Most of the time, people want to keep themselves, and their puppy counterparts, away from creepy-crawlies like spiders. Spiders, even when you're keeping them as a pet, can pose dangerous threats to you and your doggo if they're venomous - and even if they're not.
A spider bite runs the risk of getting infected and causing your pooch (or you) serious injuries. That being said, it would probably be helpful if you could know where spiders were in the wild, when they were approaching, and if you were going to stumble on one in your home before you actually stumble upon - or into - one.
Luckily, your dog can probably help you out with that. Your pup, with his or her amazing sense of smell and hearing, can likely sense a spider's presence long before you're aware of it. To get a better idea of how your dog might be telling you he or she is sensing a spider, what signs to look for, and how to train your dog to detect spiders, read on!
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Signs Your Dog is Sensing a Spider
If your dog is trying to alert you to a spider, they might give signs of pointing - this includes stiff tails, paws up, and nose and ears facing a specific direction (the direction the smell or sound is coming from). You can probably expect your dog to run up to where the spider is and paw excessively.
He or she might sprint toward the spider, jump around excitedly, attempt to toy with the spider, and even try to sniff or lick the spider (which, we hope you're able to train them to avoid doing, a process we'll go into in a bit). It's also possible your dog will get aggressive and howl, bite, nip, or growl at the spider.
- Back hair on edge
- Stiff tail
- Sprinting or charging an area of the room
- Excessive licking or sniffing of an area
- Toying with the spider
- Excited jumping
History of Dogs and Spiders
Dogs and spiders operate on a food-chain system. While dogs, who are bigger and more capable of killing spiders, might not hunt spiders, they're more likely to let their curiosity get the best of them and try to eat a spider.
Spiders, on the other hand, are equipped with venomous tendrils, can bite, and can kill giant dogs with a release of their venom. Dogs and spiders, typically, do not get along. That being said, with an influx of spiders as pets, people have been keeping dogs and spiders under the same roof in controlled environments for decades.
The Science of Dogs Sensing Spiders
Training Your Dog to Sense Spiders
First, see if you can work with a professional to help you train your pup to the best of his or her ability. Then, you'll want to work with your dog on associating a certain scent (a spider scent) with a specific toy. Rub the toy with spider scent and have your dog play with the toy. Build the link between the toy and the scent.
Begin hiding the scented toy in places, then, when your dog finds and returns it to you, reward them with tons of playtime for their accomplishments with that toy. Gradually, stop hiding the toy with the scent. When your dog can pick up on the scent and alert you to it without the toy, reward your pup with the toy, treats, and lots of affection. Ensure your dog can do this consistently
How to React if Your Dog Finds a Spider:
Call your dog back, away from the spider.
Dispose of the spider, unless your dog was bitten by it, in which case, kill it and bring it to the vet with you to identify the spider.
Call your vet ASAP if your dog was bitten by the spider.
Attempt to train your dog to fringe hunt for spiders.
Consider a better spider preventative method.