dog emotions, understanding dog's emotions

Do Dogs Get Embarrassed? Understanding Canine Emotions

Dogs are known for their expressive behaviors and their ability to convey a wide range of emotions. As owners, we often interpret their behaviors through the lens of human emotions. You know better than anyone that your dog can feel all kinds of emotion - happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, even guilt. But that might lead you to wonder what else your dog might be feeling. 

For example, can your dog be embarrassed? In a way, yes. Your dog might not be able to feel the social humiliation the way a person does, but they definitely can feel self-conscious and have subtle, embarrassed-like tendencies.  

In this article, we will explore the topic of dog emotions, delve into the concept of embarrassment in dogs, and gain a better understanding of how our furry friends experience and express their feelings.

Understanding Canine Emotions

Understanding Canine Emotions

Dogs, like humans, have emotional lives. While they may not experience emotions in the same way we do, they exhibit a variety of emotional states. It can be complicated. Scientific studies have shown that dogs experience basic emotions such as joy, fear, anger, and surprise. They can also demonstrate complex emotions like empathy and love. However, it's important to remember that dogs do not possess the same level of self-awareness and cognitive complexity as humans. So, do dogs get embarrassed?

The Nature of Dog Embarrassment

Nature of Dog Embarrassment

Embarrassment is a complex human emotion that arises from self-consciousness and the fear of social judgment. It involves a feeling of discomfort or shame in response to a perceived mistake or social blunder. Embarrassment is often accompanied by physiological responses like blushing, avoiding eye contact, or changes in body language. If you have ever wondered whether dogs feel embarrassed or more complex emotions, the answer is debatable.

Can Dogs Experience Embarrassment?

Can Dogs Experience Embarrassment

While dogs can display basic and complex emotions or behaviors that may resemble human embarrassment, it is unlikely that they experience the emotion in the same way. Dogs' behavior is primarily driven by instinct, conditioning, and the immediate environment rather than self-consciousness or concern for social expectations. For instance, a dog probably wouldn't feel embarrassed over something such as a bad haircut as we would.


Behavioral Expressions That Resemble Embarrassment

Behavioral Expressions That Resemble Embarrassment

Certain dog behaviors may appear similar to human embarrassment, but they typically have different underlying motivations. These behaviors can include:

  • Submissive Postures: Dogs may lower their bodies, tuck their tails between their legs, or avoid eye contact when they feel threatened or anxious. While these body language behaviors can be interpreted as embarrassment, they are more likely related to fear or submissiveness.

  • Self-Comforting Actions: Dogs may engage in self-soothing behaviors such as licking their paws, yawning, or scratching themselves when they are stressed or anxious. These actions help them cope with their emotions rather than reflect embarrassment.

  • Avoidance or Hiding: If a dog has been scolded or reprimanded, they may try to retreat or hide. This behavior is not indicative of embarrassment as humans experience it but rather a response to perceived threat or negative consequences.

Factors Influencing Dog Behavior

Dogs' behaviors and body language are influenced by various factors, including:

  • Socialization: A well-socialized dog is more likely to exhibit confident and relaxed behavior in different situations, while a dog lacking socialization may display anxious or fearful responses that could be misinterpreted as feeling embarrassed.

  • Training and Reinforcement: Dogs that have undergone positive reinforcement training are more likely to exhibit positive behaviors and confidence, whereas dogs that have experienced punishment-based training may display anxious or submissive behaviors that can be mistakenly associated with embarrassment.

  • Individual Personality: Just like humans, dogs have unique personalities. Some dogs may be more outgoing and resilient, while others may be more timid or sensitive. These personality traits can influence how a dog responds to various situations and their susceptibility to certain emotions.

Training Your Dog To Deal With Embarrassment

All dogs are different, that's pretty clear. So, some dogs might be more likely to feel embarrassed than others. If your dog is feeling embarrassed, they might exhibit signs of distress or anger. As pet parents, it's our jobs to recognize pet emotions and dog's behavior.

The best thing you can do to help your dog deal with this is to train out their negative behaviors. If your pup is distressed from their embarrassment, train them to resort to their safe crate until they feel better. If your dog is inclined to hide when they're embarrassed, train them to run to their crate for that, too. That way you won't spend hours looking for them and wondering about their safety. 

Your dog also might get angry when they're embarrassed. Commands like "no" and "stop" are important in this situation. Even if they're angry from being embarrassed, they don't need to misbehave.


While dogs can display behaviors that may resemble embarrassment, it is unlikely that they experience this emotion in the same way humans do. Dogs primarily rely on instinct, conditioning, and immediate environmental factors to guide their behaviors. It is important for dog owners to interpret their pets' actions within the context of dog emotions rather than projecting human emotions onto them.

Understanding the emotions and behaviors of our canine companions is essential for building strong bonds and providing them with appropriate care and support. By

developing a deeper understanding of their unique emotional experiences, we can enhance our ability to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for our dogs.

Rather than attributing human emotion like embarrassment to our dogs, it is more beneficial to focus on recognizing and addressing their primary emotional needs. Dogs require love, attention, positive reinforcement, socialization, and a safe environment to thrive and maintain emotional well-being.

If you notice behaviors in your dog that resemble embarrassment, it is crucial to assess the situation from their perspective. Consider factors such as fear, anxiety, or discomfort that may be causing their response. Providing reassurance, positive reinforcement, and a calming environment can help alleviate their distress and build their confidence.

Remember that dogs are highly attuned to their human companions' emotions, and they rely on us for guidance and support. Maintaining a positive and nurturing relationship with your dog, based on trust and understanding, will foster their emotional well-being and create a strong bond between you.

In conclusion, while dogs may display behaviors that appear similar to human embarrassment, it is unlikely that they experience this emotion in the same way. Dogs rely on instinct, conditioning, and immediate environmental factors to guide their behaviors. Understanding the unique emotional experiences of dogs and responding to their primary needs will help us provide them with the care and support they require. By nurturing a positive and empathetic relationship with our dogs, we can ensure their overall emotional well-being and strengthen the bond we share with these amazing companions.

Also Read - Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy While Working From Home