I have a hard time believing that Ray understands and feels embarrassment, so there has to be another explanation for his behavior!
During the first 18 months that Ray was living with us, Carol was still working full time and so I had the pleasure of his company all day. On one particular walk downtown, I had to use a public washroom and therefore Ray had to come in with me. It was just a single room with everything necessary to do whatever you needed to do (I am being delicate!) and I was concerned that Ray may not like such an enclosed space and start barking (which was not unusual at that time). As I settled myself on the seat, I was trying to talk soothingly to Ray, whose sole intent appeared to be to not look at me! Even when washing my hands, he avoided any direct eye contact! There were no problems with him but, when I opened the door to leave, it was quite clear that he wanted to get out as fast as he could!
More recently, I was enjoying some chill time and soaking in a nice hot bath. I had left the door ajar to help the ceiling fan do its job of taking out the moist air, when Ray cautiously came in. He slowly but deliberately walked over to the bathtub; looked over the edge and at me; turned around and walked out!
With the current bathroom door project, a sheet is hanging in the doorway (it ends about 12″ off the floor) while the door is getting its renovation. While all the paint has been stripped and some coats of oil applied, I still have to strip paint from the hinges, door knobs, finger plates etc. so there is still some work to do before the door will be remounted.
This morning, after going out with Ray to let him do whatever he needed to do, I had to use the washroom which, probably to Ray’s dismay, meant stalling his breakfast by a few minutes. He was following me around because he knew that breakfast was the next step in the morning routine but, as I worked around the curtain and into the washroom, Ray did not follow. I assumed that he would be either waiting for me near his food bowl, or perhaps in his den.
I was settled quite comfortably on the toilet seat when some movement in the doorway caught my attention. Ray’s head appeared just under the curtain! His body was completely outside the washroom, but his head was in and just lifted the curtain a little. He made eye contact; held it for probably 5 seconds; lowered his head; turned around and walked off towards the kitchen.
Perhaps he simply felt that there was no reason to be there? Perhaps humans toilet habits are rather odd to him and therefore best ignored? He does look a little embarrassed in these situations but, if that is the case, I wonder how he feels when he “goes” as we’re generally around him at that time. If only dogs could talk!