Can dogs really tell if someone is a good or bad person? Dogs are often smarter than we think, and they can detect many things that we can’t.


Can Dogs Tell if You're a Good or Bad Person?

People often wonder if dogs can tell the difference between good and bad people. Well, the answer is YES! Dogs are amazing creatures, and can sense all sorts of things that we either don’t notice, or could never sense ourselves.

Dogs are great at reading body language, which is why they are such great companions for us. They watch a person’s facial expressions, body movements, tone of voice, and even “energy” to see what someone is really saying, or how they really feel in that moment.

Can Dogs Judge Character?

If someone is acting anxious, nervous, or hostile, a dog can sense that energy from them. Or if someone is speaking loudly, harshly, or making large and wild gestures and body movements, this tells a dog something too. All of these things signal to a dog about the emotions that a human is feeling.

Can Dogs Sense When Someone is Dangerous?

Watching someone’s tone of voice, actions, and energy is a defense mechanism for a dog. This is how they know if someone is a safe person, or a dangerous one. If your actions, volume, and energy are making a dog uncomfortable, they will run away out of self-defense. But be careful. If a dog feels threatened and cornered, that’s when they could react in an aggressive way.

This is why it’s important to be careful when having small children around a dog. Even though the child might not mean any ill-will against the dog, they can seem like a threat. If the child is screaming, running around, and crashing into things, it will put your dog on high alert.

And if the child starts to run at the dog, hitting them, trying to climb on them, or yanking their ears—the dog will feel cornered and under attack. This dog might not be aggressive typically, but they could seriously feel threatened and trapped in this moment. And then they might react aggressively.

Can Dogs Sense Kindness?

Yes, dogs can sense kindness too! If a dog seems relaxed and at peace, it's because they feel safe. They can tell that the energy around them is relaxed. When you act calm and confident, a dog will know you are a kind, good, safe person. They will feel comfortable letting their guard down.

But if someone else enters that safe space with anxious, loud, or hostile energy, your dog will immediately feel unsettled and become guarded.

Signs that a Dog Thinks You’re a Good Person

Here are some signs you can look for in a dog to see if they think you’re a good, safe, kind person.

  1. Wagging their tail
  2. Soft, staring eyes
  3. They’re sniffing you
  4. Tilted head
  5. Mouth open and relaxed
  6. Following you around
  7. Not guarding “their people” or things
  8. Relaxed demeanor
This is my little brother, Evan, and our dog, Coco. He was outside playing with her and I decided to take a couple of shots and this is one of the ones I got.

Signs that a Dog Thinks You’re a Bad Person

Have you ever heard of dogs being able to sniff out things like cancer and other diseases? Well, they can actually sniff out “bad people” too. Dogs can sense an angry person by smelling the chemicals that are emitted through their skin when their heart rate and blood flow increases. Crazy, right?!

Here are some signs to watch out for if a dog thinks you’re a bad person:

  1. Backing away
  2. Hair standing up on their backs
  3. Guarding “their people” or things
  4. Growling
  5. Ears back in fear
  6. Intense, staring eyes
  7. Barking

What to Do When Your Dog Senses a Bad Person?

Of course you don’t want your dog to attack anyone. But they have those instincts for a reason. So what do you do when this happens?

  • Always keep your dog on a harness and leash to control them, and keep them close by your side. You don’t want them to run off and attack someone. And if you are worried about your dog running off, try the Fi Smart Dog Collar to keep track of your pup’s location at all times.
  • Don’t yell at or hit your dog for reacting this way. They are just doing what their instincts tell them. Try talking to them in a soothing voice, reassuring them that everything is ok.
  • If the “threat” doesn’t leave your dog, then you need to make your dog leave the threat. Take your dog away from that person or area, so they can calm down and feel safe again.

Can Dogs Tell if You’re a Dog Person?

Yes, dogs can most certainly tell if you’re a dog person or not. As we said above, dogs can sense people’s energy. They can tell if you’re relaxed, happy, anxious, or hostile.

You may have noticed this with some of your friends and family who have met your dog. Not only can your dog sense if someone is a good or bad person, but they can sense whether or not someone really likes dogs, or feels comfortable around dogs.

This is why it’s best for you to help reassure your dog that your friends and family are safe, good people. And you can help explain to your friends and family that your dog will like them better and feel calmer once they are acting calm and relaxed.