how to let your dog know you're mad at them

How To Let Your Dog Know You’re Mad At Them? [10 Prominent Ways]

Building a strong bond with your furry companion involves effective communication, even when expressing negative emotions. However, conveying your disappointment constructively and compassionately is crucial for maintaining a harmonious relationship. 

To let your dog know you’re mad at them, use a stern voice, avoid eye contact, withhold attention, and redirect their behavior. Avoid physical punishment as it can harm the bond and trust between the owner and the pet. Follow more practical ways like cuddling the pet on their tummy and training them well.

This article will explore practical strategies to let your dog know you’re mad with them without resorting to harsh methods. By understanding canine behavior and employing positive reinforcement techniques, you can address misbehavior while preserving the trust and affection between you and your four-legged friend.

10 Ways To Let Your Dog Know You’re Mad At Them:

Several gestures, body language, and actions can express anger towards your dog. But there are several specified actions that your dog can perceive easily. Here are 10 such ways to tell your dog that you are mad at them. 

Way 1: Maintain A Stern Facial Expression

Dogs are very perceptive to human facial expressions. Maintaining a severe or slightly stern facial expression can tell your dog you are upset with their behavior.

Way 2: Use A Firm Tone Of Voice

When reprimanding your dog, use a firm and authoritative tone of voice. This helps convey your displeasure and lets your dog know they have done something wrong.

Way 3: Avoid Eye Contact

Eye contact is a form of communication for dogs, and in some cases, direct eye contact can be seen as a challenge or threat. When you’re upset with your dog, avoid prolonged eye contact to assert your disapproval.

Way 4: Ignore Them

Dogs seek attention, both positive and negative. If your dog has misbehaved and you’re angry, consider briefly ignoring them. This clearly conveys that their behavior is unacceptable and that you are displeased.

Way 5: Turn Away

Physically turning your body away from your dog can signal your disapproval. By facing away from them, you show that you’re not interested in interacting until they correct their behavior.

Way 6: Withdraw Affection

Dogs thrive on affection, and by temporarily withholding physical affection like petting or cuddling, you can let them know that their actions have caused a disruption in your bond.

Way 7: Use A Time-Out

Like how time-outs work with children, implementing a time-out for your dog can be effective. Create a designated area, like a separate room or a specific spot, where your dog can briefly calm down and reflect on their behavior.

Way 8: Remove Toys Or Privileges

If your dog has acted out, you can temporarily remove their favorite toys or privileges, such as access to some regions of the house or activities, to communicate that their actions have consequences.

Way 9: Redirect Their Behavior

Instead of focusing solely on reprimanding your dog, redirect their behavior towards something more appropriate. For example, give them a chew toy to redirect their attention if they are chewing on your furniture.

Way 10: Reinforce Positive Behavior

Once your dog has corrected their behavior or shown improvement, reward and reinforce their positive actions. Positive reinforcement is essential for teaching dogs what is acceptable and desired behavior.

7 Signs Your Dog Sensed that You Are Mad At Them:

How would you know you communicated well with your dog while angry? When dogs sense their owners are mad or upset, they may exhibit various behavioral responses. Here are some common ways dogs may behave when they sense that you are mad:

  1. Avoidance: 

Dogs may try to avoid direct eye contact or physical proximity when they sense their owners’ anger. They may retreat to a different area or find a quiet corner.

  1. Submissive Posture: 

Dogs may display submissive body language as a way to appease their owners. This can include lowering their body, tucking their tail between their legs, crouching, or rolling over on their back.

  1. Seeking Reassurance: 

Some dogs may approach their owners with a lowered head and ears to seek reassurance or to apologize for their behavior. They may nudge or lick their owners to show submission and seek forgiveness.

  1. Hiding Or Seeking Solitude:

In some cases, dogs may hide in a secluded area, such as under furniture or in their crate, to escape the tense environment. They may prefer solitude until the situation calms down.

  1. Changes In Energy Level:

Dogs may decrease their energy levels and become less playful or enthusiastic when they sense their owners’ anger. They may appear subdued or lack interest in activities they usually enjoy.

  1. Increased Anxiety: 

Dogs may exhibit signs of anxiety, such as painting, pacing, whining, or trembling when they perceive their owners’ anger. They may become restless and have difficulty settling down.

  1. Guilty Behavior: 

Some dogs may display behaviors that appear guilty, such as avoiding eye contact, slinking, or hiding, even if they haven’t done anything wrong. This response is often a reaction to their owner’s emotional state rather than understanding their misbehavior.

What Not To Do To Show You Are Mad At Your Dog? 

When you’re mad at your dog, it’s important to remember that certain actions should be avoided to maintain a healthy and positive relationship. Here are some things you should not do when trying to show your dog that you’re mad:

  • Physical Punishment: Avoid physically punishing your dog, such as hitting, kicking, or any form of physical abuse. Physical punishment is ineffective and can also cause fear, anxiety, and aggression in your dog, damaging your trust and bond.
  • Yelling Or Screaming: Shouting or raising your voice excessively can startle and scare your dog. It may cause them to associate your anger with loud noises and can lead to anxiety or fear-related issues over time.
  • Using Intimidating Body Language: Avoid looming over your dog, staring intensely, or making aggressive gestures. Intimidating body language can make your dog feel threatened and may worsen their behavior or create fear-based responses.
  • Ignoring Or Withholding Basic Needs: Punishing your dog by withholding food, water, or necessary care is cruel and can lead to physical and emotional harm. It is essential to meet your dog’s basic needs regardless of your emotions.
  • Isolation Or Exclusion: Avoid isolating or excluding your dog as punishment. Dogs are social animals and thrive on companionship. Excluding them can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and confusion.
  • Inconsistent Or Unpredictable Discipline: Inconsistency in disciplining your dog can confuse them and make it difficult for them to understand what is expected of them. It’s essential to establish clear rules and boundaries and consistently enforce them fairly and positively.
  • Holding Grudges: Dogs live in the present moment and may not understand or remember the cause of their anger for an extended period. Holding a grudge or displaying prolonged anger can create anxiety and hinder your dog’s ability to trust and feel secure around you.

Related Question 

Is It Necessary to Let My Dog Know When I’m Mad At Them?

While it’s essential to communicate with your dog, it’s generally more effective to focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training rather than expressing anger. Dogs respond better to positive reinforcement and can become confused if confronted with anger.

How Can I Show My Dog I’m Upset Without Resorting To Anger?

Instead of expressing anger, you can use body language and voice tone to convey disappointment or disapproval. Maintain a calm demeanor, avoid direct eye contact, and use a stern but not aggressive tone. This will help your dog understand that you’re not pleased with their behavior.

Will My Dog Understand Why I’m Mad At Them?

Dogs are highly perceptive and can pick up on human emotions, including when we’re upset. However, they may not always understand the specific reason behind our anger. So it’s more effective to focus on reinforcing desired behaviors rather than expecting them to comprehend complex emotions.

Should I Use Physical Punishment to Let My Dog Know I’m Mad?

Physical punishment is not recommended when trying to communicate with your dog. It can cause fear, anxiety, and aggression and may damage your bond with your pet. Positive reinforcement and redirection are more effective methods for training and behavior modification.

Can I Use Time-outs Or Ignore My Dog To Express My Displeasure?

Time-outs or ignoring your dog for short periods can be effective for specific behavioral issues, but they should be used sparingly and in conjunction with positive reinforcement. You must redirect your dog’s attention to appropriate behavior after the time-out, rather than leaving them confused or feeling rejected.

Is It Okay To Shout At My Dog When I’m Angry?

Shouting or yelling at your dog when angry can be counterproductive and create an environment of fear and anxiety. Dogs respond better to calm, clear communication. It’s more effective to use a firm tone and clear commands to redirect their behavior and reinforce positive actions.


In conclusion, communicating our emotions to our dogs is crucial for a healthy and harmonious relationship. While showing our displeasure when our furry companions misbehave is important, it is equally essential to do so clearly and constructively. 

We can effectively let our dogs know when we are mad with them by utilizing consistent body language, firm yet calm vocal cues, and positive reinforcement training. Open communication and understanding are crucial to maintaining a strong bond with our canine friends.

Related Posts