Your dog is your best friend, and it goes without saying that they love everything about you. Well, almost everything. As close as we may feel to our canine companions, dogs and people are separate species with different ways of communicating, and even the sweetest or most laid-back dogs can strongly dislike some of the things humans do.
In order to make your life with your furry pal as harmonious as possible, make sure you aren’t on the wrong side of our list of 10 things dogs hate!
10 Things Dogs Hate
- Hugging – Dogs are similar to people in many ways, but enjoying hugs is not one of them. Most dogs interpret hugging as an act of aggression. Fortunately there are plenty of other ways to snuggle with your pooch, such as sitting side by side, letting them rest their head in your lap, or giving lots of tummy rubs.
- Not respecting their boundaries – Staring at your dog, kissing their face, or snuggling too closely can be irritating to them. Watch their body language for clues you’ve crossed the line: yawning, looking away, and flattened ears are often the first signs.
- Teasing them – This one should be obvious, but it bears mentioning because many people still think it’s funny to tease a barking dog through a car window, or dangle food in front of a dog only to take it away. Teasing is just plain mean, and too much can lead to behavior problems.
- Not letting them sniff on walks – The daily walk is your dog’s chance to explore their neighborhood and to leave and receive messages from their local peers. Dogs “see” with their noses, so tearing them away from everything they try to smell is like torture! If time is a factor, opt for shorter walks so that you can give your dog enough time to do what dogs do best.
- Leaving them alone too often or for too long – Dogs are social creatures, and being alone for long periods of time tends to make them miserable. If you must be away from home all day, consider enrolling your dog in doggy daycare or hiring a pet sitter to come by and walk/play with them during the day. Make sure to give your dog your undivided attention before you leave and when you arrive home.
- Patting their heads – Would you like your head patted? No? Your dog is no different. Opt for a scratch behind the ears or at the base of the tail instead.
- Providing inconsistent (or no) boundaries – Dogs are pack animals, and they look to us as their leaders. Well-meaning pet owners may think they’re being nice by not demanding good behavior from their dogs, but in a dog’s mind this is inconsistent leadership and they don’t like it. Like children, dogs thrive when they know what the boundaries are.
- Negative reinforcement – Yelling and harsh punishments can be effective ways of getting a dog to stop doing something you dislike, but it can be extremely damaging to them emotionally and can erode the bond between the two of you. Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding good behavior (going potty in the appropriate spot or sitting on command, for example) with a treat, praise, or both, and is shown to be a far more effective and lasting means of training.
- Using scented grooming products – A dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than ours. In order to avoid overwhelming your sweet pup with an artificial scent, opt for scent-free grooming products and laundry soap, and keep your cologne or perfume to a minimum.
- Arguing in front of them – One of the outcomes of the thousands of years of coevolution between dogs and humans is that dogs are experts at reading our emotions. Tense situations between humans, such as arguing, can be deeply troubling to a dog, who may then act out with aggression, bad behavior, or by hiding. The next time a disagreement arises, do your best to remove yourselves to a different room of the home or outside.