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Is it true that dogs can recognize a bad person just by smelling them?


Absolutely YES!! And below you will find 4 real cases as good examples.

Yes, dogs can sense bad vibes and negative energy. In fact, dogs have the ability to ‘smell’ bad vibes. They can read an individual’s body language and even smell human pheromones and stress hormones. Dogs are also very sensitive to human behaviors.

They have several characteristics that allows them to be the wonder they are:

1. Power of observation

Our dogs are gifted with great observational skills. They observe everything around them. This note down the tiniest of details. It is also the reason why they are so attuned to their owners’ every move. Anything out of the ordinary and your dog will know it.

This power of observation also helps dogs understand human body language and facial expressions. A person with bad intentions might have a peculiar body language, which a smart dog can easily sense.

2. Powerful sense of smell

Dogs also are gifted with a highly developed sense of smell. Their olfactory sense is nearly 10000 to 100,000 times greater than that of humans.

As a result, they can pick up on human pheromones, subtle chemical changes, and stress hormones. A negative or bad person might give off smells of fear, sweat, and/ or stress, which could alert a dog that something is amiss.

You yourself might have experienced it at some point or another. Sometimes, we meet people and something just seems off. You just cannot trust them. They give you a bad feeling and you just don’t want to get involved with them.

The same is true with our dogs. Dogs can pick up bad vibes and negative energy. Dog expert Cesar Milan writes about this in his best seller book: Cesar’s Way. He says:

  • Dogs pick up on human energy and human emotions. They will be calm around someone who is calm and assertive.
  • With calm and assertion, dogs feel ‘taken care’ of. They know that someone around them is in control and can protect them. Dogs can relax around such people and go about their business.
  • Likewise, dogs can sense anxious and aggressive people. Around them, they feel unstable and unbalanced.
  • Our pets are happiest and calmest when they sense our energy is in balance.

We have hundreds of stories about this question and in this case we chose 4 real experiences that you will find below



Oh, yes. From my own long experience as a dog owner, I have many instances to illustrate this, but here is just one of them. Freya (above) was a Keeshond. Bright, engaged, friendly, welcoming, and polite — but always quietly vigilant and wise. Some people she loved, some people she liked, some people she merely tolerated, but even if she wasn’t 100% in favor of someone, her typical reaction was just to keep her eyes on them. Anytime I saw an unusual reaction from Freya, I took it seriously.

I was a well-known figure in a bustling safe neighborhood and it was not at all unusual for me to have workmen of various sorts come into my home to do maintenance or repairs while I was at work. They knew I would leave the door unlocked, the dog would bark when they entered, and they would just ignore her while they did their work and she watched them. (There was never any danger of thievery, by the way, because Freya had established a rule of her own that anybody could bring anything they wanted into my house, but they couldn’t take anything out that they hadn’t brought in unless I said so, a rule that occasionally caused some complications, but was overall not a bad idea. The workmen were all advised of this rule.)

I needed to have my carpets cleaned, so I called a friend of mine who owned a carpet cleaning company and whose workers had been in my home many times. We set up the date and I left the usual note on the door reminding the workers of the protocol with the dog and when I went to work.

Later that day I received a call at work from the owner of the carpet company to say that they couldn’t do the job because my dog would not let the men in. This was weird, but I apologized and said I would stay home the following day and be sure they could come in.

The next day two guys arrived as planned. One of them had been there before and he knew Freya, but the other one was a new guy with the company. Freya was instantly fierce. I have never seen her behave like this. She went full on Rambo and she made it clear that she would bite ME if I tried to let them come in, so, with a little embarrassment, I told them I was sorry, but I had faith in my dog and if she said something was wrong, something was wrong.

Needless to say, the owner of the carpet cleaning company was more than a little irritated with me, but I held my ground. All I could say was that I trusted her judgment. Maybe three weeks later, the guy called me back to apologize to me. It turns out the new guy who had come to my house had just been arrested and charged with multiple counts of home invasion and rape. He used his job to find women who lived alone that he could later attack. I have no idea how Freya knew he was a bad guy, but she did.

Freya’s picture is on the cover

Karen McClure


My lab/collie mix Suzy did it! It was back in ‘73/74 ( not exactly sure when, but I was in middle school) and I was sick at home from school. Since both my parents worked I was alone, though Mom checked in frequently and would come home at 2:00. Also, our suburb was considered extremely safe and quiet.

The front doorbell rang, and as usual, Suzy was right there, barking, tail wagging in eagerness for a friendly visitor. Suzy was super-friendly, loved everyone, and a gentle, respectful lady in all the finest aspects of the word.

But when I opened our front door to see a 30-ish man of slight—even wimpy—build standing there with a camera bag and professional camera strapped around him, Suzy’s entire demeanor changed. With a growl so deep and threatening that I couldn’t believe it came out of her, she LUNGED at him and chased the guy all the way into the road. She stopped at the curb and held him at bay, refusing to come back in the house, every hair on her back raised up high.

She had NEVER done anything remotely like this before! I was SHOCKED! And instantly suspicious of the guy. I stayed at the door instead of going to get her. He called out that he was the photographer for the family down the street whose daughter was getting married, though he couldn’t remember their name. I asked, “Oh, you mean the Fosters?” “Yeah, yeah, that’s their name!” That confirmed it for me. I called out, “The Fosters don’t have a daughter.” He stared at me blankly for a long moment, then turned and trudged down the street without another word.

I called for Suzy, but she stayed in the yard, glaring at him until he was out of sight. Within two days my parents had a secondary glass/screen door installed for the front door. It was always a mystery to me who that guy was…until the killer of local girl Jeanine Nicarico was finally caught. She had been home sick alone when an intruder broke in and brutally killed her. The murderer was a sometime professional photographer. And yes, even though it had been years, I still recognized him.

To this day I regret we didn’t call the police on the guy’s suspicious behavior. Maybe Jeanine would still be alive…though it was already too late for the two young girls he had already killed. Dogs…the best alarm system ever! Adopt one today!

Diane Ladley

Animals know

I love this story, because even though I am a dog lover in particular, I love animals in general. And this story is great, even though it is somehow tragic.

Animals know. My ex-boyfriend and I went horse-back riding with a group. Everything was lovely. Just as we were getting back to the stable, his horse violently threw him off. A week later, we were in Central Park feeding the squirrels. Both my cousin and I were interacting with the squirrels, and they even ate out of our hands; meanwhile, my ex-boyfriend was bit so hard, it drew blood. Two months later, he put me in the hospital with 20 stitches in my eye. Animals know. 

Nadia Asencio


This was Tahoe. He was one of my wolves several decades ago. Tahoe was no joke. At over 120 pounds and 33 inches at his shoulders, he was a big, fast, intimidating animal. Although he never had the opportunity to hunt in the wild, I once witnessed Tahoe killing a deer while free running in a state park. In spite of the fact that this was his first and only opportunity to take such an action, he dispatched the animal in less than 10 seconds.

One friend I had that would occasionally care for Tahoe, and his mate, Kharma, when I was traveling was a trainer and breeder of Cane Corsos and Fila Brasileiros, two very large and potentially extremely dangerous breeds of dog.

Years after Tahoe had passed, he confessed that Tahoe was the only dog in his life that frightened him. He said he knew, without a doubt, that Tahoe could easily pull down and kill a man.

Personally, I’d never seen Tahoe exhibit threatening behavior unless food was involved. Generally, he was uninterested in strangers.

However, there was one instance that was fascinating. We were moving into a new place. Tahoe was secured in the back of my pickup truck, and I was meeting with a cable installer to get the new place connected.

Many people are curious about my animals, and I’m used to answering questions, so I didn’t find it unusual when he approached my truck to take a closer look.

What was odd, however, was Tahoe’s response to this man. Unlike his typical disinterested demeanor, he was laser-focused on this guy. As the man approached the bed of my truck, Tahoe’s lips peeled back to reveal every tooth in his mouth. His tongue jutted out from between his teeth, and he began to emit the most guttural, threatening growl I’ve ever heard a wolf produce.

The man appeared clueless, and he continued to approach my vehicle. When he was about ten feet from the truck, Tahoe hurled himself against his lead attempting to get to this man.

At that point, I warned him to step back and told him that the animal clearly didn’t like him (duh), and he was putting himself and my animal in jeopardy by continuing to approach the vehicle.

He did as instructed, completed his work, and left the property.

Because the habitat at this new location was under construction, I had Tahoe in my room with me that night. This can be challenging under the best of circumstances. Wolves aren’t easy to keep indoors.

It was about 1:30 AM by the time I had him settled, and I had just dozed off when suddenly, I was awakened by a tremendous commotion. Tahoe was standing on his hind legs and smashing his front paws against the glass that looked out over the property. Once again, he was baring his teeth and snarling.

When you live with wolves, you generally learn to sleep with your clothes on. I grabbed my boots and a flashlight and went out to investigate.

When I fired my flashlight into the darkness, guess who was there? The cable installer from earlier that day! He was prowling around outside my property trying to look in the windows.

I have no idea what he thought he would find, other than death, by breaking into my home, but I didn’t wait to find out. I called out into the darkness, “You have 20 seconds to get into your vehicle and exit this property, or I will release Tahoe and my other animals.”

I’d say it took him less than 10 seconds to burn rubber out of there. I am completely confident that, if I had opened the door, Tahoe would’ve killed this man in moments.

Given that he never exhibited this kind of behavior towards any other person in his entire life, it was fascinating that he had so quickly and accurately judged this to be an aberrant human. It appeared to me that he was taking action to protect himself, his mate, and his family group, including me.

Following this experience, I never failed to take immediate notice of how my animals reacted to unfamiliar people. My wolves seem to be exceptional judges of character and they are only willing to approach or befriend individuals that they have judged to be decent and nonthreatening.

Oliver Starr

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