Thursday, November 10, 2011

Can Dogs Sense Psychopaths?

A Reader asks:
Is there any truth to what people say about dogs being able to sense if someone is a psychopath? Is it true that dogs don't like psychopaths?

Animals have always been said to sense things that humans cannot. And there is a lot of truth to it. Dogs can hear sounds from a distance far beyond that of what a human being can hear, and they can hear sounds both above and below frequencies that human hearing is capable of. The same is the case with the sense of smell, which is most dogs' most powerful and most used sense (exceptions are breeds with pushed in faces such as bulldogs).

Now where does the myth about dogs not liking psychopaths come into the picture? It is commonly known that animals can sense an earthquake days or even weeks before it happens.

Throughout the history of man it has been believed that dogs can sense evil. Even today it is being debated if or how much truth there is to this. In the last few decades religious thinking has been declining, and Evil Spirits, Demons and Witches have been swapped for the newer idea about the psychopath as the ultimate evil.

The question would be: If dogs can sense evil, how do they do it?

The truth is that 'evil' is a human concept, and since dogs cannot think in abstracts whatever it is they sense it is not 'evil'. So what, if anything, do they sense? Can dogs sense anything about the mindset of a human being at all?

The answer to this is: Yes.

Dogs can sense the mindset of a person, but they do it in a very different manner than humans do. When a human is being aggressive and has "evil" intentions toward a dog or the dog's owner, the human generates particular scent particles associated with the brain transmitter substances according to the feeling he is experiencing, such as f.x. Adrenalin.
The key element dogs use to to pick up information about someone's state of mind is sweat. Almost all people sweat when they are about to undertake an act of aggression and violence. The exception is psychopaths.  Psychopaths often do not generate sweat during an anticipated act of violence because we don't experience much emotion. Our brain processing is largely cognitive and only rarely emotional in nature (though obviously we are talking about tendencies here. There are nobody alive and functioning who never experiences some level of emotion, but that's another discussion).

Dogs can sense human emotion such as fear, anxiety or anger, the so called Primary Emotions. But psychopaths don't generate much emotions for the dog to sense, and this may be the reason why we more commonly can get close to dogs more easily than other people.

And this brings me to the answer to your question: Do dogs sense if someone is a psychopath, and is it true that dogs do not like psychopaths?

Dogs do not have any concept of 'psychopath', just as they have no concept of 'evil', so they cannot sense that I am a psychopath. But there is no doubt about they can sense there is something different about me, and that something is different also in other psychopaths.

As for dogs not liking psychopaths: This is a myth and has no truth to it whatsoever.I can say this without a doubt, because whereas a psychopathic individual who attacks a dog's owner in the middle of the night may be seen as a threat by the dog, the same is the case if somebody who is not a psychopath does the same thing. It is not about being a psychopath, it is about the emotional baggage you carry with you when you have malicious intent. And this is what psychopaths largely lack. This is related to what the professionals call Flat or Shallow Affect in Psychopaths.

In fact, much speaks to the contrary of dogs not liking psychopaths.

Dogs like people who are calm and assertive. And this is exactly what psychopaths generate, unless they choose to do otherwise. Most psychopaths - at least those of my sub-type - are very observant not only to human behavior, but also to animal behavior. When I once read a book about the subject of dog training and rearing, I saw I had been doing exactly what was advised right from the beginning when I met neighbors' dogs as a kid. Before then I never gave it much thought and merely acted according to what seemed most likely to have the effect I was looking for, and it worked.

Generally speaking it is very easy for psychopaths to get along with dogs. I myself have on several occasions shown that I can take over as "pack leader", even when the owner is an experienced dog trainer and not very positive to the idea. I have met a couple of psychopaths who were capable of doing the same thing.


Hyped said...

Zhawq, it's me from the socio site that asked you all those questions. I just thought i'd copy and paste the question here if you don't mind :) Or would you prefer email?

Hyped said...

Ok, here goes:

Are you male or female? Did you commit rape or murder? What's your sexual preference?

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that psychopaths prefer dogs over cats as pets, because they give unconditional love - and that's the only kind of love psychopaths can handle.

Psychopath said...

I have worked with K-9's for a number of years. We worked very well with eachother. I had a much tighter bond with my dogs than others.

RJ said...

I read once that psychopaths especially like wolves.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that "f.x" doesn't actually mean anything?

Anonymous said...

dogs smell thing which shouldn't be going on. A person who creeps slowly among others who don't may react badly or even attack. I have witnessed happy dogs stop in the middle of the road to bark at people with alcohol on their breath, sitting on the street talkng to themslves. I also know racist dogs with completely non-racist owners.

Blush said...

I'll say it again here: Zhawq is hot!

Anonymous said...

The truth is that 'evil' is a human concept, and since dogs cannot think in abstracts whatever it is they sense it is not 'evil'. So what, if anything, do they sense?

Well, ha, a dog's concept of "evil" is a projection of his master's! I am just going to put something out here. Dogs will often look to their owners, the way a baby looks to his caregiver, for the way to "feel". If you have a nervous fucked up dog, you'll notice the owner is a little high strung too.

Anonymous said...

"I also know racist dogs with completely non-racist owners."

@Anon 5:48 AM

So the dog actually told you he dislikes non white humans ? He must have had a lot of experiance with non whites to "feel" that way. Maybe had a few of his rims stolen from the dog mobile ?

Anonymous said...

No, he went for (as in chased down) people who worked in kitchens. He'd grab onto the hem of their black and white checkered kitchen-worker pants at the end of their shifts (not that all kitchen workers are Hispanic, I'm just giving you a for instance and a visual, in case you've never walked a fucked-in-the-head dog at 4 AM when kitchens are closing in a big city.) Then we discovered he wasn't into kitchen people, it was anyone Hispanic. Later we found out he'd been abused in Puerto Rico by his previous owners. It was predictable and embarrassing.

Then, another dog ONLY wanted to love on big black men with deep Barry White voices cause she was treated with kindness by one such type at her rescue facility.

Both dogs racists.

Sure owners can train dogs to "feel" certain things. These dogs came with their own baggage. And they never changed.

Anonymous said...

So, do you think dogs know what a "race" is ?

I still think he has bacon in his pocket.

Angel said...

Nah man, they be smellin ma mom's rice n beans.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you. Psychopathy runs in my family and we have lots of them (after all psychopathy is highly genentic) and lots of them own dogs. Some are great dog owners too.

I have a different question. Off this topic but still about psychopathy. Do you ever feel like demons use you? Kind of as a portal? Like, you know they're able to enter you and control you but it's not an "all the time" thing? I know a psychopath who has had many encounters with demons and I was just curious if this is something that has happened to you as well. Mazel tov!

Alterego said...

Demons ? Why not Leprechauns or fairies ? I don't think psychopathy is the issue in your family, I'd say delusion is.

Ettina said...

It's not just the person's emotions which enable a dog to spot a bad person. There are two other things as well.

Firstly, dogs have 100 times better sense of smell than humans. Certain types of bad behavior may leave a distinctive smell on you (eg smell of other peoples' fear) which the dog detects but humans can't. (One reporter who knew Ted Bundy before he was caught said the only one she knew who didn't like him was her dog. My guess is the dog could smell his victims on him.)

Secondly, if the person wants to keep their bad tendencies secret, they won't treat someone badly who could tell a person in power and be believed. But they may mistreat someone who can't talk, such as a dog. My father knew this one salesman who, when he thought no one was looking, would kick the family dog - meanwhile acting all friendly to the owners. Not much of a surprise that the dog didn't like him!

Anonymous said...

Nope, I don't think they can. I have a dog and a psychopathic (clinically diagnosed) friend and my dog loves him. My dog isn't stupid and can be very picky about whom she sits with, she can definitely sense hostility and people who don't like dogs. But she gets on fine with my friend, who doesn't like or dislike her.

Anonymous said...

I find dogs are better judges of intent than most humans that live their lives in a permanent state of tunnel vision.
On many occasions I find that I can control animals, mainly dogs, with an uncanny ability. Its like they sense I'm more aggressive than them and they often submit to me , putting their head down, raising their hind and shaking their tale. On the other hand I have found that I can't trick them like I can their masters, if I have mal intent towards something associated with the pet or its family, I am largely unable to fool their senses.
Related, there is a scene in the jungle book, were the kid goes face to face with a tiger, shows no fear, and sort of becomes one with all the animals. I'v had a dream similiar to this and can relate to it somehow. Also, do any of you guys recognise something in the eyes of pitbulls ? They must be the psychopathic gene emplified in dogs I reckon, its like looking at another psycho..

Anonymous said...

Adolf Hitler had a dog called called Blondi and as far as I far know it never tried to kill him or escape from him.

Anonymous said...

Psychopaths have weakened chemical responces interms of emotion causing chemicals and phremones.. typically caused due to an overexcess of these chemicals hurting the bodys natural pathways and making it so the psychopath can not feel because no matter how much of it is released the receptors are broken. Also why it is harder for psychopaths to understand others with emotions sicne we don't pick up of their pheremones. with animals it is actually the opposite of what you said. i personally have a high affinity to all animals, especially dogs. And the reason why is because dogs, and many other animals, base there observations and reactions on body movement, not pheremons... did you finish highschool? the dog sees the emotions and intentions of the human by looking at the movement. with most psychopaths this causes dogs to like them because they see them as the alpha male, since they can pick up on the strength and the necessity of survival all psychopaths have. Because all a psychopath really is, is a true human, following their instincts and logic instead of emotions. Its nice that you are interested in psychopathy but you should read up some biochemistry and other various sciences instead of basing everything you think on highy biased and philisophical based psychology...

Anonymous said...

"the dog sees the emotions and intentions of the human by looking at the movement. with most psychopaths this causes dogs to like them because they see them as the alpha male, since they can pick up on the strength and the necessity of survival all psychopaths have. Because all a psychopath really is, is a true human, following their instincts and logic instead of emotions."

I wonder why you praise psychopaths so much. Are you trying to manipulate us? Are you a psychopath?

I think you're not right. Mankind would die out pretty soon if everyone was a psychopath. Because they can't do anything that is really useful or reasonable. They can only manipulate others and live like parasites. They operate from the reptilian brain. So in reality they are not superior to "average" humans at all.

(It should be noted that psychopaths are often confused with psychotics. But they're totally different. Psychopaths don't feel remorse, regret and guilt. Psychotics do. Psychopaths don't feel suffering. Psychotics do. Actually they suffer a lot.)

Magnolia said...

I notice that you praise dogs a lot, but not cats... why is that? Because they are independent? They only give love in return...
I have some experience with psicos, ex and daughter, so I am in an advantage situtation, and I will do what ever to end your degenerate branch. You brag a lot... and nowadays everybody is Noticing YOU people.
Bye Bye
hope U have the guts to post this...

Magnolia said...

well... my comment was erased... ok
no problem

I know you all will end in a short period of time, your degenerate branch will be erased by natural selection, we can and will be a lot happier without you.

U like to brag so much about your deeds... that nowadays there are big studys about psycopathy going on, and more specialy than that, people now know that you exist!

bye bye

dare you to post...

mother and ex of 2

Zhawq said...


your comment was not erased. I simply haven't had access to a computer for a few months. Do try not to be so self centered.

If your comment has still not come up it must've gotten lost. I check the spam section every time I go through the comments section, and I have sometimes found comments there which in my opinion were neither spam nor flaming, and in those cases I have posted those comments.

You're welcome to resend the comment, here at the website or to me directly in an email. As you can see I am not "afriad" of posting something that doesn't agree with my viewpoints or of opinions that aren't kind towards people with a psychopathy diagnosis. I am only against direct insults towards people who cannot defend themselves, or comments that have no relevant content.

As for the "I know you all will end...", I hope for your sake as well as my own that this will not come true. But then, you probably already know that as well. :)

Anonymous said...

"I also know racist dogs with completely non-racist owners."

@Anon 5:48 AM

That;s because the owner is a racist or is somehow anxious or negative about people of the race his dogs doesn't like, but he thinks his feelings are wrong or bad, so he hides even from himself that he has them. That's how a lot of issues with dogs happen. The owners don't know they're passing on anxiety or whatever to their dog and wonder why they behave the way they do.

Anonymous said...

"dogs smell thing which shouldn't be going on."

Who's to say if talking to yourself or sitting on the walkway is wrong. Anyway, dogs react to things that are unusual, that's all there is to it. If their owner sees unusual things as threats or "things that shouldn't be going on" then the dog reacts to it the same way.

Anonymous said...

"Psychopaths have weakened chemical responces interms of emotion causing chemicals and phremones.. typically caused due to an overexcess of these chemicals hurting the bodys natural pathways and making it so the psychopath can not feel because no matter how much of it is released the receptors are broken."

This is theory and hasn't been scientifically proven. We don't know exactly what causes receptors in psychopaths to not function.

As for the rest, there's nothing of what you said that Zhawq didn't also say in a different way.

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Anonymous said...

Are any of you actually "psychopathic". I feel that the word is too mainstream now, and completely tarnished. Dogs..yes they can like psychopaths, or hate them. Psychopaths know they're different, and they know they're different because they are not emotionally responsive to what others are. However, it is because of their relationship to reality. They are able to manipulate themselves in order to manipulate others. Generally this is because they know they are different, and others begin to notice, and they are forced to learn to act and behave accordingly. They begin to learn to feign emotion, and even harness emotions. The key distinction is that they have emotional control. They can choose any reaction they like. This gives them power. When a bully becomes aggressive, expecting a frightened response, the psychopath can instead point out the bully is a grunt, humiliating the bully, or even act aggressive and play on the psychology of a normal conscience. Psychopaths study humans reactions to learn about them, so they can keep their nature a secret. This often makes them more perceptive of others, and this gives them the ability tk become very close with others, gaining their trust, and making them appear harmless. Afterall, the other person believes the psychopath holds an unspoken bond and agreement to not hurt the other emotionally. However, the psychopath often only keeps this bond alive because it helps them feel normal, and accepted. This is the psychology of a psychopath. Psychopaths can be cold killers because their thought patterns are not socially bound. They can explore topics like death, murder, and rape with interest, rather than disgust. It's not that they aren't aware that it is wrong because psychopaths are very socially intuned. They simply are capable of these things without having cold feet due to their ability to manipulate their own emotions, ans logically justify it.

Anonymous said...


I think dogs are simply able to sense the fear/happiness etc. of a person & if you are someone who treats your dog well (like all pets should be treated) then your dog will want to protect you just as a family member would- therefore if you are scared of someone your dog will sense that and try to protect you. It should be noted that humans domesticated dogs- we decided to ensure they depended on us completely for food, shelter & love..betraying that kind of trust is monstrous!

Btw: As a psychopath are u able to empathise with others?

Lisa McNichols said...

Oh, wow! I feel like I have stumbled on a treasure trove! So many questions! I'll start with one just to see if this forum is still going. You have had good relationships with dogs, which does not surprise me. I am wondering if you felt empathy for them. I know if one of them was hit by a car and suffering from a broken leg, you would take it to the vet because you are a good dog owner. But, would you feel empathy for the dog's pain? Are you able to feel empathy for a dog, perhaps but not for a person in the same situation and suffering?

Zhawq said...

Lisa McNichols,

I would definitely take the dog to a vet[*]. Do I feel empathy with these animals? I don't think I feel it more than I would a human being. But I can recognize pain and distress when I see it, and even though I do not feel it myself I can see why (in my way of thinking, anyway) it's a good idea to help out if you come across someone who's needs it.

And yes, I do the same for a human being and help them just as I do for other species.

- In spite of all I have done wrong esp. in my early years, I have always been ready to help when and where ever I can.

This is perhaps one of the things about psychopaths that most normal people have a hard time understanding: How can we ruthlessly harm and hurt someone in one situation and then a few hours later just as naturally do the opposite for someone else. For me the answer is that I did never hurt and harm without reason, and though my reasons are hard to understand for normal people, there is very much sense and reason to them. There is no contradiction in hurting one person in one situation and helping another in a different situation an hour later. For a normal person this would not be possible because empathy would impact their state of mind for hours or weeks - maybe even years if the act of harm was serious enough - but for me there's no such emotional implications to tie me and impact, alter or interfere with another type of act that I might want to do a very short while later.

[*] - I have found half dead animals (f.ex. on the roadside on the street where I live), and I took them to the vet.

The Waters said...

You're missing the point. What dogs are sensing in some psychopaths are the possession of an evil spirit. Evil spirits operate on very low frequencies. Like you said dogs can sense higher and lower frequency and vibrations then we humans can. If a dog Passes
the person who is possessed with an evil spirit they will feel sense or smell whatever it is that is possessing this person. I know humans who have the ability to smell psychological disorders. Imagine what dogs can smell. And why can they smell it? Because of the presence of the evil spirits. People who have experienced visitations to hell have professed about the horrible smells that are there. What do you think a demon smells like?

Lisa McNichols said...

Dear Waters, I love comment sections because you see such a rich slice of America. I see that you are a Mormon and quite young, and haven't gone to college, and are probably a little gullible. But, to clarify, I don't mean in regard to you believing in demons. They are for real and I am happy for those people who do not believe in them, because it means they haven't experienced them ... and that's a good thing! But, a psychopath is probably no more likely to have a demon than Joe Blow, which is actually an interesting thought. Does their different neurological wiring make them more or less likely to willingly give entrance to evil? But, moving on .... I know from personal experience that dogs do not notice demons in people. Might have saved me a lot of grief if they did. But, where in the WORLD are you getting this about demons and frequencies??? My mind is boggled right now. My brother has a miniature poodle that dislikes me when every other dog I've ever been around loves me! Is this dog "sensing" something about me ... like the fact that I think miniature poodles are wastes of space and that this one, in particular, is spoiled rotten? Or is it just the ill-tempered and bad-mannered dog that I think it is? But, please, please explain where you get this about frequencies??

Zhawq said...

Lisa McNicols,

I actually believe dogs can sense supernatural entities very easily, but they do not necessarily react negatively toward non-Christian entities, they react to ill intent, not to what religion a certain entity belongs to or represent. For this same reason they bond very closely to a human being who commits to a non-CHristian religion.

That said, dogs, like human beings, have different levels of awareness and intelligence. If somebody you and your dog knew turned against you and harmed or hurt you, your dog would normally sense his ill intent and behave in such a way as to get your attention. But not all dogs have the skill to act upon something such as people meaning to harm their owners, sometimes because to them everything and anything a human being does or feels is None of a Dog's Business. I.O.W., they've learned from early on not to interfere with anything that people do or feel. - Does this make sense to you?

P.S. Poodles are among the dog races with the highest level of intelligence and capacity for learning. They also come in three size varieties among which the largest is a pretty large dog about the same size as an average sized German Shepherd.

Lisa McNichols said...

Well, hey there! I was just about t delete a bunch of emails when my eye caught this one. This is a bit of a slow conversation, isn't it, since it's been more than a year since I last posted. :-) How have you been? I see Waters never responded. Figures. I am interested in something you said previously. It sounds as though you did more harmful things to others when you were younger. Why do you think that is?

Roxie B said...

The only times I've seen a dog around a confirmed sociopath, the dog just treated him in the same loving manner as she does everyone else. She was actually more affectionate towards me. Might have something to do with the fact everybody else she knew kept giving her chocolate which is toxic for dogs whereas I would instead give her cheese and cranberries which is good for dogs. I also have a calming manner with all animals. The sociopath told me that giving the dog cheese was just as bad as giving her chocolate. Moron.

Anonymous said...

"Most psychopaths - at least those of my sub-type"

What do you mean by that?

dan said...

animal are more calm and submissive near a dangerous or psychopatic human