5 THINGS YOU DO THAT YOUR DOG HATES
Our dogs love us unconditionally, we all know that. However, just like the roommate you lived with in college, there are going to be a few things you do that your dog hates. Most of these are things that in the human world are completely understandable and validated, but it’s important to remember that dogs come from a different world than us, with a different social structure. Many of these things that we do are unconscious, so don’t be alarmed if you find a few things on the list that you do with your dog. It’s good to be aware of them so that you can make your dog’s life as comfortable and happy as possible.
Humans love hugs, and we know that dog’s love us so they must love hugs too, right? Wrong. Giving long hugs is one of the things you do that your dog hates. Hugs don’t exist in a dogs world, and they don’t understand that when we hug them we are showing our love. To a dog, a hug is an uncomfortable moment when a human squeezes too tight. Many dogs have grown up with this kind of treatment throughout their whole lives, so they tolerate it, but that doesn’t mean that they like it. The problem here occurs when a human tries to hug a dog who isn’t accustomed to hugs. This increases the risk of a bite. Many dogs will show you that they’re not interested in hugs by slightly turning their body or face away from you, or perhaps by yawning. This is their cue to us that they are feeling uncomfortable. Many dogs are very happy to cuddle with humans, but are not so happy when the cuddling gets close enough to be a hug.
Instead of hugging, show your dog that you love him by giving him a nice scratch behind the ears, or a cuddle session in which he is in control of how close you are to each other. Dog’s aren’t big fans of other creatures being right up in their space, so give your dog the amount of space that it needs to feel comfortable. Of course there are always dogs that LOVE human attention, and will be the ones getting right up in YOUR space. Though these dogs may seem happy to give you a big hug, make sure that you look to their body language to see how they feel when you are giving them a hug so that you don’t overwhelm them.
We, as humans, love to gaze lovingly into our dog’s eyes. In dog-world, however, staring is seen as a threat. So when you’re looking into your dog’s eyes, you’re actually challenging them, which is anything but loving to them. Many dogs will break eye contact with you by licking their lips or yawning because they are feeling uncomfortable. These small gestures are actually signs of stress coming from your dog.
If you are encountering a dog that seems anxious, whether it is your own or a strange dog, do not look it in the eyes when you approach. In order to ease the dog’s anxiety it is important that you don’t exacerbate the situation more by staring at the dog.
This unease at staring is seen in other animals as well, including humans. Think of the last time you made eye contact unexpectedly with a stranger. In this situation, many people immediately feel uncomfortable, and turn their gaze away. It is natural for animals to feel uncomfortable from the gaze of another animal, so it’s important not to force our dogs into uncomfortable situations.
3. Petting the face
Dogs have much stronger senses than humans, and those senses are primarily located around their face. So when you are petting your dogs face you are getting dangerously close to their main sensory areas. This makes them very vulnerable, and unhappy. I once heard someone say that it is similar to the feeling of a wet willy (if you don’t know what a wet willy is then I suggest googling it!). I love this analogy. Nobody likes a wet willy.
Many dogs will allow someone close to them to touch around the face, but it is less likely that they will allow strangers to touch them in this sensitive spot. One of the worst things that you can do with a strange new dog is to pet it around it’s face. Many dogs will simply turn their head away politely, but the occasional dog will react with a snarl. A better place to pet a dog is on it’s back, until a trusting relationship is formed between you and the dog.
4. Forced Friendship
In the same way that not all humans like each other, not all dogs are fans of each other. Humans have this crazy idea that all dogs need to have dog friends, but in reality, our dog has us, and that’s all the friend that they need (awwwww). True, some dogs get along well with other dogs, but some dogs don’t, and dogs absolutely hate it when we try to make them remain in situations that they don’t like. All that this will lead to is a stressed dog, and perhaps a dog fight.
Forcing a dog to make doggie friends is one of the things you do that your dog hates, so let’s be good dog mama’s and daddy’s and let our fur babies make their own friends, shall we?
5. Walking with a Tight Leash
We don’t like it when our dogs are pulling us around on their leashes, but believe it or not, they don’t like it either. Many people believe that their dog is pulling to show them a lesson, or to be dominant. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dogs who pull on their leashes simply don’t understand the concept of walking politely on leash. Walking on a leash is not natural for dogs. They were not born into the world walking on a leash, it is something that we humans require from them, so it’s us who must teach them.
Dog’s don’t learn well if we ONLY show them what they shouldn’t do, so constantly pulling on the leash will not help the dog to learn. Instead you will need to use positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise, in order to show them what you DO want. Training a dog to walk politely on leash can be a long process, but if you remain diligent, he will learn. Most people walk their dog on leash at least once a day, so it’s important to put the work in now so that you aren’t constantly dreading the moment you need to hook him up to the leash.
By teasing I mean that time that you pretended to throw your dog’s ball but actually hide it behind your back. In most cases, your dog trusts you 110%, and when you tease it it loses a little bit of that trust. Why would you want to do that? For a little bit of a laugh? It’s not worth it. Don’t tease your dog. Each time that you do this your dog will learn that you are not to be trusted. Not only does this build a shaky relationship between the two of you, but the game is virtually ruined if your dog refuses to chase the ball. You are not proving anything by teasing your dog in this way, and though you may find it funny, your dog finds it to supremely unfair.