corner

The human-animal bond

Can Dogs Sense When Someone Is About to Die?

There is a persistent belief held by many people that dogs have some sort of "sixth sense" that allows them to sense when somebody is about to die. This is usually supported by anecdotal evidence that can be interesting and thought provoking. Read More

Can Dogs sense...

Interesting, since in India, where I live, there is such a belief and I do understand the 'characteristic howling' that the author of the letter refers to. When I was young and inquired my mom about this peculiar sound from a street dog, she explained to me that the 'God of Death' is visible to the Dog and he should be visiting somebody at that point of time.

Interesting, indeed.

Sundar

dog instincts

There is no reason to think that dogs can't sense the death of a loved one, especially one of thier own. I remember when my black lab wouldn't leave our golden retriever when she was sick and soon died. The lab knew.
For a great read on instincts, check out the new book, The Genius of Instinct: Reclaim Mother Natures Tools For Enhancing Your Health, Happiness, Family and Work (FT, April 2009)

My dad died recently in the

My dad died recently in the hospital at 4:00 am. The nurses changed the pajama he was wearing when he died for another one. Later that day, at home, when my mom took out the pajama from the bag, the family dog jumped on it and started to bark. She had never done anything like that before. Maybe when a person died there is a special smell that dogs can detect.

Golden Retriever are the best

Golden Retriever are the best dog where you can do lots of things with them, like sports, watch tv.etc.

This happened with my grand dad and grand uncle

It is true that dogs howl prior to a death.
On both accounts my grandmother heard the howling and said, 'This isn't a good sign; someone close is going to die'. She was right within 1 day a close family member had unexpectedly passed on.

There are some things we cannot explain away with sicientific knowledge or rhetoric.

This is one of those things.

The Truth: Why Some Dogs Howl Before a Death

Animals have a high sense of smell and hearing which we already know. They hear, smell, and see things we cannot. Wolves howl to communicate w/ one another in the forest and dogs are from the family of wolves. This is why I suspect they howl at ambulances, assuming it's another animal howling ..not because it hurts their ears as some may say. But if anyone has heard a dog howl before, after, or during the demise of a human being ..they'll hear the howl is usually longer & more in depth. As if the dog is howling from pain. The reason some haven't heard dogs howl around a death, isnt because not all dogs are gifted ..but because not everyone who passes away has someone right by their side "from the other side" crying for them. I'll try to give an example. My 19 yr old son laid on the pavement covered w/ a yellow tarp and a fatal bullet wound to the head. The police had his body there for the past 6,7 hrs while they investigated the scene. Finally around 4 am the city morgue van came to pick his body up. By then, the huge crowd had dwindled away and few family members and friends were left. There were 2 males and 3 officers at my son's location. Where I was at there still stood one officer, and then six ppl by my side. As soon as the men has lift the tarp off of my son's body we heard a loud scream then wailing above us that rippled through the night air. It was so loud yet 2 ppl w/ me and those by my son couldn't hear a thing! The officer next to me, myself, and others stood confused and shocked! Then I broke down again knowing it was either my son or someone close to us on the 'other side' crying out in grief. After about 40 seconds, one of the dogs in that neighborhood broke out howling w/ the wailing he obviously also heard. Then, we couldnt hear the wailing anymore. The next day, everyone, except myself and my son's godmother who heard the wailing and dog howling ..blew us away when they couldn't remember anything! Even her daughter whom was going crazy looking above in windows trying to make sense of it all! And that wasnt the end of all the remarkable things that happened in the following wks but my point is ..that's when I realized WHY I've heard dogs howl twice in my life around death.

My Grandmother suffered a

My Grandmother suffered a horrible death from cancer and she was under home hospice care the night she died. I stepped out on the porch for some air when suddenly I heard a pack of dogs howling in the distance. They sounded as if they were in pain. About the same time the howling began, someone came out and said my Grandmother had passed. The dogs stopped howling not long after that.

Another time that I heard of dogs howling as a sign of death was when my mother died when I was 11 (I'm now in my 40's). We lived several states away from my grandparents. My Grandmother had told us that during the week before my Mother died, her dog sat under their window and howled every night until after my Mother passed.

Neither of the dogs in these instances knew my dying relatives, but yet they still howled at their passing.

Neighbours dog howlin

My wife and I would sit on the porch during the evening. The neighbours dog,1/4 mile away, would howl, that long mournful sound. I remarked , several times to my wife, that someone was going to die. We shrugged it off. My wife died of a sudden heart attack.

My sister related a story of her husbands father , he died in the hospital, when they came home from the hospital, a lady at the house said I can tell you the time your father died. The fathers dog started to howl at the time of the fathers death.

There is a world or a dimension around us that we do not understand , but according to scripture, it does exist. I can only imagine how an animal can relate to that, something is happening that we will only understand when we die.

My adopted lab howls when my relatives die.

I have an 4 yr old golden lab named Bently we justed adopted who howls when my relatives die. My dog Bently hardly even barks. One month ago in the middle of the night Benty starts howling. My wife said where she grew up in S Carolina that meant that someone in our family has died. My great aunt died on that same evening he was howling. I wouln'nt writing about this but it happened again. Early on July 18th Bently started howling again as he did three weeks earlier, my tepmoms mother died within the same time period that Bently was howling so amazing. I hope he doesn't howl again for a while.

My adopted lab howls when my relatives die.

I have an 4 yr old golden lab named Bently we justed adopted who howls when my relatives die. My dog Bently hardly even barks. One month ago in the middle of the night Benty starts howling. My wife said where she grew up in S Carolina that meant that someone in our family has died. My great aunt died on that same evening he was howling. I wouln'nt writing about this but it happened again. Early on July 18th Bently started howling again as he did three weeks earlier, my tepmoms mother died within the same time period that Bently was howling so amazing. I hope he doesn't howl again for a while.

How do dogs sense death?

My aunty used to tell us about this when we were kids but I had no knowledge or experience (or belief?) of it. However, after spending a few days on and off sitting with my dying grandmother, it was apparent that her time was very nearly up. I suddenly heard a dog barking outside just as she died. I hadn't heard any dogs bark throughout the whole time I was there but the very few moments before she was declared dead, I was aware of this barking.
It wasn't a mournful barking - it sounded like a 'happy' kind? It stopped as soon as it started and I knew she was about to go.
I wonder if dogs can smell death on an evolutionary level i.e. for scavenging reasons perhaps. I really don't know. It may of course have been a coincidence too but the timing was very odd!

Our dog's howling...

Our dog's unusual howling is always been a mystery to me until I try to search from an internet to know some reasons. From what i have read, dog's howling is their way of communicating for other dogs in the neighborhood, another is because someone is about to die. I dont know if it is just a coincidence but the latter reason makes me feel curious so i keep an observation about it. So, last year it happened again (the howling), after that a couple of days had passed and someone in our neighborhood died. Recently, another unusual howling had occurred,it's been 3 consecutive days of howling and at the same time 3 consecutive deaths happened here. So, i really do believe that dog's have what they called "sixth sense".

dog howling before a death

My dog howled the most cryptic howl I ever heard him howl for 3 nights straight prior to my dad's death. After my dad passed he stopped.

Both my small dogs were howeling

Both my dogs kept howling for several days. My favorite has never howled in her life. I kept opening the front door to show them no one was there, They would stop for a while. My little favorite and my mom's favorite kept hanging around my mother which was unusual. She kept sniffing around my mom. She would always be in my home office with me. That day the aide and I walked my mother to the bathroom where she succumbed to death. It was unexpected. Days after my little favorite kept looking at the white walls, as though she saw spirits. this continued for about a week after my mother died. I was truly frightened at the whole event, as well as heartbroken about my mother's death.

Am i dying?

my dog is not that close to me.it is very close to my other family members. it is following me wherever i go. hearing all this ,i feel so scared.either its because the summer hols are over, and iam going back to hostel or am i DYING?..this scares me...

Reply to am I dying

The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself.All the worry can not help you face your fear.
Turn to the Lord God All Mighty, the one true and living God. God will give you peace. A scripture from the Bible to start with is John 3:16, then go to Isiah 26:3. God will keep you in perfect peace if you will trust Him. God Bless you

Dog howled before his death

A couple of weeks ago my dog howled for 3 straight nights in a row. My mother said that it always meant there was a death in the family. So on one Sunday evening, my brother took our dog for a walk and about 1/2 a mile down the road , our dog just stood still and dropped dead. It could have been a blood cloth or a heart attack. We knew then it was because he howled a death in the family was coming. Its sad but we didn't see it coming, and we were all in shock.

dogs have lived with humans

dogs have lived with humans for thousands of years, I am sure we relied on their heightened senses, and I am sure dogs seeing themselves as part of the pack provided valuable services we forget we needed.

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Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

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