Can Dogs Sense Evil and Good?

While evil and good are completely contrary, it is difficult to differentiate the two. Because of the demeanor they create and portray, evil people are frequently misidentified as good. At times, incorrectly judging a person can lead to a tragic incident in your life.

Only by distinguishing between evil and bad will we be able to reduce heartbreak, deception, and cheating.  

can dogs sense evil
Can dogs sense evil and good?

And while you might not be the character expert, someone very close to you is. This special someone is none other than your beloved dog. Your dog is indeed the unpaid bodyguard you need because it is extremely loyal, courageous, and possesses top-notch detective abilities.

Dogs having a “sixth sense,” “special power,” or “magical abilities” are not myths of old. They are founded on some facts. Let’s delve into the ifs, hows, buts, and whys of this superpower that only dogs possess.

Do Dogs Really Sense Evil and Good?

Have you ever noticed your dog behaving oddly around strangers? Is there somebody in particular it dislikes?

If so, your doggy may be communicating something to you in its special dog language. It probably doesn’t trust or is suspicious of that person. While the person may look harmless, it is always better to leave the decision in the hands of the expert here—your dog.

Well, what am I to say? It is not only the dog’s sense of smell that detects criminals.

a French Bulldog barks
A French Bulldog barks at the stranger.

History of Dogs Sensing Good and Evil

Since ancient times, dogs have been used to guard and protect houses and flocks. They also helped solve crimes and identify culprits. They can do so due to their heightened sense of smell and hearing

This prompted extensive research into canines’ senses and behavior. Researchers soon discovered that a dog just does not pick up the smell; it also picks up many other physical and behavioral patterns. Later, they discovered that dogs have a knack for sensing many other things like emotions, illness, goodness, and evilness.

Dogs easily detect a wicked person, even when they are putting on a show.

Border Collie at red door
Angry Border Collie guards the red door.

How Does Your Dog Do That?

While humans judge others through external appearances, social statuses, and details on social media platforms, your doggie has its detective magnifying lens and scrutinizes its suspect from head to toe. Your dog notices and perceives everything from a person’s tone of speech to their body language.

And you will see the outcome of your dog’s analysis in their behavior. So, whether your dog is jumping and playing or vigilant and snarling, you’ll know whether or not the person is on your friend list.

Red Fox Labrador Retriever
Red Fox Labrador Retriever looks up.

Testing This Theory

Academics and experts have taken note of the good and evil sensing superpowers of dogs. They have conducted various studies to determine if dogs really can detect goodness and evilness. Here are two studies that were carried out to determine the same.

Study 1: This study carried out in Japan gauged dogs’ reactions to different human behaviors. The study involved a person trying to open a jar with a volunteer standing next to them. The researchers created three different scenarios.

They were:

  • Scenario 1: The volunteer helps to open the jar.
  • Scenario 2: The volunteer is aloof or passive.
  • Scenario 3: The volunteer outright refuses to help.

After the dog had encountered all the interaction, the volunteer would then offer a treat to the dog. And although you might expect the dog to accept the treat in any case, it was not so

The dogs happily accepted the treat from the helpful person; most even accepted it from the passive volunteer. However, they were unwilling to trust the unhelpful or the “mean” one. They simply ignored the person, conveying they were not interested in interacting with them.

Study 2: This study was carried out to find out if dogs can tell someone is untrustworthy. In this experiment, there were two containers—one with food and one without food. 

First, the person pointed at the container with food; however, in the second round, he pointed at the empty container. 

While the dogs were happy the first time, they got disappointed that they were lied to the next time. The third time, the dogs didn’t care to respond; they just remembered that the person was not trustworthy.

There have been numerous other studies as well. Studies have even found dogs to hold grudges against people who have been unkind to their owners. 

dog licks jar with cookie treats
The dog licks jar with cookie treats.

Signs That Your Dog Doesn’t Trust a Person

Imagine a scenario wherein your dog detects someone evil. And you just don’t get what your dog is trying to say. Well, don’t blame yourself.

Most pet parents don’t get why their otherwise happy-go-lucky dog suddenly starts behaving weirdly. However, to avoid similar incidents, let’s take a look at some signs that your dog may use to signal “EVIL” and “RUN.”

Barking: Although barking is a normal canine behavior, you need to take note when the dog is barking aggressively and growling. Your dog will make noises you have never heard before. A loud guttural growl is a sign your dog has detected something not so good.

Flashing Teeth: Detecting evil will put your puppy on alert, safeguarding those it loves. Although it may not turn offensive or launch an attack right away, it will start threatening the person in question. Flashing teeth is your dog’s way of saying, “Don’t even think of doing anything funny.”

Focus on the Evil Person: Dogs may give the person their undivided attention and even ignore you. They fix their gaze wholly on the person, and they avoid distractions. 

Pacing Around: Your dog is trying to defend you in the presence of the evil person, as they may not feel safe around that person.

Moving Away From the Person: Although your dog can be all protective and defensive, it may hide or cower in some situations. This may be because the person in question is too evil and sinister.

So, the next time your dog meets or interacts with someone new, pay close attention to its behavior. Your dog may be passing judgment on whether the person will be your lifelong friend.

Yorkie barking
Yorkie barking at the stranger.

The Science Behind Dogs Sensing Good and Evil

Studies have proved that dogs are great at observing people. This is because their judgment is not marred or clouded by the distractions that often get to us. They can also sense a person’s true nature and intention, and discover something evil dormant in them.

Dogs differentiate well between a helpful person and an unhelpful one. They don’t trust as easily as people expect them to. This is because their social intelligence has evolved with time.

Having graced the sides of humans from time immemorial, dogs have picked up the social aspects of human life. This learned behavior helps them differentiate between a good and an evil person.

Also, dogs like some sort of uniformity or predictability in their lives. As most dog owners follow a specific daily routine, the dogs are at ease as they know what is going on. So, when someone is trying to disrupt the routine or acting weird and unusual, dogs are likely to regard that person as bad.

And although we are talking about the special power of dogs, we too have a “bad feeling” about some people. While we are mostly fooled and don’t get it right most of the time, dogs get past this and see right through the person. While some attribute it to the dog’s sixth sense, experts have a different say. 

According to the experts, the dog’s raw senses help them determine if the person is good or bad. They pick up the body language and tone of the person. They may sense through body language if the person has become more aggressive, and can even predict if the person is going to attack.

Studies have shown that the evil thoughts, emotions, and intentions that a person harbors result in the emission of chemicals. And although we cannot sense these chemicals, dogs definitely can.

These chemicals infuse the sweat droplets of the person. As the person sweats, the dog easily detects these chemicals and senses that the person is evil

Also, an evil person’s brain chemistry changes, too. This happens when they are angry and harboring sinister thoughts. This, too, tells the dog if the person is a threat.

All this is amazing, and all you need to do is keep your doggie close and closely watch its reaction. However, there is an exception—the one time that your dog may not be able to predict the person’s true nature – psychopaths. 

Yes, your dog might be unable to detect the most harmful of the lot. This is because psychopaths have weird brain signaling—they don’t do emotions. Because of this, their pheromones are almost constant; hence, there is no change in chemicals.

As their brain chemistry hardly changes, dogs may not be able to detect psychopaths. 

American Bully on grass
American Bully looks intimidating and stands on the grass.

Training Your Dog to Sense Good and Evil

So, does your dog detect good and evil? Is it able to communicate the message to you? Let’s start with finding out if the dog can sense good and evil.

Try experimenting. You may know many people who are good, and you may know some that are not particularly good. 

Take your dog to different people and note its reaction. Based on its reaction, you can now redefine the people as good or evil.

Your dog may label some people you have known to be good forever as evil. However, you must remember that some people are bad to the bone. And although you cannot detect it yourself, nothing passes your dog’s scrutiny.  

Alternatively, you can seek your dog’s opinion on someone you have just met. Unlike you, your dog doesn’t need to know the person’s history to determine whether they are evil. It will pick it up, even if the person is trying to come across as very friendly and pleasant.

You need to remember that your best friend is an excellent judge of character. They know who to trust and who not to. So, if your dog has taken an instant dislike to something, make sure you look into the matter.

Cane Corso and humans
Cane Corso can be welcoming to strangers if properly trained.

Can Dogs Sense When Something Bad Will Happen?

We have already established that dogs do detect the evil and good in someone, is there anything else that they can catch? The heightened sense of smell of dogs has helped find criminals for centuries now. The same sense of smell also helps them detect danger.

For instance, your dog may be able to detect a fire before you do. This is because they smell the burning chemicals in the air faster than humans. Your dog may detect a fire even when it is just starting. 

A dog’s sense of smell helps them detect any new chemicals that they may consider dangerous, and you may see them backing away from the area that the chemical is being emitted from.

Often, the reason behind dogs detecting things that we can’t is because they have a different vision. They can identify things in the dark that we can’t even see. It is why dogs may be able to find missing objects.

beagle with his sense of smell
Dogs have incredible sense of smell.


Dogs have always been humans’ best friends. They have guarded and protected us and even detected criminals for us. Dogs have always made their owner’s happiness and security the foremost.

And now we know that they can even sense goodness and evilness in people. So, it makes absolute sense to consider your dog’s judgment on someone. As your loyal friend, it has your best interests in mind.