Can dogs understand what you say to them? When I tell mine off, he always looks depressed.Dogs are very sensitive to the tone of their owner’s voice and respond accordingly. When you scold your dog in a harsh tone of voice, he adopts a submissive posture. Body language is a very important means of communication in the case of dogs. They still retain strong pack instincts, like their ancestor, the grey wolf. Within the home, the dog’s owner is usually looked on as the dominant individual. As a result, your dog will lower his head and look towards the ground when you are clearly displeased with him - staring back is seen in the canine world as a challenge, and so he avoids your gaze.