If you’ve ever given your dog the middle finger, you probably ended up baffled by their reaction as I initially was. Let’s dig a little deeper to uncover why dogs seem to hate the middle finger.
Why Do Dogs Hate the Middle Finger?
So, why do dogs hate the middle finger? If the middle finger is a hand gesture your dog doesn’t recognize, it may act confused. If your body language expresses anger, your dog may act nervous. Additionally, if your dog has observed you behaving aggressively while giving the finger to someone else, it may act aggressively too.
Dog Really Hates Middle Finger. Reaction Compilation:
Dogs and Hand Signals
The average dog knows about 165 words and signals. If you have a highly intelligent dog, it may be able to learn up to 250 words. Interestingly, studies show that dogs respond more quickly to hand signals than verbal signals.
Your dog relies on context, repetition, and reinforcement to learn words and hand signals. But what happens when you introduce a new hand signal like a middle finger? Let’s find out!
Your Dog’s Reaction to an Out-of-Context Middle Finger
Even if you don’t use sign language with your dog, you probably have developed a few hand signals to accompany demands. However, if a middle-finger hand gesture is not in your regular hand-signal repertoire, it may cause your dog a bit of confusion.
I use several ASL hand signs with my dog, but I don’t generally give her the middle finger. So, her reaction to me giving her the middle finger is one of confusion. She lays down, squirms, and whines, which is how she normally reacts when she’s confused, or I’m not responding to her demands.
Why Providing Context for Gestures Is Important
Typically, if you teach a dog a new word or hand signal, you provide contextual clues for the new word or hand signal’s meaning. You can combine a hand signal with a word they already know or teach it through positive reinforcement.
For example, I taught my dog the ASL word for “sit” by holding a treat while signing “sit.” After she sat, I gave her the treat for positive reinforcement.
However, if you’re providing an out-of-context hand signal, your dog won’t know what to do with it and may act confused or nervous.
Your Dog’s Reaction to an Angry Middle Finger
What if you give the dog the middle finger because you’re angry with it? If you give your dog the middle finger when you’re mad, you’re providing more context for the dog to understand the meaning behind the gesture. So, the dog will respond to your anger.
Research shows that, even if you’re using an unfamiliar language, dogs understand negative emotions like anger from facial expressions.
How Do Dogs React to Anger?
Not every dog reacts to our anger in the same way. Studies show that dogs’ typical reactions to our anger include nervous behaviors like:
- Turning their head away
- Excessive barking
So, if your dog gives one of these nervous responses when you give them the middle finger, it’s their way of responding to your anger.
Why Does the Middle Finger Make My Dog Angry?
If your dog has seen you raise an angry middle finger to someone in the past, they could associate a middle finger with your angry behavior and act out of fear.
The American Kennel Club says that one of the reasons that dogs act with aggression is because of fearfulness. The Club says that a fearful dog is five times more likely to act aggressively than a non-fearful one.
How Do Dogs Respond to Fear?
If your dog associates a middle-finger gesture with actions that make them fearful because of a past incident, it may act aggressively out of fear. It could act aggressively even if this is the first time you’ve given your dog the middle finger.
Some aggressive responses to fearing you when you give your dog the middle finger may include:
- Body stiffening
- Opening eyes widely
- Tensing their mouth or curling their lips
- Wrinkling their nose
- Baring their teeth
- Air snapping
Thus, if your dog’s reaction to giving it the middle finger is an aggressive response, it’s most likely acting out of fear.
Final Thoughts on Why Dogs Hate the Middle Finger
Dogs respond to the middle finger in a variety of ways. If they have no contextual clues, they will act confused. If you give them the middle finger when angry with them, they may express nervousness. However, if they are afraid of how you behave when you use a middle finger gesture, they may respond to your middle finger with aggression instead.