Have you ever experienced a time when a dog is just staring into space as if there’s someone there? Or perhaps your dog is running towards something, barking at something you can’t see? Why do you think dogs would sometimes bark at something that seems invisible? Or might there be ghosts lurking?
Over the years, there are numerous videos and documentations of dogs who allegedly see spirits or other entities.
However, films and television programs are tricky things – aside from the fact that they deal mainly with fiction, they can easily convince you to believe in their stories.
Can science confirm or disprove this theory about dogs? If not, what are the possible explanations?
Scientific studies can confirm that dogs have an unparalleled sense of smell, hearing, and the ability to detect slight movements from a good distance.
Dogs can also sense a person’s mood or energy. They can sense sorrow, fear, and happiness; and you will see them act upon these certain moods.
Therefore, it is also possible that they could sense energies coming from other people within the building, apartment, or neighborhood.
If they sense negative energy, it could trigger their curiosity and cause them to bark and become suddenly distressed, leading their owners to wonder whether their dogs are seeing ghosts.
Similarly, if a neighbor or a passerby is carrying something with a strange odor, it could also be a barking trigger for dogs.
Another explanation is their attachment to a certain spot because of good memories with their departed human or a family member.
The human scent may linger on furniture and fabrics; and when their dog gets a whiff of their scent, they could mistakenly believe that their human has come home.
A dog’s loneliness and anxiety can cause them to become more alert to their human’s return.
Because of their heightened senses, they could hear faint sounds coming from afar and mistake them for their human’s vehicle or other familiar sounds.
Unpleasant memories or trauma can also make them jumpy and moody, causing them to growl out of nowhere and be misunderstood.
People who strongly believe in ghosts and supernatural things are more inclined to believe that dogs can see ghosts simply because it supports their own belief.
In addition, people who just recently lost a loved one are also more willing to believe because it gives them comfort. As humans, it is easier to believe in something that affirms your belief and gives you reassurance.
Dogs are intelligent creatures.
If they recognize a pattern with a desirable outcome, they would remember it and repeat it.
Therefore, it is also possible that they would bark at a frame or a plant because it elicits laughter from you and not because they could see spirits.
Dogs are also known to have a strange fear for certain objects, particularly small ones such as stuffed toys, kittens, and insects.
These certain fears may draw out strange behavior in anticipation or paranoia, causing humans to misinterpret their actions.
The truth is, even though there is no scientific proof that dogs can see spirits, some people would still choose to believe it because it’s easier to believe in the supernatural than to search for plausible explanations.
Old wives’ tales and superstitions are also contributing factors to this belief because people are more willing to believe their elders out of respect, especially in religious countries.
There is no possible way to confirm whether or not dogs can see actual ghosts unless we can get them to talk in an interview.
Therefore, the answer lies in human perception. People will choose to believe it if they want to. Otherwise they will simply shrug it off and eventually forget about it.