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## Why are dogs afraid of the aroma of cooked lamb?

 Quote by Darwin123 You didn't watch the entire video. It wasn't the lamb and it wasn't the spice. It was the waxed floor. The text to the video claims the doberman was afraid of the slippery floor, not the treat. The lamb treat was placed in the middle of the waxed floor. The doberman couldn't step on the waxed floor, although a smaller dog did so. Later in the video, another lamb treat was placed at the edge of the waxed floor near the doberman. The doberman ate it right away. There is some variation between dog individuals. Since this is a Physics Forum, I present a conjecture. Small dogs may navigate better than large dogs on waxed floors. The weight of the dog may be distributed evenly on the dogs paws. However, the large dog has more area on its paws then the small dog. I am not sure precisely how the scaling laws work for static friction of different surfaces. However, my intuition says that a large dog will not be able to stop as well as a small dog. The large dog also risks more damage from falling than the small dog. There, the cube-square laws apply. If the doberman trips, it could be hurt a little worse than if the small dog trips. So the doberman has a justified fear of the waxed floor, which the small dog does not. It has nothing to do with the treat. Both dogs ate the treat, when offered to them under safe conditions. So it has nothing to do with the treat itself. It was the floor beneath the treat.
Uhm... no, it's not a doberman (it's a lab) and there's no mention of a wax floor. The dog goes on the couch later in the video and is still afraid of the treat.

I think you watched a different video... if you watch the specific video it's pretty obviously the dog treat. It's a direct relationship with the distance of the treat to the dog's nose. He gets away, relaxes a bit, then the owner brings it closer again and it freaks out, barks, swipes at the treat, etc.
 Recognitions: Gold Member If you just google dog scared cooked lamb and actually take the time to sift through all the google results, you will literally find like a 100 reports (granted, they're anecdotal). It helps if you put dog ~afraid ~cooked lamb as I have below so that it uses any words similar to afraid or cooked (some people say roasted or scared). https://www.google.com/search?q=dogs...w=1228&bih=582 If you google dogs afraid onion or dogs afraid of chocolate, you get nada. Dogs aren't afraid of those things, even though they're poison to them. And lamb isn't poisonous to them, so I don't think it's an intelligent call on the dog's part, just some random biochemical response to something in lamb.

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 Quote by Evo Lamb is a very common ingredient in most high end dog foods. Dogs love lamb, so it could very well be strong spices that the dog is objecting to. I personally have never known a dog to dislike lamb.
??

A sheepdog my dad had would cower/act anxious if lamb was being cook.

clearly cooking / processing is the difference between your "dogs love lamb" and the experience of many people. What does the dog eating lamb have to do with the emotional response of the dog to the lamb being cooked? I am afraid of cows..., dislike the smell of the raw meat & while it's cooking, but love to eat beef.

At least you identified the fact it would be related to scents, but are any of the "possible" spices you suggest as a cause used exclusively for lamb?

Lamb has a very unique taste to it, perhaps similar to dog. perhaps it relates to breeding of herding dogs. But too few seem to have this response, so I'd think it's an "error" / irrational behavior on the dogs part.
 Hello, I just recently stumbled upon this forum even though I had done a similar search about 9 months ago. I have a 2 year old bernese mountain dog who is extremely outgoing and loves all types of food. Last year at Christmas we put a lamb roast in the oven, not 15 minutes after cooking he started showing extreme signs of stress- pacing, whining, circling. The other dog in the house was fine. I could tell he was very busy "smelling" and I took him outside the house- big mistake as I could not get him back inside. He ended up going home with my parents and returning to my house a week later. I had never seen him so anxious and terrified. Just tonight he began acting the same way and I believe our neighbors are grilling lamb kabobs. He is pacing, tail tucked and constantly looking up into the sky smelling the air. This dog would gobble any other type of meat and has never been food picky. I am sharing this as I believe this must be a compound specific to lamb. I am currently a vet school student and I cannot find any information or studies that have been conducted, so I am curious to see what you guys dig up. thanks

 Quote by kabecker Hello, I just recently stumbled upon this forum even though I had done a similar search about 9 months ago. I have a 2 year old bernese mountain dog who is extremely outgoing and loves all types of food. Last year at Christmas we put a lamb roast in the oven, not 15 minutes after cooking he started showing extreme signs of stress- pacing, whining, circling. The other dog in the house was fine. I could tell he was very busy "smelling" and I took him outside the house- big mistake as I could not get him back inside. He ended up going home with my parents and returning to my house a week later. I had never seen him so anxious and terrified. Just tonight he began acting the same way and I believe our neighbors are grilling lamb kabobs. He is pacing, tail tucked and constantly looking up into the sky smelling the air. This dog would gobble any other type of meat and has never been food picky. I am sharing this as I believe this must be a compound specific to lamb. I am currently a vet school student and I cannot find any information or studies that have been conducted, so I am curious to see what you guys dig up. thanks
A hypothesis has been proposed here that some dogs are afraid of the spices used with lamb, not the lamb itself. I propose the hypothesis that the dog doesn't even have to smell the spice at that time. If he had gotten sick from the spices in lamb meat, then he might associated the smell of lamb meat with those spices forever. He remembers being poisoned by the lamb, and has no way to know whether it was the lamb or the spice.
Your neighbors were likely using spices. Kababs are usually cooked with onions and other spices. You don't know what your neighbors were cooking, but you believe that it was "kabob". If it was a kabab, then you can't even be sure that it was a lamb kabob. You may have decided that it was a kabob by the smell. The smell of a kabob mostly comes from spices. Even if the neighbors weren't using spices, he may be remembering the lamb meat.
You haven't stated whether you were using spices with your lamb roast. Maybe he smelled spices. Maybe he smelled only lamb and remembered having once gotten sick with lamb.
You should try to offer your dog unspiced lamb meat. Just cook some lamb without putting any onions or garlic on it. Maybe he would eat it. That would falsify your hypothesis. If he is afraid of unspicy lamb, please tell us whether your dog ever ate spicy meat of any king. Maybe he got sick one time eating lamb meat. Or maybe he never got sick in his life. That would suggest that he is afraid of the meat.
Another hypothesis proposed here is that sheep dogs may have been bred to dislike the smell of sheep. I don't believe it. The shepherds would have been feeding their dogs lamb all the time because that was the most easily available meat in their area.
Onions and garlic are slightly poisonous to dogs. Some dogs like small quantities of spice, like some humans like cigarettes. Maybe some dogs are repelled by spices, just like some humans find cigarette smoke offensive. So the question is whether these dogs that get anxious around lamb are anxious about meat or spice.
People are relating contradictory anecdotes, here. However, the ones claiming dogs are afraid of sheep meat should tell us how the dog reacts to spices. If there is a dog who likes onions, and is afraid of "plain" cooked lamb, then that would support the hypothesis that some dogs are afraid of lamb meat.
 Thanks for the response Darwin123 1) He never has eaten lamb- I have had him since he was a puppy so I know he was never poisoned by lamb meat previously. He didn't even try any the days he was upset. His dog food is lamb free (turkey & chicken). In fact, I don't think he has ever had bad food poisoning to even associate with spices. 2) We do not put any unusual spice on our lamb- no different than other meats. He has eaten hamburger with gusto and we use lots of spices in our burgers. 3) A previous post on this forum mentioned a particular molecule unique to lamb aroma. I would bet money it has something to do with that compound. This dog has never shown a fear to any other type of food ever. Probably similar to how some humans can detect the smell of asparagus in their urine, while other humans are completely oblivious.
 Recognitions: Gold Member I really don't buy the lamb spice hypothesis myself, I think the compounds in the lamb itself are more likely given the scope of the anecdotes. I have shown papers that identifies unique compounds in lamb, whereas spices are used in a wide variety of combinations. Of course, this is all speculation still, but you'd think you'd actually see anecdotes surrounding the spice itself (since spices can be used with such versatility) rather than the lamb. It stands to reason that it's more likely that it's one of the unique lamb compounds. This is still just a hypothesis though, awaiting more robust evidence.

 Quote by kabecker Thanks for the response Darwin123 1) He never has eaten lamb- I have had him since he was a puppy so I know he was never poisoned by lamb meat previously. He didn't even try any the days he was upset. His dog food is lamb free (turkey & chicken). In fact, I don't think he has ever had bad food poisoning to even associate with spices. 2) We do not put any unusual spice on our lamb- no different than other meats. He has eaten hamburger with gusto and we use lots of spices in our burgers. 3) A previous post on this forum mentioned a particular molecule unique to lamb aroma. I would bet money it has something to do with that compound. This dog has never shown a fear to any other type of food ever. Probably similar to how some humans can detect the smell of asparagus in their urine, while other humans are completely oblivious.
Okay. Maybe some dogs are afraid of lamb meat.
 Recognitions: Gold Member My dog's favorite dry food was lamb-and-rice, until we transitioned him over to Blue Buffalo, which is a chicken-based food with no grain. He used to fart a lot (and potently) on the lamb-and-rice, but on the chicken-based no-grain dog food, he is doing great in that regard. Neither my wife or I am fond of lamb, so we never cook it, and I have no idea if Duke might not like the smell. I can promise you that he will haunt you if you are eating grilled fresh tuna steaks though. Every time I grill them, he goes into "begging mode" and I have to tell him to lie down on his bed. I always relent, though, and give him a couple of hunks. Best to count your fingers after feeding him grilled tuna.
 Several months ago we brought home a new lamb-based dog food. Two of our dogs loved it. The third, a Dalmatian, was clearly terrified by the food. He also happens to be deaf, so he's a little quirky anyway, and we thought it was hilarious. We (including my wife, a small animal veterinarian) didn't think too much more about it, we just bought new food. Then last night, I cooked lamb chops, something I had never done before. Having forgotten about the previous episode we put one of the bones in his dish; once he stopped cowering at the back of the kennel, he picked it up, ran upstairs, dropped it on the floor, then sprinted back into his kennel to cower some more. Neither my wife nor I previously had heard of dogs being afraid of the scent of lamb. When I googled it this morning I was stunned to see the number of hits it got. I think the two incidents above pretty strongly suggest it has nothing to do with the manner of preparation, or the spices used--I'm pretty sure the dog food makers don't use rosemary when making the dog food, though of course I could be wrong about that. My hypothesis is that somewhere early in the (hominid-accelerated) evolution of domestic dogs, a line emerged among herding dogs that was selected for an aversion to the taste of lamb, so as to minimize the losses to the herding dogs themselves. It must persist as a recessive trait. I would be very interested to know if it is more common among certain breeds.

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 Quote by tbwampler My hypothesis is that somewhere early in the (hominid-accelerated) evolution of domestic dogs, a line emerged among herding dogs that was selected for an aversion to the taste of lamb, so as to minimize the losses to the herding dogs themselves. It must persist as a recessive trait. I would be very interested to know if it is more common among certain breeds.
Best answer I've seen, seems most likely to be the case.
 So I have a Border Collie / Australian Shepherd mix. On Thanksgiving (4 days ago) everything was normal, up until I was sitting in my room, and suddenly my dog (Abby) came running and jumped on my lap on my chair. I didn't think TOO much of it, except for the fact that she just kinda seemed strange, just not herself. It is not unusual for her to jump on my lap or anything of that sort, but... I could just tell something didn't seem right. She didn't appear to be too happy at the thought of leaving the chair. Moving on, I noticed while we were eating dinner, she was nowhere in sight. Which for her, is also sorta unusual while people are eating. She isn't bad about begging at the table, but... she is around. Again, I didn't think too much of it, just thought she wanted to be alone (she has a tendency to go to a room and lay down by herself a lot). The next day, I noticed she was still in my room, and couldn't remember if she had left at all during the day/night before. Sure enough, I called her out, and she wouldn't budge. Nothing I could do, would get her to leave the room. So... I picked her up, and brought her outside. She seemed fine while in my room, and seemed just fine while outside. But then, the moment I went to take her back inside, she freaked out and ran back outside... and into our patio, laid on the chair, and wouldn't budge. She stayed there for a couple hours, until I again had to pick her up and bring her inside, where she ran straight to my room and laid down. Again later, I picked her up and brought her into our living room (which appeared to be the only place she wasn't going willingly). Sure enough, she starts sniffing around the floor very strangely. At one point, sniffing one spot, and actually jumping back as if there was something there she was terrified of. She ran out of the living room, and again back into my room. This has been going on for 4 days now. She absolutely WILL NOT go into our kitchen, or living room, unless she is picked up, and brought into those rooms. We could not figure out what could have possibly happened to cause this. So... I started doing searching on the internet to figure out what could possibly be going on. And sure enough, I start finding threads of dogs being terrified of the smell of lamb. Once I saw those threads... I knew right away. Sure enough, on Thanksgiving, my brother had brought over lamb. NOBODY in the house, has EVER had lamb, and NEVER cooked any in the house. Until this Thanksgiving. It is the only thing I can possibly think of, that is causing her to be terrified of those 2 rooms. But now the question is... What can I do? We have vacuumed, and shampoo'd the carpet, where she appears to be sniffing the most and running away from. But no improvement. Most threads I have found, people say their dog is over it within a day. This is 4 days now, about to be 5. Any thoughts?
 I have a 6 year old mutt (lab / chow cross maybe) who is afraid of lamb too. It has nothing to do with the spices as she reacts with fear and anxiety to raw lamb bones especially. When cooking lamb she really freaks out, but after it's cooked, she's happy to have the bones to chew. go figure.
 Might it smell like death? Animals can definitely smell death and disease, and do react to it.

 Quote by gravenewworld Might it smell like death? Animals can definitely smell death and disease, and do react to it.
Dogs, like most mammals in the carnivore order, eat meat. In fact, dogs are famous for being scavengers. Dogs get their meat either by hunting or by scavenging. Jackals and wolves are famous for being scavengers. If death was such a big deal to them, then they couldn't eat meat. They especially wouldn't be good scavengers.

Various cultures worshiped dog spirits especially because dogs can be scavengers. Anubis, the jackal god, was worshiped by the Egyptians as a god of death. The wolves of Odin were worshiped along side his ravens, which are also scavengers. Dogs are not afraid of dead bodies.

Dogs probably avoid very rancid meat. A dog could get sick on rotten meat like any other mammal, even carnivores. So if the meat were rotten, then I would say that explained it. However, according to the story these dogs were being offered high quality lamb meat. So you can't explain the fear of lamb because it was diseased.
 Recognitions: Science Advisor This reminds me of Georg Forster, A Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop Resolution, Commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years, 1772, 3, 4, and 5 (1777). There he describes that the natives of New Sealand did eat their dogs. They were feeding the bones to the other dogs. While the European dogs they had brought with them on the ship refused to eat of the bones, the native dogs had no problem with this kind of cannibalism. He pointed out that this different behaviour also was found with puppies so that it was probably not trained but heritable.