Dogs are loyal and easygoing creatures, but there some things you do that your dog secretly (or not so secretly) hates. Some of those are obvious such as refusing to move when you try to bring him to the vet. Hugs also often are avoided, as well as certain types of handling. In case you insist dogs get even visibly upset or sad.
No two dogs are the same, so some of them enjoy what others obviously can’t stand. Here are some of things that often annoy dogs, so you can be a more considerable pet owner in the future.
Photos of people hugging dogs are really cute, but the reality is most of the dogs do not enjoy being hugged, especially when strangers do it. Putting arms around a dog’s neck or body could be seen as a threat. Most dogs still are patient enough to tolerate light hugs from humans they know, but this does not mean they feel good about it. It’s important that you know your own dog and understand his limits. Check the body language to help you understand how he is feeling while being hugged, and stop when you notice any appeasement gestures, because probably he is feeling uncomfortable.
Lack of routine and rules
You may think your dog prefers to be allowed to do whatever he wants, but rules are not only for your convenience. As any trainer will say to you, if a dog is acting out, probably you didn’t teach him to obey the rules. Training, routine and structure are very important because any dog has an internal biological clock. Feed your dog at the same time each day if possible, establish an exercise routine, and just in a few days’ time you’ll notice changes in your dog for better.
Getting way too close in his personal space
Dogs are similar to humans regarding the personal space and strongly dislike it when anyone gets in their faces. Good strategy is to avoid putting your hands in the dog’s face, towering over dogs, and/or rushing towards them, especially if the dog does not know you well.
In case you need to force yourself into the dog’s personal space for its own good, act slowly, be gentle and reward the dog for the patience and obedience. Still, appeasement gestures, any signs of fear or aggression mean you should back off.
Even if you like the view of a dog in clothes, most of them really hate being dressed up. They sometimes tolerate this but almost never enjoy it. Some of them are okay with simple clothing like shirts, but loathe things being put on the head or feet. When the dog needs protection from the cold, it’s best to start with lightweight clothing and associate this with treats. And always check for body language and signs of appeasement.
Dogs are social animals and almost always hate being left alone. Some of them are comforted by the presence of another dog, but others need human companionship, and even experience separation anxiety. So while you are at home it’s best to spend as much time as possible with your pet. Take the time to bond, set a daily routine with lots of play and exercise as well as mental stimulation. And for the inavoidable travels when you cannot bring your dog with you, find a reliable pet sitter who will care take of the dog while you’re away.
Yelling and aggression
Dogs probably do not understand the meaning of the words you’re are saying, but they sense your emotions. If you have a sensitive or fearful dog, it’s possible that yelling and harsh punishment actually will upset him. Fear does not necessarily lead to respect, neither improves the relationship with your pet by acting like this. And even if it’s not sensitive, yelling and harsh punishments don’t work in the long run because your dog becomes desensitized to that kind of attention. The better strategy relies on positive reinforcement and rewards for complying instead of punishments.
Strong fragrances and aromas
Dogs have a sense of smell that is about 10,000 times more sensitive than humans. Generally speaking, dogs enjoy taking in scents and odors but strong fragrances bother and irritate them.
It’s preferrable to avoid spraying your dog with nearly anything. If a medical spray is needed, try to spraying his face (or better, spray on a cloth and apply it). And when applying your own products (perfumes, air fresheners, cleaners, etc.) do it away from your dog and explicitly check if the product is toxic for pets.
Uncomfortable or stressful situations
Have you seen your dog “put on the brakes” and refuse to go somewhere or do something? Most of the time, your dog is refusing because of a fear or phobia. It could be the bathtub, the veterinarian, the car or area. Trying to force him does not always work, and can cause more harm than good, so it’s better to ease him into the situation by keeping him at a safe distance and rewarding calm behaviour. In case this doesn’t help or the phobia is really grave, it’s better to seek the assistance of a trainer or a behaviorist.