Do Dogs Feel Bad When They Hurt You?

dog feeling sad

Do you ever wonder if your dog feels bad when they hurt you? I know that my dog does, and it’s one of the things I love most about her. She always puts her head down in shame for any wrongdoing. She knows what she did was wrong and will never do it again because she loves me unconditionally.

Do Dogs Feel Bad When They Hurt You?

Dogs can feel bad and show emotions when they hurt you by accident. They combine their senses to gather information to recognize the human emotional state. They combine facial expressions and body language to let us know how they feel.

They respond to a person’s tone of voice and gestures. Dogs can show embarrassment, shame, or regret in their body movements or facial expressions.

Showing remorse for any wrongdoing is an important characteristic that humans should reward with love and reassurance. It teaches them not to repeat the bad behavior because it will make people mad.

A study from the University of Lincoln shows that dogs can recognize human emotions. source:

When a dog hurts you, he or she may be trying to show that they care. As humans, we should respond in the same way when our pet does something wrong, as we do when it behaves well.

The following are some ways people can demonstrate love and reassurance:

  • saying “I know” or say “I am sorry too” with a high pitching voice
  • by giving your dog a hug
  • expressing affection such as rubbing, touching, or cuddling with your dog

We must show them that we love them unconventionally too. Not every dog will respond to the same type of affection, so we must try many different ways to see what makes them feel cared for and loved.

Do Dogs Know When They Hurt You?

Dogs do not know when they hurt you because they do not understand the concept of pain in the same way humans do. They can feel fear, shame, or relief but cannot truly know when something is harmful.

Many people ask me this question: “If dogs don’t know we’re feeling pain, then why are they trying to show concern?” The answer is complicated, as there’s still lots of debate on how animals think about emotions like empathy for others.

Here’s our best guess at what might be going on inside your pup ́s head: If he hurts you unintentionally (say through jumping up), it could trigger his memories of accidentally hurting someone else in play; therefore, he may try to stop what he’s doing to make sure he’s not hurting you and protect you from any pain.

Although it seems like dogs know when they inflict pain, it is, in reality, a trained reaction.

When I got my dog as a pup, she was very playful and really liked to bite my hands. And she would bite hard, not so hard my hand would start bleeding, but still, it could hurt sometimes.

If I pulled my hand away, she would think I was ready to play with her. She had no idea she was biting me so hard.

To teach your dog not to bite so hard is really easy and best learned when he still a pup. If your dog bites or scratches you too hard during playtime, make a high pitching sound or with a high voice cream “Ouch.” After which, you should immediately stop playing with your dog for a little while.

After a couple of times, they can show sad emotions because playtime abruptly ended for them.

My dog learned through this method when she was biting too hard. In no time, she almost completely stopped biting. Nowadays, when we play, she only touches me with her teeth but doesn’t close her mouth.

What does it mean for them? They might lick or nudge you with their nose, but that’s just out of instinct-not because they know how much pain we’re in and want us to stop hurting.

The only way dogs know what humans are feeling is through us telling them we’re upset about an injury or accident happening. Still, even then, they don’t understand.

It can be challenging for dogs to tell the difference between a scratch from playing rough and an injury caused by being hit by something like a car. And suppose your pup gets worried about not knowing what happened. In that case, there are some things you can do to help him understand everything is going ́to be okay, like hugging him and saying sorry.

Don’t be angry or upset with them for causing you pain; they’re just trying to play.

It’s natural for dogs sometimes to bite too hard or scratch too much when they play, and it might hurt if he didn’t realize how strong his teeth compared to humans are.

Do Dogs Get Their Feelings Hurt?

Dogs are very sensitive animals; they can pick up on our emotions and behavior well. They can also get their feelings hurt easily. If you say something to your dog that is mean or if you yell at him for doing something wrong, when he doesn’t know what “wrong” means, it will be hard on his feelings.

Dogs cannot feel emotions the same way humans do, but science confirms that dogs can feel primal emotions like Happyness, Sadness, or Fear. So they can feel sad, and combined with their body expressions, it looks to us as if we hurt its feelings.

I once brought our dog Mayla to my niece when she was still a puppy. My niece was going to take care of her that day because I had to go away for a few hours.

When I came back, at first, she didn’t come to greet me like she always does at home. After a few minutes, she finally came and greeted me, but it was not like she usually would. The rest of the day, she was really quiet. I could tell she was hurt. Luckily the next day, everything was fine again. She had forgiven me.

Dogs don’t always understand people, but they have great intuition and trust humans as their best friends. We help them all the time with tons of things like walks and food. On top of that, if you’re not nice to your dog, then he won’t want to do anything with you, which could lead to fewer walks and fewer treats!

So always be friendly to your pup because they’ll love you back.

Do Dogs Feel Guilt?

Dogs are often said to be man’s best friend, and there’s no argument that they get us out of some pretty tough jams. But do dogs feel guilt?

As the research has shown, dogs are capable of expressing feelings through body language. They can show primary emotions like joy and anger. Yet, they are unable to show complex emotions. Guilt is such a complex emotion.  

Dogs can act guilty when they’ve done something wrong, but some people think that’s just due to the fact they know you’re angry with them or disappointed in their behavior. It could also be a learned response from humans who constantly reprimand dogs for bad behavior and punish these animals.

Often my dog Mayla tries to steal cookies, ice cream, or other things my kids are eating from their hands. When I notice her doing it, I call out her name. Immediately she walked away with her head down.

Many people claim their dogs show similar behavior.

It looks like your dog is showing guilt or regret at that moment, but what it actually is is a learned behavior. Our dogs have learned to associate a stimulus (such as eating a cookie) with

It has happened many times, and Mayla understands what is coming.

Do Dogs Have The Same Emotional Capacity As Humans?

Can dogs feel the same range of emotions as humans? Yes, but not in the same way. Dogs don’t have a high degree of self-awareness or introspection. They can be embarrassed by their actions. They know how to please people, so it’s reasonable to assume that they experience empathy for what other beings are feeling.

If you’re scared or angry, they’ll sense it and can show empathy by comforting you or other dogs who are sad, hurt, tired, scared; they lick your face and nuzzle with their noses. They also become happy when a human is happy – for instance if the person comes home from work and joyfully greets his dog.

What does this all mean? The emotions that dogs feel are simpler than human emotions but just as powerful. A dog’s range of feelings is more limited than a person’s – they can’t be jealous or proud the way humans do – and when you’re feeling low, your pup will always want to lick away your tears.

Your Dog’s Body Language Can Tell When They’re Feeling Bad About Something

Be aware of your dog’s body language so that you can tell when they’re feeling bad about something.

Dogs have facial expressions which you can read. When they’re feeling bad, their ears might be drooping, and they may look away from you or down in the ground (sometimes, when a dog is sad, it will sit with its head on its paws). They’ll also often lick their nose to help keep themselves calm.

It would help if you tried to read their body language. Become aware of your dog’s body language so that you can tell when they’re feeling bad about something

If you’re unsure about what your pup is feeling, talk to a vet so that they can diagnose them. The diagnosis will let you know whether it’s just a case of the blues or something more serious like pain from an injury or illness.

Dogs also have their way of communicating with humans when they are feeling bad about something. 

They might whine, drool, or even act out. These are all signals that you should try to figure out what’s going on with your pup and see anything you can do for them.

When a dog hurts someone else in some way, they will usually look guilty or sad about it because they know that they did something wrong.


Dogs are the most loyal and loving creatures on Earth. If you love your dog, there’s a chance they’re hurting too when they hurt you. 

They can’t feel guilt or shame just as humans do, but dogs have feelings that matter to them just like we do! 

Let your pup know how much you care about their well-being by giving them lots of cuddles and treats for being such a good boy or girl. You’ll be happy with all the wagging tails in return!

Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

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