5 min read


Can Dogs Sense Fighting?



5 min read


Can Dogs Sense Fighting?


We all get into fights and arguments at one time or another. Whether it is with a significant other, friend, sibling, or parent, your dog is bound to find themselves in a situation where they hear you fighting and arguing with someone. But have you noticed that your dog seems to get agitated when you get into a heated discussion? 

Maybe they begin to bark or cry or come over to you and try to distract you with a toy. Whatever they do, your dog can sense when there is something wrong and when a lot of negative emotions are swirling around. 

Dogs can indeed sense fighting because they know when you are upset, unhappy, and frustrated. 


Signs of a Dog Sensing Fighting

Dogs can sense when you are fighting or in an argument with someone, especially when the other person is right there with you. You can tell your dog knows when there is something wrong because they will show a few common signs that dogs emit when they can sense negative emotions. 

Perhaps you are in an argument with a spouse and the conversation is getting loud or someone begins to cry. Your dog may run over to you and try and snuggle with you, lay close to you, or just sit in front of you to try and see what is wrong and make you feel better. Dogs will also come over to the angry person and paw them or try and lick their face, leg, or arm. 

Some dogs will also try and break up a fight or argument when they know something is wrong. They may try to bring you their favorite toy so you can play with them. Some dogs will also steal your belongings because they know you will leave the argument you are in for a minute to chase them down. 

Dogs will also simply show signs of agitation, themselves. Signs your dog is agitated include them barking, crying, whining, unable to get comfortable, pacing about, putting their tail between their legs, dropping their ears, and cowering or hiding. 

Body Language

These are some signs you may notice if your dog can sense fighting:

  • Barking
  • Cowering
  • Pacing
  • Dropped Ears
  • Whimpering
  • Tail Tucking

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you may notice if your dog can sense fighting:

  • Trying To Snuggle Or Lick Your Face
  • Pawing At You
  • Stealing Something Of Yours
  • Trying To Distract You With A Toy

History of Dogs Sensing Fighting


Dogs are very intuitive creatures. They can sense what is going on around them and their environment affects them on an emotional level, just like what happens to humans. Through domestications, dogs have been able to connect with humans on a deep and personal level. 

They have been able to learn all about of lifestyle and emotions and how we react to certain events. Since dogs have the ability to sense human emotions, that means they are going to react in a similar emotional way as the energy that is surrounding them. If you are fighting with someone and you are upset, angry, and agitated, your dog will feel similar emotions as well. 

Therefore, it is safe to say that as long as dogs have been connected to humans in such a deep way, dogs have been able to sense when fights were happening and if their humans were angry and upset. 

There are many stories of dogs getting agitated by fighting and attempting to break up an argument by grabbing their favorite bone or stuffed toy and insisting their owner play with them. Your dog is likely engaging in that behavior because they think they can break up the fight and distract you if they bring a toy for you to play with. Some owners say their dogs will even steal their shoes or clothing that is laying on the ground when they are fighting with someone. Again, your dog is doing this to try and pull you away from the fight or argument. 

Science Behind Dogs Sensing Fighting


Science has confirmed that dogs can feel primary emotions such as sadness, fear, or joy. Although it is not confirmed from a scientific standpoint, many researchers and dog owners alike agree that it is possible that dogs can feel and experience secondary emotions as well, although there is still a lot to learn in this area. 

Many dogs will hide or show agitation when their parents are in a fight, which can suggest that they can sense emotions and then react to those emotions appropriately. From the way the dog reacts, it shows that the dog can understand what is going on and that their parents are not getting along and are upset. 

That is often why dogs will run away and hide or try and break up the fight so it does not get any worse. Dogs don't like to see their parents fighting and they do not enjoy feeling your negative emotions. Your dog is connected with you on an emotional level and they are going to feel and sense the emotions you are putting out into their environment.  

Training Dogs Who Can Sense Fighting


If you find that your dog can sense when you are fighting or in an argument with someone, you will have to exercise some caution around them. You will want to make sure that fighting in the household is not so frequent and terrible that your dog develops fear, anxiety, and depression as a result of all the negative and intense energy in the house all the time. 

This can have a profound effect on your dog and must be avoided at all costs. Of course, fighting and arguments will happen from time to time as it is normal human behavior and emotion. However, there are some steps you can take to make sure your dog's reaction to the fighting is minimal and controlled. 

You will want to make sure your dog is not around during these episodes, if possible. This may mean going into a room and closing the door behind you or even going outside so you are away from your dog. This is especially important if the person you are in an argument with is in the house with you. If your dog is removed from the highly emotional state, there is a better chance they will be less affected while it is happening. 

If this does not work for your situation, you can try to keep your voice as low and calm as possible. We know this is hard in an intense argument, but try your best for your dog's sake. You don't want to make them upset and anxious if you don't have to. 

If all else fails, make sure your fighting does not occur too often. The less often it happens, the easier it will be for your dog to move on after the argument is over. After a few hours or a few days, your dog will be back to their normal and happy self once your emotional state has cleared as well. 

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Safety Tips for When Your Dog Senses Fighting:

  1. Don't drag them into your fight.
  2. Never get angry at your dog if they are upset by your fighting.

Written by a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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