4 min read


Why Do Dogs Get Mad When You Show Them The Middle Finger



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Get Mad When You Show Them The Middle Finger




Have you just flicked the middle finger at your dog? The same as a human, your four-legged friend probably didn't appreciate it. Did your dog growl at you when you showed him the middle finger, sulk away into a corner, or just plain turn his back on you? He might even have lunged forward and tried to bite you. Whichever action he performed, you gathered the idea he was mad at you and wouldn't you be if someone showed you their middle finger? It's quite surprising that dogs can even understand human sign language, but they can. So why does your dog get mad when you show him the middle finger?

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs understand the signs of aggression when they see them. They don't need them to be demonstrated by one of their own kind to be understood either. Your pup knows you well enough to distinguish between you being a loving and affectionate pet owner to you being, quite frankly, not nice. When you show your dog the middle finger you are, to him, displaying the fact you're angry with him for some reason. Nobody likes to be told off. So if your pup turns away from you when you show him the middle finger, you can guess he does it because he's upset. What's worse for him is if you show him the middle finger as a joke to get him to react in front of your friends. If your dog hasn't done anything wrong and is under the impression you're punishing him, he's just going to be completely confused by the signals you're giving him. It's sad to say, but very true, our canine friends just don't understand jokes. Just like us humans, they also don't like having a finger pointed at them even if it is just for a bit of fun or in the middle of a game.

If you'd been his alpha in the wild and in charge of the pack, you may well have snarled at him or given him a quick nip to discipline him or enforce your superior position on him. Okay, so you don't curl your lip up and growl at your dog, but pointing the middle finger at him is basically the same. You're showing him aggression. As dog character goes, you'll find it makes him uncomfortable. The way our four legged friends react to an unexpected show of dominance is by retaliating. When you show your dog the middle finger, he doesn't really know what your intentions are, he could easily misinterpret your actions and think, in his own peculiar doggy way, that you're instigating a fight.

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Encouraging the Behavior

Giving your dog confusing signals is not a good thing. While they can understand very well the simple commands we teach them when they're clear, concise, and repeated often, they don't understand everything we say and do. If you're flicking the middle finger at your dog, he won't really know what you're doing and may well react from pure instinct by lunging at your finger and biting it. That is going to be very painful and upsetting for you. You'll also then have to discipline your pup for biting you which will confuse him even more as it was you who initiated the moment.

Your dog loves you and trusts you implicitly. All he wants is to be the centre of your attention and receive as much of your affections as he possibly can. If you're together on the sofa having a pet owner and pup cuddle one minute then you thrust your middle finger at him the next, he's just not going to understand the abrupt change in your mood. Not surprisingly, he'll be upset by your sudden display of unfriendliness and may even slink off into a corner out of your way. It's not nice to make you're dog feel rejected in that way or to make him doubt your level of affection for him. He doesn't do it to you, does he?

Other Solutions and Considerations

Showing your dog the middle finger is not a good way of demonstrating to your dog who's boss. Why not consider signing up for a few training sessions with a qualified dog handler. They'll be able to teach you some great techniques to let your dog know who is in charge without having to show him aggressive signals. If your dog is growling at you or even snapping at your fingers, you might want to think about consulting with a professional dog trainer. They'll be able to show you, in a few simple steps, how to gain your pup's respect so that he won't continue to do so.


Yes, it's true, dogs do get mad when you show them the middle finger. It confuses them because they don't really understand what you're trying to communicate. So if you do show your dog the middle finger, just make sure you're balancing one of his favorite treats on it. If you do, guaranteed, he'll understand you perfectly.

By a Chihuahua lover Liz Correal

Published: 03/22/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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