Can dogs be embarrassed of their haircuts?
Do Dogs Get Embarrassed?
I recently got a bad haircut. I was embarrassed. In fact, it happened the day before I had to emcee a (very) well-attended charity event. I wasn’t happy but I soldiered on, blushing the entire night.
The reason I mention this is because of a complaint I heard from a client recently. She had taken her dog to her groomer (not one of ours, thankfully) and reported that her dog’s hair was cut so short her pooch acted embarrassed. She shared how her dog ran inside from the car and immediately hid under the bed after her “bad haircut.” She wouldn’t come out for several hours, even when her husband came home and offered her a treat. Do dogs get embarrassed if they have a “bad hair” day? I’d never really given it much thought.
Turns out some canine behavior researchers have. Dr. Marc Bekoff, a former professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado and author of “The Emotional Lives of Animals,” has observed dogs for thousands of hours in his career. He concludes that dogs do have feelings of “embarrassment, shyness and humiliation.” Another researcher, neurobiologist Dr. Frederick Range at the University of Vienna, agrees. His studies demonstrate that dogs have other secondary emotions such as “jealousy, guilt and empathy.” I’m guessing Markoff and Range would definitely agree with my client that her close-cropped canine was most certainly “embarrassed.”
Not every animal behavior expert agrees. In fact, most say researchers such as Markoff and Range are missing a few synapses when they talk about dogs having complex emotions such as embarrassment (you don’t want to know what they say about me). The traditional notion is dogs only experience “instant-reaction” emotions such as fear, joy, sadness and anger. Established thought would state embarrassment is far beyond the emotional reach of dogs. I’d love for them to meet my menagerie and still believe that. Not only do I believe my dogs feel secondary emotions, they’re also capable of being downright silly. Study that, superstar know-it-all experts.
In my own experience posing as “Santa Paws” for nineteen years and witnessing an almost endless parade of dressed-up and dolled-up dogs and cats, I can tell you some pets are clearly unhappy with what mom and dad are doing to them. These pets I’ve seen since baby teeth days suddenly act very strangely when a pair of faux antlers is perched atop their heads. They dive for cover, bolt out of the room or cover their face. Some even turn nasty. Let me tell you, most dogs and cats aren’t as fond as you are of those little elf costumes and Santa hats.
At the other end of the spectrum are the ham-it-up-hounds. These dogs L-O-V-E to dress up and prance around. They’re the Lady GaGa’s of the canine culture without the other odd behaviors (Can you say “meat dress?” Lady Gaga can.). That’s another study for our big-shot experts to ponder.
I believe most of us intuitively understand that dogs and cats have feelings. To me, those feelings include some form of embarrassment. So talk to your groomer (or barber) and give them details on exactly what your dog (or yourself) wants from the next haircut. If your dog (or you) gets embarrassed, you have no one to blame but yourself. Just don’t get a haircut the day before a big event. And please toss out those tiny antlers…
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
5 Ways Shaving Your Dog Causes a Lifetime of Problems
When we cut our hair or shave our own head or body, we feel lighter, cooler and generally happier.
But when we cut our pet’s fur (and I’m referring to shaving them down with a #10 clipper blade), we are putting them at a huge risk.
Dogs aren’t like us — they don’t have sweaty scalps or bodies, they don’t sweat through their coats. They sweat through their paws. This is why what we do to their coat will do little more than damage it. It’s also why we must use the correct shampoos and conditioners and misty sprays on them (learn more about the dangers of sulfates here).
Let’s assume that you shave your dog (against all logic), and all goes relatively well. No infection, no scrapes, no problems.
You still may be in for a shock.
1. Fur may never grow back correctly
There is a very good chance your dog’s fur will never grow back, and if it does, it may never be the same.
As your dog’s fur grows, you’ll notice that the undercoat is coming in first. Since this is the insulator and skin protector, it’s nice to see it come in.
But, next you’ll notice the guard hairs coming in and you’ll also notice that your pet’s fur doesn’t feel as soft as it once did. Instead, it’s stickier and almost like velcro.
Weeds, leaves, burrs, dust — all of it starts to stick to your dog and it feels like you’re forever picking things out of his fur.
2. It causes pets to overheat
Most people think that shaving their pet will reduce the chance of their pets overheating, but that’s not the truth. It actually interferes with your dog’s cooling process by not allowing air to circulate through to the skin.
When the thick guard hairs are cut, the sun is able to easily penetrate the undercoat. The sun’s rays are no longer bent around the dog, they are directly hitting your dog.
This stops the natural cooling process and contributes to overheating.
3. Clipper alopecia
All dogs coexist with Demodex mange mites, bacteria, and fungus (especially the yeast kind) on their skin. It may be gross to think about, but we have the same stuff going on with us if we live with dogs.
Lucky for us, we bathe a little more often, because every time we shave, tiny microscopic incisions from the blade open the skin (sometimes causing a little red gusher) and allows those microscopic critters inside our body.
It’s much more serious for dogs.
The worst thing that can happen to a dog’s beautiful coat is to disturb the hair follicles and invite these yeasty beasts to come inside and begin to multiply.
The end result is fur falling out, black specks appearing on the skin, skin turning black, and your dog being utterly miserable until he obtains relief with DERMagic.
Even for dogs lucky enough to have a bullet-proof immune system to fend off the microbes. It’s sunburn and heatstroke from losing their protective natural insulation from heat and sun.
4. Shaving may increase chance of skin cancer
You bring home your freshly shaved dog from the groomer and right away, you have exposed your pets to sunburn and heatstroke as a result of losing their natural insulation from the heat and sun. You have created the perfect opportunity to exacerbate the dog’s possibility of cancer and put them at high risk for a host of other problems.
The long guard hairs of your dog’s coat helps prevent the suns’ rays from penetrating to the skin, and since most double-coated dogs have sensitive, pinkish skin, it is especially easily damaged (hence the reason they have a double-coat in the first place). This is especially true for northern breeds.
If you have pale, pink skin and leave it exposed to the sun all day, you can imagine how miserable you would be. The same is true for dogs. The guard hairs and undercoat of a double-coated dog protect their skin from sun damage.
5. It can make your dog feel uncomfortable
While some people don’t believe that pets have feelings, we happen to believe they do. We’ve seen some mighty uncomfortable dogs who were shaved too closely. The result was behavior issues, increased «negative» behavior, and what we think is a depressed dog.
There are times when shaving your dog is inevitable — they require surgery or other treatment, have gotten into something sticky or some other reason. At that time, you must follow your vet’s suggestion. But, if you don’t absolutely HAVE to shave your dog, please don’t take it up on yourself or ask your groomer to do so.
Please don’t shave your dogs during summer. You may be creating a lifetime of problems with systemic yeast infections, the potential of skin cancer, and even more
Let your dog be a dog. After all, isn’t that why we love them so much?
It turns out that all dogs share a common set of behaviors, some are funny some are gross but they all tell us something about how our furry friends are feeling.
How often have you looked at your dog and thought, ‘why on earth are you doing that?’ Well, you’re not alone. At Peppy Pooch we’re constantly wondering what’s going on in our dogs heads. It turns out that all dogs share a common set of behaviors, some are funny some are gross but they all tell us something about how our furry friends are feeling.
Check Out These 10 Common Dog Behaviors And What They Really Mean:
1. Greeting Stretch
When you come home from work or school and your dog greets you with a stretch, that means that he is saying hello to you. Yes, that’s right! Contrary to what most people believe, your dog didn’t just wake up from a short nap or decide to do some puppy yoga. Next time your puppy greets you with a stretch, it would be great to give him a little pat or a greeting too.
2. Licking You
While you might not always want your dog to cover you in slobbery kisses, his licks are actually his way of showing affection. Plus, your dog has probably figured out that licking you tends to get your attention. Of course, there are other reasons dogs lick you. Some researchers say licking is a sensory tool for dogs — similar to reaching out and touching something. Another explanation could be that canine mothers lick their puppies (and puppies lick their mothers and litter mates) for grooming and social reasons. So this natural behavior continues into adulthood.
3. Cocking Her Head
Whistling, speaking in a high-pitched voice or even making funny noises can cause one of dogdom’s cutest and most amusing behaviors: head tilting. Exactly why dogs cock their heads to the side remains uncertain, but behaviorists speculate that canines are trying to make sense of what they hear. They also might be trying to pick out a key word like “walk” or “fetch” to find out if what you’re saying will lead to something fun or rewarding. Another reason your pup might tilt her head is to more accurately determine the location of a sound. If she’s consistently holding her head to one side without an obvious trigger, she might have a medical issue and should see a veterinarian.
4. Staring at You
Are your canine’s eyes always trained on you? Chances are, he’s hoping you’ll give him a treat or shower him with praise and affection. After all, it’s hard to resist those pleading, puppy-dog eyes. At Peppy Pooch we get this a lot! It’s important to keep in mind that some dogs consider direct eye contact threatening. So before you gaze back at him, make sure he isn’t showing any signs of aggression or fear.
5. Thrashing Her Toys
Fifi sure looks like she’s having fun when she vigorously shakes her stuffed squeaky duck. But the truth is, she’s manifesting one her most primal instincts: killing. OK, we’re being a little dramatic. Out in the wild, thrashing is how Fifi would kill her prey. At home, she’s just exhibiting innocent play behavior.
6. Chasing Her Tail
If you had a tail, wouldn’t you chase it? This amusing behavior is simply a fun way for your pup to expend her excess energy. But if she does this constantly, then she might have anal gland problems or flea allergy dermatitis. In some cases, tail chasing can be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t distract your dog from chasing her tail, or if you suspect she has a medical condition, you should speak to your veterinarian.
7. Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
Sometimes we just want to tell our dogs that no matter how many times they walk in a circle before lying down in their bed, it won’t change their resting spot’s level of comfort. You can blame your dog’s ancestors for this curious ritual. Behaviorists believe that when wolf-like dogs lived in the wild, they would walk around a spot to pat down the leaves, grass or other debris to create a nice nesting spot.
8. Sniffing Butts
A dog’s way of saying, “Hello, nice to meet you,” to another dog is to sniff the other dog’s butt. In the human world, this behavior could land you in jail. In the dog world, this is a socially acceptable form of greeting. But still, why sniff butts? A dog’s ability to smell is 10,000 times better than ours, and, well, there are a lot of revealing aromas that come from a canine’s rear end.
9. Humping You, Objects or Other Dogs
Does this scenario sound familiar? Everyone’s having a great time at the dog park until Buddy starts mounting another dog. Buddy’s owners are so embarrassed and apologetic. “But he’s fixed,” they insist. Humping — whether it’s on other dogs, on your leg or on an object — is usually not for sexual reasons. And it’s probably not an attempt to dominate. More likely, neutered and spayed dogs hump because they are excited or seeking attention — we frequently experience this with our dogs in the car on the way to the park. To prevent this embarrassing behavior, ignore it, try to redirect it with a treat or toy or just shout ‘No Humpies!’ until everyone around starts laughing at you.
10. Eating Poop
This habit is just plain gross. Many things can cause coprophagy (the medical term for consuming feces). Your pup might be hungry. He could like the smell and taste. It’s possible he’s missing key nutrients from his diet. He might just think it’s fun. It’s not a behavior we want to dwell on, so for everyone’s sake, we’ll just say that if your dog is fond of eating you-know-what, ask your veterinarian for help.