Can Dogs Feel Alarm?


We often wonder what our dog is thinking, especially when they have a certain look and are acting strange. Dogs have heightened senses, with better hearing and a larger part of their brain dedicated to smell. So, when your dog suddenly becomes alert and starts barking, it may be sensing something you can’t.

Signs of Alarm in Dogs

To determine if your dog is feeling alarmed or fearful, look at the fur on their back. When dogs sense a potential threat, their ears perk up and the hair on their back stands up. Dogs rely on their senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, but their main way of interpreting the world is through smell.

Body Language of Alarm

Other signs of alarm in dogs include barking, listening attentively, raised ears, freezing of the body, hair standing on edge, whimpering, and ears being up.

Additional signs of alarm are focused interest in the surroundings, shaking or whining, and a history of protective behavior towards loved ones.

The Social Structure of Dogs and Alarm

In the wild, dogs establish their role in a social group to create clear rules and hierarchy. Domesticated dogs consider their human family as their pack and will defend them at all costs. Some breeds have a stronger guarding instinct than others, which can lead to unnecessary aggression. It is crucial to socialize and train dogs to adapt to different situations.

The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Alarm

Alarm is one of the strongest emotions dogs feel. Dogs have a brain structure similar to humans in the area that interprets emotions and produce hormones like oxytocin, which allows them to feel love. Dogs can recognize people of poor character, and studies have shown that dogs’ brains respond to emotional stimuli in a similar way to humans.

Training Dogs to Deal with Alarm

While we want our dogs to warn us of potential dangers, it is important to train them to differentiate between friend and foe. With proper training and socialization, most dogs can learn to discern threats appropriately. Certain breeds, like Bernese Mountain dogs and Newfoundlands, have good protective instincts and make excellent guard dogs.

“Trust your dog’s instincts, they can sense danger before you even know it exists.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Dogs are highly capable of sensing danger due to their heightened sensory abilities. Their hearing is four times better than humans and their sense of smell is incredibly strong, allowing them to detect threats that humans might not notice. When a dog becomes alert or alarmed, it might raise its fur, show intense interest in its surroundings, or start barking.

2️⃣ Dogs have emotional capacities similar to that of a two-and-a-half-year-old human, meaning they can experience basic emotions like love, joy, anger, and fear. When a dog feels alarmed, its body language can change, like barking, freezing, whimpering, or raising its ears. It’s important to understand these signs to respond appropriately to your dog’s needs.

3️⃣ Training and socializing dogs is crucial to help them differentiate between friends and threats. Some breeds may be naturally friendlier or have stronger protective instincts, but all dogs can benefit from training to manage their reactions to alarming situations. This can prevent unnecessary aggression and help create a safer environment for both the dog and the people around it.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. How do dogs interpret the world compared to humans?
– Dogs interpret the world mainly by smell, whereas humans rely on sight.

2. What are some signs that a dog is feeling alarm?
– Raised hair on their back, sudden interest in their surroundings, intent listening, focused eyes and ears, ears twitching to hear from different angles.

3. How do dogs communicate alarm through body language?
– Barking, listening, raised ears, body freezing, back hair on edge, whimpering, ears up.

4. What is the social structure of dogs and how does it relate to feeling alarm?
– In the wild, dogs establish and reinforce their role in a social group, creating clear rules of leadership and subordination. Domesticated dogs bond with their human family and will defend them at all costs.

5. What does the science say about dogs feeling alarm?
– Dogs have the same brain structure as humans in the area that interprets emotions. They produce similar hormones, like oxytocin, and can understand emotions like fear and joy. Dogs can also recognize people of poor character and exhibit alarm behavior towards them.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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