Do Dogs Bark at Ghosts?

Updated on January 7, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Why do dogs bark at ghosts?
Why do dogs bark at ghosts? | Source

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.

Does your dog see ghosts?
Does your dog see ghosts? | Source

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.

Do some puppies bark differently when they see ghosts?
Do some puppies bark differently when they see ghosts? | Source

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.

Are dogs attracted to certain people, or just to spirits?
Are dogs attracted to certain people, or just to spirits? | Source

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!

Do big black dogs see more ghosts?
Do big black dogs see more ghosts? | Source

Do dogs bark at ghosts?

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    • profile image

      Taylor 2 weeks ago

      Hi im weirded out for the last 2 night between 10:30 and 11 my dog has been waking up from a dead sleep barking and growling at my roof fan and light she never done it before its that bad she is so scared to go back to sleep. The only she will is if i hug her and tell her she ok. She will not go or stay in my room now.

    • profile image

      Edwin 2 months ago

      Whenever I try to take a nap during the day my dog begins to bark and wakes me up. The dog barks, growls, whines and looks upwards as if something was hovering above me. The dog's action scares the hell out of me.

    • profile image

      Ik 2 months ago

      my dog often wake me in d mid night, I decided to check what's cause and later realized it iz a mere cat passing by. I recorded it and checked d next day and noticed some strange roaming dogs. Nothing weird happening at all.

    • profile image

      Shauna 5 months ago

      Well my dog has been barking at 3:00 am every single day for the past 40 days. Also it’s so weird that I can also see some creepy and weird things am i going crazy or not. But I feel that every single time after school I feel that a spirit is following me.

    • profile image

      Av 5 months ago

      My Dog barks regularly at 3 am continuously for half an hour by looking at field at same place

    • profile image

      Lou Hendricksen 2 years ago

      3 years ago I rented a 3 bedroom 2 bath home about 6 miles from my job at the hospital. My 9 year old chihuahua at that time would sit close to the hallway to the bedrooms and stare wagged his tail at nothing....after a year of living at the same house with the same behavior going on off an on----I made a decision to rescue a 2nd dog----the 2nd dog was a 8 month old female chihuahua that would do the same thing----at times both dogs would sit at the look down the hallway to the bedrooms and stare wagged their tail-----friends and family notice the same thing----(no one was at the bedrooms at the time) my grandmother passed away the same year different state) ----not sure if anyone passed away in the house I rented----

    • profile image

      Angel 3 years ago

      thanks for all the tips they were really helpful in many ways i'll keep my eyes open for ant thing different within my area

      Once again thanks...

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      We don't have dogs, but our cats sure notice when the spirit that still hangs around our house is active. They will all stop what they are doing, and stare down the hallway, at apparently "nothing." This even when there are not any other noises (such as the furnace or A/C cycling on) that could explain any such reason for their attention.

      My husband is a sensitive, and has experienced our ghost on several occasions.

      Often, we will notice that proverbial "cold spot" soon after the cats go on alert.

    • profile image

      Debbie 3 years ago

      My daughter's dog slipped out of the front door and was run over in the. street. He died somewhere between when we brought him into the house and when we arrived at the vet. His ashes are in her room upstairs. This dog loved to sleep next to the radiator pipe with his head in her sandal. We now have two 3 mo old puppies and one of them sleeps with his head in her sandal by the same pipe. She took a picture and caught an orb hovering next to him. The next night the other puppy started barking at her bedroom door into the hallway. Nothing was there but she grabbed a camera and snapped a picture in the same direction the dog was barking. The picture shows an orb with what looks like a tail due to movement coming through the bedroom door. A nanosecond after the camera flashed the barking puppy leaped over his littermate right into the area where the orb appeared on the photo. He also barks at the sofa where the previous dog would nap. There's an orb in some of the sofa pictures, too. This seems like a lot of orbs, but until now we're never had an orb appear in photos of this house. Now we have one photo with three orbs. Many people insist they are dust, and I'd be inclined to believe that except for the insistent barking of this puppy in the exact direction of where the orbs appear in photos.

    • nadinelopo profile image

      Nadine 3 years ago from ohio

      This was really interesting! I've asked myself a couple times when my dog appears to bark at nothing if she sees a ghost, but now i am going to pay closer attention!

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 3 years ago from California

      I always like the ghost stuff.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks Linda I just read your ghost truck story.

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 3 years ago from California

      I have no doubt that dogs and cats too can see ghosts. Actually, my dog Katie and I saw a ghostly truck in a cemetery. I know she saw it when I did, then she looked at me to see how I would react.

    • VJGSA profile image

      VJG 3 years ago from Texas

      My grandparents had a dog that would often look up and seem to follow someone walking by in their home. Of course there was no one there. He didn't growl, bark or rise into a defensive position. He simply lifted his head from where he lay and watched an invisible person walking across a room.

    • profile image

      Wayne 4 years ago

      Hi we recently just move to a new home and my pit bull stays outside in a cage well at our new place 3 years ago our land lords dad lived in the home he died in the home we moved into but after he died the home was vacated for 3 year well my dogs has acted strange the first day and he loves his cage now he just want to break out of it is this a sign of him seeing our land lords dads spirit?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks Kristy that is beautiful, and I am glad you told us about her.

    • profile image

      Kristy 4 years ago

      My dear mom passed away of ovarian cancer on 10/02/11. My mom owned a medium sized pit mix from the time she was a 12 weeks old. The following months leading up to my moms death Emma started acting stranger and stranger. There were only two places in the house she acted strange. A corner at the entry way into the house and a space in the living room. She would act unsure, scared, bark, if her bowl was in that spot she refused to eat/drink. Everyone noticed her strange behavior....even the hospice nurse made a comment that she was watching something in the air. She would follow something across the room with her she was watching it. The day my mom died it stopped. Emma has not had this strange behavior again.....and will eat her food at these spots again. I believe she saw the angles that were there waiting for my mom. Thank you for letting me tell our story.

    • profile image

      Sarra Garrett 5 years ago

      I was talking about my sister who is in heaven to a friend of mine one day and while we were talking my dogs started to stare at the lamp on my end table tilting their heads then started to bark. The lamp wasn't new and there was nothing there such as shadows (it was daylight). I do believe that my sister was 'visiting' me and the dogs saw her. It hasn't happened since. Yes, dogs can see spirits that humans can't see.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Who knows, right? Good reason to hide.

    • profile image

      TheFranko 5 years ago

      Awesome hub! My dog doesn't bark at something that I can't see but sometimes it's scared of something and hides beneath my legs when I'm sitting at the desk (so far I haven't seen or heard anything suspicious or ghost-like but who knows what's inside of my house). :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for the comment. I just went by your site too. You have an interesting collection!

    • James Peters profile image

      James Timothy Peters 5 years ago from Hammond, Indiana

      This is a GREAT HUB. I know the EXACT person I'm going to share this with.

      Thumbs & More!

      Write On!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for the visit Nicole.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Interesting hub! I always find this topic interesting!

    • profile image

      Jason Kessenich 5 years ago

      Very cool to see my image being used (the chained up dog).

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Several years ago we lived in a house with a stairs outside. Sometimes my wife was sure she heard footsteps coming up but no body was there. One time we had an overnight guest that asked us if our house was haunted. The dog did not bark but did sniff around the door. There was a ravine running through the back of our property and I think some sounds carried over from the other side.

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 5 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      Nice one

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Wow, I will have to check that out've heard of the book. Thanks!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      CR Rookwood,

      A similar experience is narrated by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas in her much criticised book 'The Hidden Life of Dogs' that was published in 1990s.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      lol! My Malamute is like that too. And sometimes, he just isn't interested in the same things we are. They have a reputation for being hard to train, but I didn't think he was hard to train--he does have opinions though.

      I do have a shivery story about Malamutes though. My dog used to to live with three other Malamutes and a mutt. One of the Malamutes had cancer and had to be put down. The owner took the dog to the vet to be euthanized, and at the very moment of death, all three of the other dogs (who were back at home, including the mutt), starting howling in this high, eerie way. It was like they were saying good-bye.

      I know people read a lot of stuff into their dog's behavior, but I tend to believe that story, having lived with this big Nordic dog for seven years now. They are so amazing.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Replace the word ghosts and spirits with ETs (Aliens) and I will agree. If aliens are secretly visiting earth, dogs are surely better off than us seeing and feeling their presence. My dog, however, barks only at rabbits and strangers from inside the home. When outside, he drools at rabbits and shows extreme furiousness at certain suspicious characters.

      It is an informative and well written hub.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I´m glad you let me know about your Malamute. When I was younger I raised Siberians and I do not think they would bark if the ghost of Christmas Past showed up. They were good dogs though.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      My dog is a Malamute so he rarely barks, but he does 'talk' and howl sometimes. He doesn't seem to see spirits, or maybe he's just not that interested in them. My cat, on the other hand, does seem to see them, or see something that we can't.

      I tried your psychic test on my dog and he either wasn't interested or he failed the test. He can tell when either of us is coming home though, way before he could possibly hear the car. So that's cool. Enjoy your hubs and your perspective, thanks!

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      I will eagerly await your divine wisdom!


    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Former owner (master) =residual energy? Are they seeing residual energy? That is a good idea I will include a capsule with a poll.

      (Just finished reading your latest hub but won´t comment until tomorrow.)

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      It makes me wonder if a dog could sense a reincarnated former master (partner)?

      I hesitate to use the term master as I have never felt ownership of another animal.

      Dogs rely on their ability to perceive body language and emotion from humans why not spirits.

      Give us a poll and let us vote, I will say that most people believe they are capable of recognizing spirits.

      What is your vote yes or no . . . make a stand Slacker!


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