I've always been fascinated by dogs' ability to see, hear, smell, sense things that we humans can not. Beau took me by surprise the other day on one of these "sensical" occasions. It was midmorning, my son and I were buzzing about our house trying to get a start our busy day. I opened the door to our back yard to let Beau and Jax outside to "do their business" so they would be comfortable while we were out.
As I opened the door, I felt the warmth of the sun beaming, and heard the wild birds singing. It seemed like a perfectly normal day to me and expected the boys to just jump out onto the patio as they normally would. Jax did, however, Beau felt, heard, and sensed something different. He just stood at the door and would not budge; he would not go out. After a little coaxing and some frustration, I even stepped out onto the patio, looked back at the door at my beautiful boy, held my arms out and up toward the sky and said, "What? Nothing is going on out here, come on out!" Beau was holding his ground - there was no way he was coming out. He looked at me as if to say, "Uh-uh, no way, I AM NOT COMING OUT THERE!" And then it happened.....
One drop, two drops and woooosh! As my arms fell to my sides, here came the torrential downpour my very intelligent, very stubborn Dachshund knew was about to happen! I stood there stunned and in disbelief as I looked at Beau; Beau just turned around, showed me his tail and walked off into the house. If he could speak, I believe he would have calmly and regally said something like, "See, I told you so. And please talk to the tail!"
In having been thrown into utter amazement, I was curious about this topic of the "Sixth Sense" of the canine persuasion. With a little research into the topic, I got a better idea of why Beau was so "keen" that something was about to happen.
According to Internet site How Stuff Works, it is believed this "Sixth Sense" could be the result of infrasonic sounds (sounds that can be heard by the dog) and air pressure and water pressure (vibrations that could be felt by the dog):
"...... Infrasonic sounds could still be the culprit (of dogs being able to sense weather changes) because hurricanes and thunder produce sound waves at those frequencies, (low-pitched sound vibrations on the hertz frequency scale falling below 20 hertz (Hz) which dogs can hear)." In light of this information and knowing that a dog is able to hear about 20 times better than humans can anyway, no wonder Beau was trying to tell me something!
"But there's also the matter of changes in barometric (air) and hydrostatic (water) pressure." For example, when a hurricane occurs, there is a large decrease in air pressure and water pressure. Animals are highly tuned to drops in barometric pressure beyond natural fluctuations and this can trigger the animal's survival mechanism. Your dog's reaction would be to seek shelter quickly. Beau could "feel" that something wasn't quite right in the air and he was going to stay out of harms way!
Also, Cesar's Way, brought up a great point - "a dog's olfactory senses are 100 times more sensitive than that of a human", so Beau was getting that "just before the storm smell" long before his mom even knew anything was coming! He could smell the electrical current of the air attributed to lightning. That is one good sniffer you have there Beau!
So, in the research breakdown, I discovered Beau was hearing, feeling and smelling the storm well ahead of me - his oblivious parent! The hard and fast research is still out about how dogs can tap into their senses and instincts for protection in this manner, but because dogs can't talk to us, we can only watch their behaviors and learn from them and create hypotheses as to why dogs react the way they do before weather events occur. Wouldn't it be great if we could learn even more about dogs' ability to tap into their instincts, so we could better predict the weather and keep more people safe from potentially disasterous weather events?
Great job Beau!
With Furry Best Wishes -
Tabitha, Beau and Jax
Citing Source: www.HowStuffWorks.com
Other Consulted Resource: Cesar's Way by Cesar Milan
Photo Credit: Property of BeauJax Boutique