5 min read


Can Dogs See Paranormal Activity?



5 min read


Can Dogs See Paranormal Activity?


Have you ever experienced a moment where you swear there was another person in the room, yet no one was there? Maybe it was an unexplained shadow, maybe it was a random whisper in an empty room, or maybe it was cabinets opening and closing while you were home alone that gave you goosebumps and a racing heart.

Whether fact or fiction, it is a common perception that dogs have a sixth sense that connects them to the paranormal. Has your dog ever left you wanting to make a run out the door because they are growling at the wall when you can’t see anything there? The possibility that our canines can sense an invisible presence, perhaps a late friend or relative, can be comforting and/or frightening.

So, do they have a sixth sense that allows them to connect to spirits? Can they physically see ghosts when we can’t? Let’s take a deeper look at a dog’s senses when it comes to unearthly occurrences.  


Signs of Dogs Seeing Paranormal Activity

One crucial factor to keep in mind before jumping to conclusions about what your dog sees is that dogs’ senses differ from those of humans. A canine companion’s senses are much keener than its owner’s.

  • A dog’s smell is 10,000 times more powerful than a human’s.
  • A dog’s sense of sight is better at dawn and dusk than that of humans.
  • Dogs have the advantage of identifying moving objects better than humans can, stemming from a need to spot and hunt prey to survive in the wild.
  • A dog’s range of hearing has a frequency 3-22,000 Hz higher than that of humans depending on breed and whether they have floppy ears or cupped ears that stand straight up for better hearing advantages.
  • Dogs can hear higher pitched sounds.

These acute perceptions cause heightened sensitivity for our furry friends and are very likely the source of your pooch’s perceived ‘sixth sense.’ Having the ability to see more shadows and hear more noises allows a dog to be more aware of the surroundings than you are. 

Dogs may see in more muted colors; however, they have a much wider field of vision than we do that allows them to see moving objects and things at a distance more distinctly than we can. With that being said, situations in which a dog may be barking at a wall can truly allude to a dog sensing something it isn’t used to (a random shadow, the sound of pipes in the wall, etc.); therefore, their protective instincts kick in and they become wary and act more cautiously.

Signs of your dog seeing paranormal activity can vary. If the dog sees something that intimidates it, its body language will be more aggressive than if it is just something that is new to the dog. Typical behavioral signs include growling, staring, alertness, barking, head tilting, whining, guarding, shaking, cowering, tail wagging, jumping around, wide eyes, pacing, and raised ears. 

Body Language

<p>Here are some signs you may notice if your dog sees paranormal activity and is excited by it (possibly a lost loved one or a playful child, etc.):</p>

  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Jumping Up
  • Wag Tail
  • Raise Ears

Other Signs

<p>Other signs that your dog sees paranormal activity and is intimidated/ scared are:</p>

  • Alert
  • Cowering Away From Something Invisible
  • Shaking
  • Guarding You
  • Whining
  • Barking At Thin Air
  • Staring At A Random Area
  • Growling
  • Pacing
  • Wide Eyes
  • Ignoring You

History of Dogs Seeing Paranormal Activity


The notion that dogs can see paranormal activity naked to the human eye has been around for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians and Chinese believed that animals had an open line of communication between late gods and goddesses. 

It is without a doubt that the history of a dog comes into play a great deal when talking about their sensitivity to the afterlife. Dating back 20,000 years ago, dogs’ longest descendants, the grey wolves, had to fend for themselves in the wild. Being alert to sounds, smells, and sights that were out of the ordinary were a wolf’s way of surviving. Dusk and dawn are great hours for prey to get caught; therefore, a wolf’s vision is better during those hours as it needs to catch its food, yet keep from being eaten itself. 

The same goes with its ability to see shadows better than humans, as we aren’t trying to stay away from our predators. This is why our furry best friends have heightened senses and can detect things that we cannot.

One dog owner spoke about walking his dog on several paths that led down to a nearby sandy shore on a daily bases. His dog loved to accompany him and would trot out in front of him, exploring the new smells. He adored all but one of the courses. 

About halfway down this specific trail, his dog would freeze, stare at this bush, and let out growls that the owner had never heard. It was later discovered by the owner that a student’s body had been found at that particular spot a few years prior. 

Another example is from multiple witnesses of dogs that would all flock to a certain spot every day soon after the death of their owner. They would all be wagging their tails and rolling over on their bellies as if being pet. After about half an hour, they would all disperse and go back to doing what they had been before ‘visiting their owner’.

Science of Dogs Seeing Paranormal Activity


To ease your anxiety, scientists have been researching the topic of a dog’s ability to sense supernatural occurrences for several hundred years. Science hasn’t been able to prove that a dog has this ‘sixth sense’, not yet at least. There is no solidified scientific evidence proving that dogs can see ghosts. After all, how can we prove something that we cannot physically see ourselves?

It has been proven that dogs have sharper senses than humans, which allows them to see things we cannot, such as shadows and movement. These heightened senses are the explanation behind their strange behaviors that are displayed when we cannot detect anything out of the ordinary – such as barking at walls or growling at a corner of the room. It is left undetermined whether those shadows are caused by objects in nature, or if they are spirits of the afterlife.

Training Dogs to See Paranormal Activity


Due to a lack of scientific evidence, there is no way for a human to train a dog to see or seek out paranormal activity. If the presence of a consistent factor (of which we don’t know as we can’t see or sense it the way a dog can) is lacking, there is no possible way to link a reward to the connection you want them to make.

More times than not, a dog has a more aggressive reaction to the paranormal because their protective instincts kick in. While you cannot train your dog to see paranormal activity or to not have a negative/ aggressive reaction when they come across a ‘ghost’ or intimidating shadow, noise, or movement, there are ways to comfort your best friend when they become frightened. 

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Written by Lina Betts

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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