We've all gotten that side look before - the squinty eyes, pouting lips, and heavy breathing. We humans understand these behaviors may indicate anger or fury. Do these similar reactions indicate anger in our pups too?
For sure! Dogs are fully capable of not liking things or being annoyed. Fortunately for us, dogs tend to "live in the moment" and their anger passes quickly, just in time for a walk. Read on to find out more!
Signs Your Dog is Feeling Fury
Has your dog been suddenly barking when you walk by or chewing up your shoes? This sass may not be completely random, and your pup might, in fact, be dealing with their emotions. Just like we experience anger, our pups do too. Our furry friends need mental stimulation and may get mad and from being left alone all day, among other things.
If you think your canine companion might be giving you the cold shoulder, you can consider a few signs to determine what your dog might be feeling. If your pup ignores you, this can be a sign that your pup is a little peeved. Just like you might give a parent or your significant other the silent treatment, dogs know how to walk away too.
You may also observe long eye contact as your dog stares you down. Similar to a human eye roll, your pup may be losing patience. Even further, those chewed up shoes may be more than a bored pup.
Remember when your parents told you not to do something, so you did exactly that? Your pup may go entirely out of their way to break a rule, just to push your buttons. More serious anger may even be demonstrated by "accidents" in the house, knowing you will be upset having to clean it up.
The History Behind Dogs Feeling Fury
Dogs are intelligent, living, breathing creatures, capable of complex thoughts, emotions, and feelings. However, doggo feelings and emotions are quite different from human emotions. Instead, think of canine emotions as reactions to stimuli in the environments around them. Dogs tend to be impulsive and react to things the like or don't like.
For instance, you'll immediately know if your pup is enjoying the cuddles, a walk, or being picked up. Animal behaviorists and researchers understand dogs to display fury and anger rather than contemplated hate or vengeance. So fortunately, your dog's sassy behavior shouldn't turn into a grudge. Just be sure to give your dog attention and dissuade this type of behavior so that your pup doesn't resort to aggression, frustration, or breaking the rules.
The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Fury
Dogs have more complex emotional lives than was originally thought. Researchers have come to realize that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a two-and-a-half years old human. This means that we can observe human toddlers to anticipate the feelings and reactions of our dogs.
While our pups clearly have and exhibit emotions, they have a smaller range of emotions that adult humans have. However, scientists agree that dogs, for the most part, have the capacity to feel affection, love, suspicion, shyness, joy, anger, fear, disgust, contentment, distress, excitement, arousal, and awe. While a human’s emotional capacity develops over the years, a dog reaches "emotional maturity" at around six months.
That being said, much of our dogs' reactions can be immediate, small acts of rage, rather than contemplated anger. Researchers believe that dogs simply live in the moment and react to immediate stimuli, making their acts of anger really just responses to what is happening in front of them. So don't fret, your chewed up shoes do not mean that your pup hates you. However, you may want to look into the underlying cause, whether your dog isn't getting enough energy expended throughout the day or is scared of being left alone.
Training Your Dog to Cope With Fury
Feelings of anger can happen for a number reasons. However, the truth is, all learned behavior is a result of you, their owner. Generally what happens is your dog feels like you are not giving them enough love and attention, and your pup lashes out.
However, not all hope is lost, and you can work on training your canine companion so that it's able to cope with its anger.
If you know that your pup hates being left alone and you have to leave the home for the day, consider crate training your pup. By making the crate a positive, comfortable nook, your pup can resort to the crate when it's feeling overwhelmed. Just throw in a couple of toys and pillows or blankets to keep your pup company. Additionally, positive reinforcement training, whether you use treats or toys, can help your pup deal with bouts of anger.
You want to give your dog a ton of love, affection, and attention when they do not show signs of anger or being mad. This will help them associate love and affection with good behavior, not just when they are ignoring you or acting irrationally.
By Olivia Gerth
Published: 06/16/2018, edited: 04/06/2020