We love our dogs so much that it hurts us to think we could be doing something that makes them uncomfortable, sad, or scared.
And they love us so much in return–and are so loyal–that sometimes, they don’t make it obvious when we’re doing something that bothers them.
Since they can’t tell us what’s wrong, we’ve compiled a list of things 13 things that humans sometimes do that dogs don’t actually like. But lucky for us, our favorite fuzzballs always find a way to forgive us–because that’s just who they are.
1. Hugging (If They Feel Restrained)
This is not to say that all dogs don’t like hugs. Some affectionate dogs will happily bask in any love that comes their way. But for many dogs, wrapping them in your arms may be interpreted as a sign of dominance, and can make them feel trapped. Some will tolerate hugs from those they love and trust, but it doesn’t mean they like it. In the end, it really depends on their personality.
Observe the pup’s body language: pinned ears, stiff posture, and a tense expression means the dog is not enjoying the embrace as much as you are. It is also VERY important to teach children not to run up and hug dogs that they don’t know. This lesson could prevent serious injuries!
Bottom line: you know your dog best. If he gets nervous when he feels trapped or is weary about getting hugs from strangers, make sure visitors know how to respect those boundaries!
2. Saying Commands With Too Many Words
We all chat with our dogs – and that’s okay! But we form such close bonds with our dogs, sometimes it’s easy to forget that they don’t understand most of what we’re saying! This is most important when it comes to giving commands. For instance, trying to reason with them (“I’ll give you a treat if you’re good!”) is a futile effort. They may pick up on the words “treat” and “good,” then wonder why you haven’t tossed a snack their way!
To eliminate confusion, keep it simple and in the present when giving commands or directives. Use key words he knows (good, treat, walk, play etc.), tone, and body language, and you’ll have a better chance at getting the message across.
Yes, dogs need limits–but you’ll be more successful by encouraging good behaviors rather than scolding them when they’re bad. Yelling will likely make them anxious or scared–or maybe they’re completely desensitized to it–and most of the time, they won’t even know what you’re saying.
An example of positive reinforcement: when your dog steals your socks, rather than scolding her, instruct her to drop it, then reward her once she does. (This will take patience, but your pup will be better behaved in the long run!)