That look on your dog’s face says it all. It’s like he knows you’re laughing at him, making him feel completely embarrassed. While you may think your hound is showing signs of humiliation, that’s not an emotion dogs are capable of having. Rather, he’s just reacting to the way you responded to his goofy accident or possibly showing signs of jealously, anger or misery.
Maybe Sampson knocked over his water bowl, leaving a puddle behind. Or he broke a vase while trying to jump over it. Clearly his behavior upset you, as you march over there angrily. While he may appear to be embarrassed from his clumsiness, crouching towards the floor and looking away from you, he’s actually feeling nervous or anxious. He knows you’re mad and is anticipating some sort of discipline.
If you have a sibling, you know what it’s like to be jealous. Either you try to overpower your rivalry by showing off your bold personality, or you become a recluse and feel sorry for yourself since you’re not in the spotlight any longer. So when you see Sampson hiding out in the corner after jumping up and down, trying to get your attention when you brought that new puppy home, go over and show him some love. He’s not embarrassed about being hyper and he won’t admit it, but he’s feeling a little jealous or left out.
After getting trampled by a group of bigger dogs at the dog park, your pooch cowers away. He might seem to be embarrassed that he couldn’t take those bigger bullies, even though he knows he could if he had to. But instead, he could actually be getting angry. If he holds his tail straight out behind him, shows his teeth or sticks his fur up along his spine, these are cues that your pooch may be in attack mode. Get him out of the situation quickly, although you’ll need to be cautious about reaching down for him so he doesn’t accidentally bite you.
Sometimes signs that appear to be embarrassment, such as hiding behind the sofa or staying glued to his canine pal’s side, are signs of distress. Your beloved family member could be feeling sick or have some underlying chronic condition that puts a damper on his regularly upbeat character. Watch for signs of illness like vomiting, diarrhea or pain when you touch him. These signals let you know that his shy behavior could be stemming from a medical cause.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.