Do Dogs Bark at Ghosts?
Some people explain that when dogs bark at empty yards and blank walls it is just normal canine behavior. They point out that dogs see things we are not attuned to. They point out that there is nothing paranormal about the behavior; dogs have a much better sense of hearing than we do and notice a lot more than we are able to. Some others just think they are afraid of the dark.
But do they see spirits? Are they barking at ghosts? Are dogs able to sense the residual energy left by former inhabitants? It is already known that dogs can sense cancer and detect oncoming seizures but most of the researchers that examine these dogs don’t think there is anything supernatural in those abilities. I´ve read several stories recently where dogs responded to events that may have been spirits. In the first story the dog reacted to a haze that could have been natural or could have been supernatural, the second story involved a dog barking at spirits that even the owner could hear, and the third took place in a campground in Canada where the dogs and the owner all saw the spirit before she disappeared.
Do some dogs bark differently?
A lot of dog owners who are in tune with their pets report that the “ghost” barking is different than the normal barking at strangers, stray cats, etc. The barking is more likely to be accompanied by whining, by tucking the tail between the legs, and instead of an attack bark is more likely an imploring type of bark, maybe asking the spirit to take part in the dog´s world. (Of course if the spirit wishes harm upon her human family maybe the dog would sense it and the barking would be more aggressive.)
If the dog is just excited because of her exceptional hearing she would not be barking in this way. The unusual barking is almost always reported as happening at night but there is no reason for dogs to be more excited at night since their vision is about the same at day or night.
Are ghosts only present in some cultures?
In some cultures, mostly those where people still live close to their dogs and are in touch with their feelings, dogs are believed to sense the presence of ghosts. This power may be much stronger on nights with a full moon. Cultures that accept the presence of ghosts realize that dogs and children are more in touch and see things we cannot.
Is it only human spirits that dogs are able to see? I buried my last dog on my property and have been told that this was a big mistake since my new dog would be sensitive to his spirit. If an animal is buried further away the spirit is not supposed to find its way home. This is not much of an issue in the city but I have talked to one person in the country that noticed odd behavior when her dog stood in front of her pet cemetery. Any type of “evidence” we can add will only be anecdotal but I would appreciate any comments in this area.
How can I tell if my dog is seeing a ghost?
There are no clear answers to this question. All I can tell you is to be observant. Patricia McConnell, the canine behaviorist, recommends that we watch our dogs’ facial expressions to better understand them; as we watch more we will notice the expressions they are making and are more likely to notice anything strange. I would recommend you be more observant of their barking. Notice the depth and the speed of the barking. Is it frenzied, an attempt to alert you, or just a sign of the dog noticing something new in her environment? If the abnormal activity is caused by a petit mal seizure you can report this to your veterinarian.
Barking, for whatever reason, does have a benefit. Everyone that walks by your house will know you have a dog!