Do Dogs Hold Grudges? can be Resentful

Do Dogs Hold Grudges? You Won’t Believe This!

Dogs are emotional animals, meaning they feel happiness, sadness, love, and other emotions. A dog’s mind is not as developed as a human’s; therefore, they will not feel or interpret emotions the same way we do. But, dog owners tend to worry thinking do dogs hold grudges.

Nevertheless, it is evident that dogs have feelings by observing their connection with the human family. We all know that dogs adore their humans; indeed, dogs can create an exceptional bond with their owners.

If that is the case, will your dog still love you the same even in a situation where something negative happens?

In other words, if something wrong happens to a dog from its owner, perhaps intentionally or unintentionally, will that lead the dog to hold a grudge against you? If you are curious to find answers to this question, keep reading this article. 

So, do dogs hold grudges? This is an ambiguous question and can be addressed in a couple of ways. Therefore first, we should understand that there is no one precise answer; sometimes, they might hold grudges, and sometimes they might not.

Dogs have different personalities; accordingly, the way they express themselves could change. Holding a grudge generally means having a strong feeling of anger, dislike, or distrust towards someone who made you experience an unpleasant incident.

Scientifically speaking, dogs have cognitive limitations compared to humans, especially since they do not have strong short-term memories. So there is a tendency that they will forget minor events within a short amount of time. However, do not forget that there are exceptions.

Even though dogs have less developed short-term memories, their long-term memories are strong. Suppose the dog had to go through a highly troubling incident because of a person. In that case, it will remember it for a long time and could potentially hold a grudge against that person.

If you own a dog, you might have questioned many things. No dog owner would like to hurt their beloved pet, but sometimes things could happen out of our control.

In such times you might wonder if your dog will hold a grudge. As mentioned, there are possibilities where it could or could not happen.

For your ease, this article is divided into sub-sections; feel free to go through them and clarify your doubts.

Do dogs hold grudges as humans do?

To better understand this question, first, let’s sort out what we mean by holding a grudge. Holding a grudge is when you harbor anger, bitterness, resentment, or other negative feelings long after someone has done something to hurt you.

The question is whether dogs experience this emotional state as same as humans. 

Although dogs have emotions, they do not have a developed minds like humans. Therefore, how dogs feel things and respond to those feelings can be distinguished from humans.

However, you might have noticed instances where you or someone in your home do something that makes your dog a bit sad or frustrated; they might behave differently afterward. Is that because the dog holding a grudge? 

Suppose your dog faced a frustrating situation because of you or someone else; at that instance, the dog might feel mad.

Depending on the personality of the dog and the bond with that specific person, the way the dog responds will vary.

Scientifically speaking, dogs have weak short-term memory; therefore, it is questionable whether they keep holding grudges for a long time. No dog owner would intentionally make their pet upset.

If something happens for an unexpected reason, it is still highly unlikely they will hold a grudge toward the owner.

What if this happens with someone else other than the owner? To answer this question, a study has been conducted by Kyoto University.

In the study, dogs were put to observe a situation where their owners had to ask for help from strangers to open a box, and then the strangers were asked to give them food. In this scenario, dogs did not accept food from strangers who did not help their owners.

However, the results show that we cannot ultimately say that it happens because the dog holds a grudge against the stranger.

There can also be times when dogs get hurt severely by a human, and perhaps it could make them have a grudge as it impacts them for a more extended period. So depending on the context, a dog may or may not hold a grudge.

How long will a dog hold a grudge?

As mentioned, dogs might not hold grudges the same way we human beings do. Therefore one cannot surely say whether a dog will hold a grudge; if they do, how long it will be in its mind.

Now you know that dogs do not have strong short-term memory, and it suggests that dogs are less likely to remember things that happen in a short period.

However, if they face a traumatizing incident, it could impact them in the long run, possibly making them hold a grudge for a very long time.

If it is something minor, then the dog will most probably not hold a grudge for an extended period; they will eventually get over it as time passes by.

Do dogs Remember when you hurt them?

Dogs have the ability to remember people that strongly relate to them. Not just the ones who are connected in a good way but also ones connected in negative ways.

Dog parents do not hurt their pets purposely, but things could happen out of our control. If the dog has to deal with something significantly bothering you because of you, it will have a negative mindset toward you.

However, if you have a solid bond with the dog and approach the dog the correct way after the incident, then the dog will forgive you.

Still, if the dog encounters a similar incident with anyone else apart from the family, they will likely be mad at them for a long time. 

Can dogs be resentful?

Dogs typically do not resent owners, but there could be times when it might happen; not so usual, yet possible. Resentment and holding a grudge have a fine line between the two.

Both have fairly similar explanations. So if a dog resents its owner, that means they strongly dislike the owner as they wronged the dog. 

Some things that happen from the owners unintentionally could make dogs mad or frustrated.

Let’s assume you accidentally stepped on your dog; it could hurt them, or if your dog did something mischievous, perhaps you spontaneously yelled at the dog.

In such situations, your dog likely feels disheartened, so you might question whether your dog will resent you because of that. If we dig deeper, there are minimal chances that a pet dog would resent their owners.

They will act differently; for instance, the dog will isolate themselves or act out even more stubbornly, but that is not necessarily a gesture of resentment.

Instead, dog experts have shown that it is a stimulus-based cause-and-reaction. Simply put, it is a one-time reaction to the situation that happened. So generally, a dog that grows up in a healthy and loving household will not show signs of resentment.

However, as pointed out, there could be times when it could happen. If you notice your dog is constantly acting destructively, barks excessively, and growls hard, they could be indicators of resentment; if that is the case, you have to vigilantly look into the history and figure out if the dog had to deal with a highly disturbing situation.  

Can dogs get mad at you?

Yet again, another question that can be addressed subjectively. When you are eating something yummy at home, your pet dog could come to you asking for a bite.

Still, if you refuse to give them or raise your voice at them for being annoying, they could feel down and respond differently. Is that because the dog is mad? Maybe yes.

When a dog does not get what they want or if they get punished by their owners, they can get a little sad, but it is not a strong grudge that they hold against their humans.

Dogs also get their feelings hurt, but it doesn’t happen the same way as humans. Suppose your pooch keeps ignoring you, giving you side eyes, peeing on yourself, or chewing your stuff; that is probably because they are mad at you.

However, the dog will not continue to do this for a long time. They will soon get over it; it is mainly a temporary reaction following an incident. 

Final thoughts

Dogs have feelings, but how they feel and respond to those feelings significantly differs from human beings. When a dog faces something that does not please them, it will act differently.

However, there are very few chances that they will hold a grudge against someone, especially their owners. Dogs do not have powerful short-term memories.

Unless there are specific situations, dogs tend to live for that moment instead of holding grudges as humans do.

As mentioned in the article, dogs may or may not hold grudges, but in most cases, it doesn’t happen the same way as in humans.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed.


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

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