Do Dogs Get Sad When You Yell at Them or is it All in Your Head?


It can be difficult to scold or punish your dog, for both parties involved. But when they’ve done something bad, it can be frustrating for dog owners. That being said, it is actually important that you keep your cool and do not shout at your dog. There are a number of reasons why it is important to avoid negative reinforcement, as it can affect your dog’s health, their trust in you, and their behavior in the future. Let’s get to it.

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Why Do Dogs Look Sad When You Yell at Them?

Dogs have their own personality and are able to understand emotions, particularly intense ones. If they are not reprimanded straight away, they won’t understand why they’re being shouted at.

do dogs get sad when yelled at

List of Effects Shouting at Your Dog can Cause

Dogs are capable of emotion and able to sense when you are angry, which results in them feeling scared or confused. They are capable of understanding short, concise commands, but not shouting.

Shouting at your dog can have long-term effects on your pooch, and even cause bad behavior problems.

Shouting and yelling can put your dog under stress and cause your dog to experience the following symptoms:

  • Appetite loss
  • Change in bowel movement
  • May also become aggressive
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of isolation

Reasons Why You Should Never Yell at Your Dog

Your Dog Wont Understand Why he is Being Yelled at

You’ve arrived home at the end of the day to find your expensive sunglasses have been chewed to shreds. So you obviously and understandably get upset, and you may start screaming at your pet.

In the eyes of your dog, the destruction of your sunnies has been completely forgotten about, and they won’t understand why you’re yelling at him. This then means that they wont learn from your outrage, making it a futile discipline exercise anyway.

Even if you’re thinking that they look like they’re guilty, they are only reacting to the emotion you’re displaying. Dogs are not capable of feeling guilt, and their sad demeanor is because they think that you’re angry for some mysterious reason.

Do dogs get sad when yelled at

Your Dog May Become Scared of You

As we now know, dogs are fully capable of sensing emotion, and are sensitive to negativity when someone is yelling at them.

If they experience anger from you, they will likely become scared of you. Maybe all of sudden they’ll start randomly yelping when you come near. You don’t want that.

Yelling or negative emotions thrust upon your pooch will affect the bond you have already created with your dog. It will likely affect their trust in obeying you in the future.

If your dog associates you with negative reinforcement like fear and anger, they will have trouble focusing when you are trying to train them due to a lack of trust.

Do Dogs Get Sad When You Yell At Them?

Dogs Respond Differently to Angry People

As before, your dog responds to anger in a way where they will have trouble focusing in situations with people they associate negative emotions. A much slower response can be seen than with people they associate positivity with.

This will cause them to become more hesitant when asked to do things by you in the future.

It Can Cause Your Dog to Become Sneaky

Yelling or scolding your dog can make them become sneaky.

They may begin to do normal tasks such as going to the bathroom, or eating behind your back, which will probably cause you to find some unexpected surprises in places you shouldn’t!

Do Dogs Get Sad When You Yell At Them?

Instead of yelling at my dog, what should I do instead?

Ignore your dog

Punishing your dog has proven to be counterproductive in getting your dog to change their behavior. This is compared to rewarding them when they have done something right.

With this in mind, if your dog has something wrong you should just ignore them. Then, when they have done something right, make sure to reward them with praise. Or better yet, a treat and positive reinforcement will help them remember to act in this way next time.

Learn some Positive Dog Training Techniques

Positive training techniques, such as rewards, praise, games, and toys are a very effective way to train your pooch on the difference between good and bad behavior.

If they’ve done something right, a gesture as simple as petting your dog is good!

Remain calm

While this can sometimes be difficult, the best way to train your dog is through reinforcing positive behavior with a calm positive voice. If you are angry, you should take a moment for yourself to calm down.

You can use an authoritative tone and be sure to exercise consistency with your reprimands. If your dog is constantly barking, a firm “No” is very effective in getting your point across.

It is important to use the same command every time, otherwise, you might confuse your dog.

Do dogs get sad when you yell at them? Try to keep your emotions in check, otherwise…

If you’ve arrived home to find a disaster where something valuable has been broken, or you’ve stumbled into an unexpected surprise, it can be hugely frustrating.

But, there is nothing to be gained from shouting at your dog. You’ll only lose their trust, cause bad behavior problems and decimate the progress you’ve made with your training.

Instead, you should use reward based training to highlight positive actions.

Wondering when to start positive training? Check out these tips for training a puppy.

sad pug

Do dogs get sad when you yell at them – FAQs

Is it Cruel to Yell at a Dog?

Yelling at your dog will not only make dogs act naughtier, but it can also lead to high-stress levels and depression in your dog. Using punishment-based training can lead to long-term effects such as depression.

How Do I Say Sorry to My Dog?

If you’re trying to communicate regretful emotions, speak to the a calm, soothing, and slightly high-pitched voice as if you were speaking with a baby. While they won’t understand that you are sorry, you can just use rewarding words, such as ‘good boy’ or ‘well done’ to get your message across.