Dog Detects Medical Condition


 One of the most incredible ‘scent’ cases I have come across was a client who came to me when her beloved dog, a German Shepherd, begun acting strangely around her. The dog had started growling at her in the evenings, which given his hefty size was a worry for the family. According to the client, the issue arose almost overnight and the dog was not displaying any of the same behaviours around other people and was in fact a very gentle dog. A visit to a veterinarian had ruled out any medical conditions. 

 When the client contacted me, I believed it best to see the behaviour for myself. When I visited the home I was able to rule out any sinister behavioural reasons and worked toward pinpointing the underlying issue. Just what was causing such a loving dog to growl at his owner sporadically?

The issue did not present to me as an aggression issue. Given the dog seemed to be agitated when the

Young Old German Shepherd Dog (Black) with a yellow background
The canine olfactory sense is incredible and dogs are said to have a sense of smell that is over one thousand times more sensitive than humans.

client was preparing evening meals from the kitchen, I asked her to go through every step she would normally take when cooking in the evenings. My client laughed and told me one of the first things she would do is pour a wine, so I asked her to do just that. To our surprise, the dog’s ears pricked up when he saw the wine being poured and he took off out of the house to sit at a point that had been dubbed his ‘observation deck’. From here he was able to watch his owner from a ‘safe’ distance. 

 My client had just recently been diagnosed with a heart condition, which she confided in me was reactive to alcohol. With daily observations we in fact ascertained that her German Shepherd was able to sense changes in her heart pattern, even before she was able to detect them herself. This change in heart pattern worried him, which was causing his ‘worry growl’ and with that knowledge we were able to work at desensitising him. In essence, the client had her own medic alert dog. As we now know, medic alert dogs are able to smell chemical changes within the body. They are just incredible.”

Jemma has been training dogs for over 10 years and specialises in all types of obedience work with a strong skill and passion for behavioural issues.

Jemma offers private consultations and can be contacted via



Mobile:       0400 796 772

Jemma will be providing FREE MONTHLY HELP to our Black Hound friends.

Send your behavioural or training questions to us at Black Hound via Facebook email us directly at with ‘Canine Behaviour’ in the subject field.

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