Dogs and Weather

The Dogtor is in

After seeing Marie off to work I left Blondie Bear and Cochise on guard at the house while I went to spend some time with Babes and Smokey, our foster dogs. After that I went to do the daily gardening chores. There wasn’t much of that to do and it didn’t take long. When I was done with that I considered getting back to work on our deck/boardwalk project. This is a large project I’ve been working on for months, but had to interrupt to build a couple of items that were ordered.

It was a nice cool morning. I scanned the skies: partly cloudy, they were fluffy and white, not gray and ominous, and there was enough blue showing through to be encouraging. It should be a good day to work outside; at least for a while.

Bweather dogut Blondie and Cochise both were insistent that it was going to rain and they wanted to go inside NOW. The weatherguessers said rain was possible later in the day: I should have at least 5 hours to work before that. But they are often wrong, the dogs are generally right. The workshop is a good 200 feet away from where I would be working. Do I dare drag tools and lumber over from the shop to work out in the open? MMMmmmmm … I don’t think so.

We all went inside. I settled in at the dining room table to do some web site maintenance and writing. Blondie curled up right next to my chair: her usual bad-weather position. 30 minutes later it rained. Hard. Take that Weather Channel! You need to hire some dogs.

Can Dogs Predict Weather

Long before people could turn on the news or a computer to check the weather report, humans watched animals. Nearly all animals have some ability to sense weather changes because that is vital to their survival. The animals humans have the most association with are dogs and as such dogs are the animals most likely to be noticed predicting weather.

The ability of dogs to predict the weather varies from breed to breed and even dog to dog. The most common form of prediction in dogs is probably based on low pressure: a sign of a number of weather changes. Another possibility is that a dog’s sense of smell may allow him to smell a change in the air (such as approaching rain) before the bad weather arrives. Finally a dog does have better hearing than humans and is likely to hear a thunder storm before we do.

Humans have seen clear evidence that dogs do have some ability to predict weather changes. The unwillingness to go outside just before bad weather begins or even hiding under the bed before a thunderstorm. Yet not all dogs will react this way. And we don’t know how accurate a dog’s prediction is. Do they know what is going to happen of just that something they don’t want to be exposed to is about to happen?

Another point is that they cannot predict severe weather far in advance. We are likely to have heard of approaching bad weather before the dog shows any signs. There is, however, some evidence they can predict trends such as a cold winter by growing thicker coats even before the temperature changes. This is hard to prove though.

One thing does seem certain, however: anyone who owns a dog will have seen that they are better than we are (without the use of electronics) at predicting close range weather changes.

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