Your little doggo buddy is pretty in tune with your emotions, feelings, and physiological changes - far more in tune than you probably thought. Due to your pup's keen sense of smell, your dog definitely knows when your lady hormones are acting up. To put it bluntly, because of your dog's acute sense of smell, your pooch certainly knows when you're on your period, when you're having hormone imbalances, and when your female hormones are doing anything different.
How can you tell when you're dog knows, though, and can you train your pooch to provide you with a little extra comfort and love during your particularly difficult hormonal swings? We're here to give you all the answers you need. Read on to get the skinny on how your dog will likely react to your hormone changes, how they can tell, and how you can train them to help you during your hormonal times!
Signs Your Dog Senses Your Hormones
You might not have known it before, but lots of animals are able to detect when your hormones are changing or balancing out - and that includes your pup. Your dog, with his or her keen sense of smell, is able to detect menstruation and other changes by both odor and hormonal levels.
Sure, your dog probably doesn't fully understand what those things mean, but they do know that something different is going on than usual.
Your dog will probably let you know they can detect a difference by giving you a pretty obsessive dose of sniffing and licking. That's right, you can expect your dog to get all up in your business - speaking of which, you can probably expect that your dog will get up close and personal with some of your hormonal zones, so keep a lookout for doggo snouts trying nose into places they don't belong.
Your dog also might try to give you extra comfort and love - they might nuzzle up with you, give you kisses, or just try to be closer to you than normal because they're detecting a physiological and hormonal shift.
The History of Dogs' Sense of Smell
We'll dive deeper into how dogs are able to sniff out your hormones in a bit, but before we do, it's probably worth it to note that dog noses have been well-employed throughout the years specifically because of their acuteness. Dogs have been used to sniff out drugs, weapons, criminals, and even certain illnesses.
Because dogs evolved from wolves, they have a heightened sense of smell that many other domesticated animals do not. Dogs have been used in law enforcement since the early 14th century for hunting, guarding, and tracking down criminals. In fact, a gang of specially trained Bloodhounds can be credited for tracking down the notorious Jack the Ripper in the 1880s in London.
Additionally, the United States employed dog's noses in World War II to detect German mines in North Africa. Now, dogs are even used to detect cancer in its earliest stages just by smelling blood, urine, or specific lab samples.
Science Behind Dogs Sensing Female Hormones
Dogs are curious creatures with an intense sense of smell that goes so far beyond just knowing when you open a bag of chips from across the house. Dog noses are able to sense on levels that we humans (with our mere 6 million smell receptors) couldn't possibly understand. Dogs have close to 300 million receptors and they're able to detect certain odors in parts per billion. It doesn't hurt that their olfactory cortex is about 40 times larger than a human's as well.
That being said, it's not unbelievable that dogs would be able to smell small, physical changes that are happening in our bodies (that we're not even fully aware of). When our hormones change, micro-chemicals are released - and though we can't smell these small changes, our dogs definitely can. So, when your female hormones are changing, balancing out, or are completely out of whack, you're releasing small odors that your dog can certainly pick up on.
Training Your Dog to Sense Hormones
If you're captivated by your dog's excellent sense of smell and are interested in harnessing your dog's wonderful abilities, consider training your dog to detect certain scents. If you're looking to get your dog certified as a drug, bomb, or cancer sniffing dog, we suggest working with a certified company to help you get there. Often, these companies will have access to the illegal substances, strains of illness, and other scents that your dog will need access to be properly trained.
If you're looking for a more casual approach to training your dog to seek out particular scents, you can certainly do this at home. First, we suggest training your dog to recognize that playing with a certain toy counts as a reward. Every time your dog does something good, give him or her a particular toy and play for awhile. Do this consistently.
Once your dog understands the toy is the reward, introduce the toy with the scent you're hoping to train your dog to detect. Make sure your dog understands the two are related through even more play and reward behavior.
Next, start hiding the toy and the scent. When your dog recovers it, reward them with the toy. Once your dog can do this consistently, stop hiding the toy and let your dog track down the scent by itself. When your dog does this, reward them with the toy. Repeat this process until your dog can consistently track down the scent.
By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus
Published: 05/04/2018, edited: 04/06/2020