Dogs Don’t Trust You When You’re Angry

February 14, 2019
Dogs have been hanging out with humans for at least 16,000 years. But, do you know that dogs don't trust you when you're angry?

Have you ever noticed that your dog doesn’t want to obey you if you’re angry? Well, despite your dog’s loyalty, this reaction is absolutely normal. According to an investigation, dogs don’t trust people who show anger.

How was the study performed?

The research was carried out by psychologists at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah, USA) and published in the journal Animal Cognition. Experts conclude that when an owner is angry, dogs don’t trust him, and they hesitate about obeying or not.

A dog with a police officer.

To obtain these results, psychologists conducted experiments to analyze dogs’ responses with either positive or negative behaviors from people.

To do this, they used dog owners. When the person pointed to an area, the dog would know to explore it to find whatever the person was pointing at. This action shows that the dog trusts the person enough to explore an unknown area for the first time.

First, experts watched how dogs reacted to a pointing gesture while the person pointing acted happy. After that, they observed the dogs’ reactions to a person using an angry tone while pointing.

Dogs don’t trust us when we’re angry

When comparing the results, psychologists discovered that dogs delayed their reactions when the person pointing was visibly angry. This suggests that dogs don’t trust their owners as much when they’re showing anger. The results also showed that positive vocal cues didn’t increase the dog’s reaction times, but negative emotions significantly delayed them.

They concluded that the way in which people address their dogs – either with affection or aggression – influences our dog’s behavior.

There seems to be a scientific endorsement for what we are claiming here on My Animals. Remember, with patience and love, everything is possible, even for pets or people.

For this reason, if you want dogs to trust you and be obedient, treat them with love. Keep in mind that they’re animals who are capable of perceiving your moods very well.

According to a recent investigation, dogs don’t trust us if we give orders with anger.

Dogs use previous experiences to determine if a person is reliable

The research from Brigham Young University also found that dogs can tell the difference between happy or angry faces.

In addition to this, an experiment at the University of Kyoto, in Japan, proved that dogs don’t trust people immediately. Instead, they use their experience to determine if people are reliable or not.

To do this, they used 34 dogs for three rounds of pointing:

  • First round: the experimenters accurately pointed to where food was hidden in a container.
  • Second round: they pointed to an empty container.
  • Third round: the same experimenter again pointed to the container with food.

The conclusion of Japanese research

In the last round, the dog didn’t respond to the experimenter’s cue. That suggests that the dogs could use their experience of the experimenter to assess whether they were a reliable guide.

Thus, scientists demonstrated that dogs used previous experience to determine that a person is no longer trustworthy.

After these rounds, a new experimenter replicated the first round. Once again, the dogs followed this new person with interest.

If dogs don’t trust their owners, they may have behavioral problems

A Golden Retriever looking at its owner.

About the study, John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, says that dogs like things to be predictable. As soon as something becomes irregular, they’ll look for alternative things to do. And if they consistently don’t know what’s going to happen next, they can easily get stressed, aggressive, and fearful.

For this reason, dogs whose owners are inconsistent with them often have behavioral problems. The conclusion here is that dogs don’t trust you if you aren’t consistent and trustworthy.

So, treat your dog with love and respect and you’ll have a faithful, happy animal by your side, with full confidence in you.