In this study, dowel displacement-embedment stress relationships for different types, numbers and positions of reinforcements were experimentally investigated using a half-hole embedment test setup. Tests were performed parallel to the grain and in compression. Screws with a full or partial thread at different positions below the dowel and oriented strand board, plywood and nail plates on the loaded surfaces of the specimens, served as reinforcements. Test results underline their potential for an increased ductility of dowel-type connections. Comparison of reinforced and unreinforced specimens suggests premature failure of the unreinforced wood and consequently, an underestimation of the embedment strength as it is subsequently used in the design of dowel connections using the European yield model. This was supported by the investigation of cracks on the surface of the specimens visualized by means of a full-field deformation measurement system. It could be demonstrated that the strength in the embedment test even further increases if the reinforcement elements actively contribute to the load transfer. This property however cannot be considered as embedment strength, but represents the strength of a connection system. Test data is compared to the design equation in Eurocode 5.