Can Dogs Feel Remorse?


When dogs misbehave, it seems like they know they’re doing something wrong. But have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking? Can they feel emotions? Do they feel remorse when they do something bad?

Dogs are intuitive animals and form strong attachments to their owners.

They get excited when we come home and can even experience separation anxiety. So, what does this mean for their feelings? Can dogs feel remorse?

Signs of a Dog Feeling Remorse

While dogs do experience emotions, they don’t feel complex emotions like remorse. Dogs can feel basic emotions at the level of a two-and-a-half-year-old human. They can feel love, happiness, and anger.

When your dog is relaxed and comfortable, their body language will show it.

Their ears will be relaxed, and their head will be at ease. They may be less bothered by distractions. When they’re happy, you’ll see them wagging their tail vigorously, barking, or running around energetically.

On the other hand, dogs can’t feel embarrassment. So, if you want to take funny photos of your dog, they won’t feel embarrassed by the poses.

When your dog appears to be showing remorse, they’re actually reacting to your body language and tone of voice.

They learn from past experiences and can predict situations. If they’ve done something their owner doesn’t like, they may react out of fear, not remorse. Signs of fear include cowering, tail tucking, and avoiding eye contact.

Body Language

Here are some signs of fear in dogs:

– Staring
– Head tilting
– Cowering
– Tail tucking

Other Signs

Here are some additional signs of fear in dogs:

– Puppy-dog eyes
– Head lowered
– Avoiding your gaze

History of Dogs Feeling Emotions

Dogs evolved from wolves, which were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. Over 15,000 years ago, a bond formed between wolves and humans when wolves noticed humans throwing food into the wild. Wolves began getting closer to humans for more food and eventually started interacting with them. In return for food, dogs provided protection and assistance in hunting.

Dogs that formed a connection with humans received shelter and more food. They paid attention to human behavior and reactions to better serve their humans. Over time, dogs started to look and behave differently as they were bred for various purposes.

Dogs’ Ability to Feel Emotions

Dogs have similar brain processes and chemicals as humans, such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. They can experience emotions and have memories that help them predict situations. For example, they learn to associate certain behaviors with certain reactions from their owners.

Training a Dog Not to Be Scared

Training a dog has many benefits, as dogs can learn and understand at the level of a two-and-a-half-year-old. Dogs respond differently to fear based on their backgrounds and personalities. Some may become aggressive, while others become highly anxious.

To train a dog not to be fearful, positive reinforcement is important. Use treats, positive body language, and a happy tone of voice. Instead of punishing your dog for bad behavior, focus on rewarding positive behaviors. For example, when potty training, praise and give treats when they go outside, and ignore them when they have accidents inside.


While dogs can feel basic emotions, they don’t experience complex emotions like remorse. They can feel love, happiness, and anger. Understanding their body language and training them positively can help them overcome fear and become more well-behaved. Dogs’ ability to bond with and understand humans has evolved over thousands of years, making them wonderful companions.

“Dogs may not feel remorse, but they can definitely sense fear and respond to positive reinforcement.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Dogs feel basic emotions, such as happiness and anger, but they do not feel complex emotions like remorse or embarrassment. Understanding your dog’s body language can help you determine their emotions.
2️⃣ Dogs have similar brain processes and chemicals as humans, including oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which are associated with emotions. Moments of connection with your dog release oxytocin, creating feelings of happiness and love for both of you.
3️⃣ Training your dog to overcome fear or anxiety requires positive reinforcement, treats, and a happy tone of voice. Rewarding positive behaviors and ignoring negative ones can help your dog learn new behaviors and respond appropriately in different situations.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. Can dogs feel complex emotions like remorse?
No, dogs do not feel complex emotions like remorse. They can experience basic emotions to the level of a two-and-a-half-year-old human.

2. How can you tell if your dog is feeling comfortable and relaxed?
When a dog is feeling comfortable and relaxed, their body language will be more relaxed, their ears will be in a resting position, and their head will be relaxed. They may also be less bothered by distractions.

3. What emotions can dogs feel?
Dogs can feel emotions such as happiness and anger. They can also feel fear, which is often mistaken for remorse.

4. How do dogs show fear?
Dogs show fear through body language such as cowering, tail tucking, avoiding eye contact, and having a lowered head. They may also have big, puppy-dog eyes or sit down and gaze at their owner.

5. How did dogs evolve from wolves?
Dogs evolved from wolves over 15,000 years ago through a bond between wolves and humans. Wolves started getting closer to humans to get more food, and eventually interacted with them. Those wolves who formed a connection with humans received shelter and more food, leading to the evolution of dogs.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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