Static Electricity – Ouch! What Was That?

I recently visited a timid dog who was just gathering sufficient courage to sniff my hand when I both heard and felt the static shock of electricity leaping from my hand to the poor dog’s nose. He recoiled and then kept his distance after that.

There are many cases where a dog’s behaviour seems unexplainable. Maybe, with their highly sensitive nosstatic-electricity-shock-285x210es – much more sensitive than our own hand skin – dogs frequently get ‘rebuffed’ when they touch someone with their nose? Perhaps it could also explain mystery aversions to other things too? Just a thought.

Possibly this is more of a problem for the winter. Scott Sutherland, Meteorologist at site has this to say:

‘Getting a static shock once in a while is annoying. However, during the winter months, especially if you’re someone who is more prone to them, they can happen so often that it’s – sometimes literally – nerve-racking. It can really have a negative impact on our mood!’

If it has a negative impact on our own mood – what about our dogs (or cats for that matter)? Static can build up in their coats too.

The shock is caused by our body collecting electrons especially when we walk across a wool or nylon carpet while wearing rubber-soled shoes. ‘The resulting charge buildup can get quite high. Reach out towards a metal doorknob, for example, and the voltage across the gap between your hand and the knob can climb to 20,000 Volts or higher – enough to break down the air resistance and cause a spark to jump the gap’.

Sersiously, maybe callers to houses with a timid dog should take our shoes off just in case? Maybe I should take my shoes off when I visit a client?

Here is the story of a dog I went to recently whose behaviour couldn’t be explained by anything obvious.

To visit my site and to see stories of many more dogs I have helped, please go to



About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist C.C.B (Certified Canine Behaviourist) INTODogs). I have helped over 3000 dog owners over eighteen years. In addition to online consultations all over the world, I cover Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks for home visits. A 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a full member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site:
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1 Response to Static Electricity – Ouch! What Was That?

  1. Leda Van Stedum says:

    Oh my, YES! One time my poor Lab came up to me to touch my hand. He was shocked on the nose and he turned and went to lay down, almost as if he felt a severe positive punishment! I felt so badly and there was nothing I could do to appease him! (Here, in the drier part of the USA, my husband occassionally forgets to ground himself before kissing me. It hurts!!!)


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