Dog Shaming Explained


A dog is man’s best friend, or at least that’s what we’ve been hearing for years. If that’s really the case, then why do so many dogs do the naughty things that make owners resort to dog shaming? Dog shaming really is a thing, and all you have to do to prove this is check out the internet. You’ll see all sorts of cute little images and clips where an owner is displaying some sort of dog shaming on social media or somewhere online.

What is Dog Shaming?

Some readers may be wondering, “What is dog shaming?” or “Does dog shaming really work?” Dog shaming is making or attempting to make your dog feel ashamed for something the dog did wrong. This may be sending them to their crate, yelling at them, spanking them or even attaching something to their body. The internet is filled with pictures of dogs being shamed by their owners in one way or another. In many of these cases, they’re just ways for dog owners to commiserate with other dog owners by showing that they also have a “naughty” dog.

Do Dogs Feel Shame?

As for the second question, as a dog owner of many years, I can emphatically tell you that dog shaming does not work because dogs do not feel shame. They feel a lot of emotions, but shame is not one of them. Nothing makes a dog happier than knowing that they’ve made their owner happy. Dogs know that when they’re the owner is happy, they’re more likely to receive extra treats, be pet or just get more loving attention from the owner.

A Personal Experience in Dog Shaming

Growing up on a farm, we always had a variety of animals running around, including chickens. Like many other dogs, our dog loved chasing and catching chickens. Once our dog caught the chicken, she would literally shake it to its death. A neighbor told my father that if he tied the chicken around the dog’s neck and made him wear this “necklace” around his neck all day long, it would shame the dog enough that he would never shake another chicken.

My dad tried this, but it did not have the desired reaction. What it did was give the dog something to keep him busy all day: pawing and chewing at it all day until he got rid of it. Once he managed to get the chicken off his neck, he was able to chew on it, which was actually what he wanted all along. There was no shame involved on the dog’s part. What he did experience was fun and those few minutes of fear when my dad yelled at the dog for killing the chicken.

I’ve been raising German shepherd dogs for more than 30 years, and this breed is known for its intelligence. Despite their intelligence, they did show bad habits occasionally. One of my shepherds loved chicken, particularly when it was leftovers in the garbage. She never bothered the garbage unless there was chicken inside. If I left her alone for any length of time, I could guarantee that the garbage would be scattered all over my floor when I returned but only if it had chicken bones inside.

She would be happy I was home until she saw me walk to the scattered trash and say, “Oh my gosh! What did you do? You’re a naughty girl!”. Did she feel ashamed? I don’t believe so, but she did feel afraid – the fear that I wasn’t happy with her. I truly believe that the only thing dog shaming accomplishes is making the dog fearful and sad, but the reasons for their fear and sadness are more because they sense that you’re unhappy with them.

Keep Your Dogs Busy

When they’re left alone, they often get into mischief, but it’s not to annoy you. It’s because they’re bored and, at the end of the day, they’re still just dogs. They chew on your clothes because they can smell their owner’s scent, and this makes them feel less lonesome. Dogs, particularly puppies, love to chew. It might be because they’re teething, bored or because they love the flavor of what they’re chewing.

Shaming Does Not Eliminate Chewing

Dog shaming will not eliminate chewing. The best way to eliminate chewing is to not leave the things around that the dog might chew. Dogs are similar to young children. If you don’t want them touching something, keep it out of their reach. Dogs are very intelligent and perceptive animals. They only have to look at your face and hear your voice to know if you’re happy or upset. When they see you upset, it often frightens them because they don’t know if they are the ones you’re unhappy with and are uncertain how to respond.

How To Have a Healthy Bond With Your Dog

The bond between a dog and its owner is almost the strongest bond there is, and dog shaming your dog for doing something many other dogs are doing will only hurt that bond. Take temptation away from your dog, and your dog will be much happier and less likely to behave inappropriately You’ll be happy, and you’ll have a happy dog!