4 min read


Can Dogs Feel Bitterness?



4 min read


Can Dogs Feel Bitterness?


When you start to feel bitter towards another human being, chances are you have been through a lot with that specific person that has led you to feel that way. Bitterness is a result of anger and resentment and it is a deep, hard to understand emotion. A lot of the time, it just happens without you actually realizing what is happening. 

When it comes to dogs, they have a harder time expressing their emotions. They do not have the full range of emotions like we do, but they are still able to experience them in some ways. Are dogs able to experience bitterness towards someone or something? How would a happy pupper get to that point?


Signs Your Dog Feels Bitterness Towards Someone

Bitterness and anger go hand in hand as far as emotions go. Anger is more of a current emotion and bitterness relates to something that you were angry about in the past and maybe thought you let go, but you really still hold onto it. Dogs are able to feel anger and they can definitely feel bitterness. 

These are the signs to watch out for when you think your dog may be feeling bitterness towards someone. A dog that feels bitterness towards someone may growl or bark at that person or animal. They may sniff them in order to bring back a memory of their feelings towards them. A dog's memory is not the best, so they use their senses to decipher past relationships, good or bad. 

If a dog does not like someone and it has been engrained in their head over time, they may even tuck their tail in between their legs, and start shaking or cowering. Dogs almost have a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out if they like someone or not. If someone treats them badly, over time they will come to resent that person.

Body Language

Signs your dog is feeling bitter include:

  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Tail Tucking

Other Signs

Other signs that your pooch is feeling bitter are:

  • Strange Behavior Around One Specific Person Or Thing
  • Urinating Out Of Fear
  • Aggressive Behavior

The History Behind Dogs Feeling Bitterness


Dogs can feel many different emotions and they are able to convey how they feel through the different movements they make. When a dog is angry, they may bark, growl, and sometimes even bite if they feel threatened enough. After that angry situation subsides, though, what happens when they run into the same situation again? 

Studies have been done that show that dogs are not able to remember past experiences as well as humans. Because of this, they must use their other senses to remember the past. When a dog sniffs someone and begins to act irately towards them, this is a sign that they have had a bad past experience with them. Studies have shown that dogs can experience numerous different emotions, just maybe not to the same extent as humans. 

When it comes to the feeling of anger, it has been long understood that dogs usually brush off any anger they have quickly after it happens. This is because dogs are much more sensitive creatures and they will normally get upset or sad before they get angry. 

Once they do hold onto their anger, though, they can hold onto it for an exceptionally long time. That is where the bitterness comes in. Bitterness comes from holding onto anger for quite a long time. While dogs may have a hard time remembering certain things, if they recognize something or someone bad, they will hold onto that and remember what emotion they had the first time it experienced it.

The Science of Dogs Feeling Bitterness


Dogs are known to have plenty of emotions - just like humans do. While studies continue to be done on the various emotions dogs have, it is known that dogs can feel bitterness towards certain people or situations. Dogs are unique creatures since not all animals are able to feel emotions so deeply. 

Most breeds are alike in the way they respond to certain situations with similar emotions. Some dogs have more outgoing personalities than others, but at the same time, some dogs may be more introverted.  Because animals do have their own unique personalities, some may hold onto feelings of bitterness more than others.

Training Your Dog to Overcome Bitterness


Okay, so if we are being realistic, there is no possible way for you to train your dog how to feel their emotions. The only thing you can truly do is train them how to react properly and behave accordingly. When dogs get angry, there is a chance that they can lash out at whoever made them angry. Rightfully so, since dogs are usually angered by someone treating them badly.  

Dogs are also notorious for being exceptionally protective of their young ones and their humans. Once they have bonded with their owner, they will protect them until the end. There is a reason that dogs are a man's best friend. 

When it comes to helping your dog handle these situations, you have to keep in mind that dogs have a way of knowing if something or someone is bad. When they sense this, they will hold onto the feeling until proven otherwise. If they feel angered and they continue to be surrounded by whatever is stressing them out, they can gain a bitterness towards it. You need to know your pup well enough to get them out of any harmful situations that may occur. 

You can train your dog to react better to situations by making sure they listen to certain vocal cues. For example, if you are able to say "come" and they immediately go sit by your side, you will be able to use this in situations where they are uncomfortable. 

It is hard to know exactly what emotion they are feeling when it comes to deciphering whether or not it is anger or bitterness, so it is better to be safe than sorry. With all of this being said, it is good to remember that there is no true way of knowing how much bitterness a dog can feel and hold onto, so be sure to know your pup and try to understand what they are telling you. 

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Safely Handling Your Pup:

  1. If you notice your dog acting out, carefully take control of the situation and move them elsewhere as they may be uncomfortable.
  2. When you bring new people around your pup, make sure that person is behaving well around them. Some people are not dog people, but they should still respect your pup.

By a Keeshond lover Molly Martin

Published: 05/08/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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