Can Dogs Feel Hate?

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Introduction

True hate is a very strong emotion in humans, and many people use it quite flippantly just because they are annoyed with someone or something. Many humans don’t really think about what real hate actually means before thinking they feel it, so when it comes to dogs, there is very little chance of hate being understood. 

In fact, as with other human emotions, dogs do not have a concept of what hate is. Emotions such as fear and aggression are inbuilt and arise because of a particular situation. However, while your dog may come across as disliking someone or even being nervous about them, your pooch would not know how to truly hate. 

Signs Your Dog Dislikes Something

While your pooch will not actively feel hate toward anyone or anything, you may see signs that it doesn’t like something for one reason other another. This could be in relation to anything from some new food that you are trying out on your pet through to a new person that your dog simply doesn’t take to. This does not mean that your dog actually hates the food or the person in question – it just means that for reasons of its own, your pooch has not taken to that particular product or person.

Some signs that indicate your dog does not like something include turning away, growling or barking, sniffing it and then walking off, turning its head when the person or object is brought over, and even hiding away to escape the product or person that it is not too keen on. If you notice these signs, they could indicate that your dog is not keen on something. 

However, it does not means that your pooch is muttering away to itself about how much it hates that particular thing or person in the same way as a human might. Given the problems caused by hate, perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from our four-legged friends!

Dogs have no qualms about making it obvious if they do not particularly like a person or an object, and one of the main ways in which they do this is through use of body language. Often, your dog will simply turn away without a second thought if there is something it does not like. In some cases, it may actively walk off rather than simply turning its head or body away from you. Your dog may also back away from the thing or person that it doesn’t like. Some dogs will flatten their ears and tail tuck when approached by someone or something they are not keen on.

Body Language

Some obvious signs that your dog is not fond of something include:

  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Ears drop
  • Head turning
  • Tail tucking

Other Signs

More cues that your dog may show when they don't like something are:

  • Hiding
  • Backing away
  • Walking off

History of Dogs and Hate

Our understanding of canine emotions and behavior has improved over recent decades, thanks to research and studies that have been carried out by experts. It has been concluded that while dogs certainly do feel emotions such as pain and fear, there are many secondary emotions that we assume they must feel just because we feel them. One of these is hate – and even when humans say that they hate something or someone, they very rarely mean it in the sense of true hate.

Dogs, of course, do not know what hate is. It is all very black and white with dogs, they either like something or they don’t. There is no grey area where they think ‘hmmm, I suppose it’s okay but I’m not that keen’. There are also no extremes, so your pooch won’t be sitting there thinking ‘I really hate this new food they have started feeding me’. 

Because dogs have no concept of emotions such as hate, it can be difficult for us to work out what they are thinking and why. However, when a dog is not keen on something, the signs are pretty noticeable in most cases, so this is something to look out for. 

Science Behind Canine Emotions

Over the years, many experts have carried out scientific studies to gain a better understanding of canine emotions and behavior. It is clear that our pooches do experience emotions, but often we are guilty of labeling these emotions based on our own human ones. 

For example, if your dog turns away from a person or object, you may think that there is hate involved. However, from your pet’s point of view that particular person or thing simply does not appeal – there is certainly no active hate that comes into play because your pooch does not even know what hate is. 

Recognizing Your Dog's Dislikes

It is worth learning more about the way in which your dog acts and behaves when there is something that it is not keen on. This makes it easier for you to adapt the environment or take steps to rectify the situation. 

For example, if you decide to change your dog’s diet and start feeding it new food, you may find that your dog simply sniffs at it and then walks off. If your pooch keeps doing this, try putting out some other food that you know it likes. If the dog then immediately eats the other food but still leaves the new one, you will know that there is something about the new food that it is not keen on.

You also need to look at the way your dog acts around different people or even other pets. You may find that your dog gets along with a lot of your friends and family members but there are certain ones that it will bark at or simply not go near. This is not your dog thinking to itself ‘I hate that person’. It is just the fact that the dog senses that there is something about the person that it is not keen on. 

Over time, your dog may start to get along with that person because there is no hate involved. In some cases, it just takes dogs a little longer to get accustomed to some people compared to others.

You also need to be able to differentiate between aggression and hatred. If your dog constantly snarls, growls, and snaps this does not mean that it is feeling hatred. However, it could indicate a problem with aggression. If this is the case, you need to look at what may be causing your dog to be aggressive in certain situations so that you can take steps to remedy this. 

Actions to Take if Your Dog Dislikes Something:

  • Monitor any changes in behavior.
  • Take steps to change its environment or remove the object of dislike.
  • Find out what is causing your dog to behave in that manner.

Tell Us About What Your Dog Hates!