Hey there, dog lover! Did you know that there are things we regularly do with our dogs that they actually hate? Dogs are such a special part of our families that it can be easy to see them as another human. But there are several things that we may do with our family and friends that you should definitely not do with your dog.
Avoid these ten things, and your relationship with your four-legged friend will improve. Want Your Dog to Love You as Much as You Love Them? Stop Doing These 10 Things Your Dog Actually Hates
Stop Doing These 10 Things to Your Dog
We get it: you love your dog. And you’d like to express that affection as you do with humans. But hugs can make a dog feel stressed. In research published by Psychology Today, 81.6% of dogs photographed being hugged showed visible signs of stress and discomfort.
2. Forced socialization
Don’t force your dog to socialize with other dogs or people if it causes them visible distress. Ears back, tail between the legs, and barking are all signs that a dog is uncomfortable in a social situation. Better to just move along.
3. Strong smells
Sure, your dog loves smelly things. Food, garbage, another dog’s poo…the smellier, the better! But your dog actually hates a lot of the smells you may like. Strong perfumes and cleaning products are a huge turn-off for dogs. Their senses of smell are so developed that these smells can be too strong and unpleasant.
4. Rushed walks
Walks are the way your dog experiences the outside world. A good walk exercise is not only a good exercise, but dogs receive mental stimulation from the sights, sounds, and smells around them. No, your dog doesn’t want to stop to smell the roses. But they do want to smell a lot of things! Rushing them along deprives dogs of this necessary enrichment.
5. Lack of structure
You may think that letting your dog run free in all circumstances is what they want. But no. Training and structure allow dogs to please their owners and establish a routine. Both of these contribute to a happy pooch. Training is also crucial for keeping your dog safe. Just be sure your training focuses on positive reinforcement.
6. Not using body language
Dogs can learn verbal commands, but they are also visual communicators. Add hand signs to your tricks. Demonstrate your intention to play or settle with body language. You’ll be surprised what man’s best friend can understand!
7. Head pats
Like it is for us, the head is very much part of a dog’s personal space. Getting in a dog’s face or petting its head can feel threatening. And with you being close to the dog’s mouth, your chances of being bitten (even by accident) will rise. Proceed with caution when petting any dog, but more so when it is on the top of their head. Until you have made a strong connection with a dog it is best to pet them on their back. Dogs will usually let you know where they love to be scratched. For Kenzo, it’s on his chest. For Vík, it’s under his chin, by his ears, in the middle of his eyes, and his belly. haha So cute!
8. Exposing them to loud noises
Loud noises are a widespread fear for dogs. This might be the loud construction site down your street or a thunderstorm. Fireworks are especially distressing. You can create a safe space for your dog indoors, a quiet spot in the house, and soothing sounds like classical music or white noise.
9. Playing dress up
In some climates, certain dogs will need a coat or other cold-weather accessories to stay warm. In all other cases, clothes are unnecessary and annoying for dogs. Some may tolerate it, but many don’t like it. I know I love dressing up Kenzo and Vík for Halloween like other pet owners. You can make dressing up your dog a better situation if you practice by desensitizing the dog to the outfit, costume, etc. Desensitization is a way to gradually teach your dog to tolerate a troubling situation or stimuli (also known as a trigger.)
10. Being left alone
All dogs need companionship for at least some of the day. Too often, a dog will be left home alone for hours at a time. Ever come home to a chewed-up couch? Dogs may develop separation anxiety or behavioral issues from lack of human attention and company. If you need to be out all day, consider hiring a dog walker for mid-day outings. But at the end of the day, your dog wants to spend time with their favorite person: you!