Look, we get it: you love your dog and you want to spend hours cuddling the sh*t out of him, saying: “Whoosagoodboyy? Whooooosagoodboooooyyyy?”. But, we will break it to you easy: a lot of the things you do might make your dogs question whether he wants to remain best buds completely.
Here are 10 things we humans do that dogs totally hate. With some you might not even be aware that you’re doing them… Things like:
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Do any of the things on this list sound familiar? Let us know by dropping a comment below!
#1. Using words more than body language
We humans are a vocal species. But, if you forget everything you learned about animals from Disney cartoons, you will realize that dogs don’t have the same wide vocabulary as people. True, they might be able to understand a few key words — “sit”, “lie” and “stay”. But tell them a full sentence and you really expect them to understand?
In order to understand us, dogs rely on our body language. Dogs have evolved into expert readers of the human body and can figure out what you’re thinking and feeling before you even realize you’re thinking and feeling it. The problem, however, is that we can easily confuse our dog by sending out mixed signals. For example: telling a dog to “stay” while leaning forward him and holding out your hands. In body language, you’re actually inviting the dog to come toward you. So when you’re giving your dog a reprimand for breaking the stay command, the poor guy is all confused.
What you can do is spend an entire day without saying a word, but communicating only with your body. You’ll realize just how involved the communication can be without emitting a single sound.
#2. Hugging your dog
We wrap our arms around people to show affection, joy or emotions. However, dogs are not our peers: they don’t have arms to cuddle and show affection by grabbing someone and squeezing them tight. For a dog, a hug can even seem very threatening. In fact, a child grabbing a dog for a hug is why many dog bites occur.
#3. Petting your dog’s head
Most dogs love to get stroked. But how would you like it if someone constantly strokes your head? My guess is that you’re not going to like much. So if you really want to reward your dog for being awesome, don’t touch their head. Instead, give them a rub on their rear end, they’ll thank you for it!
#4. Walking up to a strange dog while looking him in the eye
Eye contact is a powerful thing. It’s a sign of trustworthiness or focus, but it can also be uncomfortable. It’s creepy when a stranger stares you in the eye without breaking eye contact and the same rule applies to our canine friends. For many animals, eye contact is part of establishing dominance. So when you look a dog straight in the eye, it can be seen as an act of aggression.
If you want to say hi to a strange dog in a way that is comfortable for both, approach with your eyes slightly averted, and speak with a gentle voice. This way the dog will know that you mean no harm. He might not want anything to do with you anyway, but at least you didn’t scare the dog and avoid risking an aggressive reaction.
#5. Not using structures and rules
If there is something a dog needs it’s structure. Rules make life predictable, much less confusing and a lot less stressful. Also important: a dog knows no exceptions to rules. For example: they don’t understand that they’re allowed to jump on your lap when you’re wearing your leisure outfit, but not when you’re wearing work clothes. Or that they’re allowed on the couch after a bath but not after coming in from a romp in the mud.
#6. Force your dog to be with animals or people that they don’t like
Like most animals, dogs have BFF’s and enemies. It’s easy to see who your dogs enjoys hanging out with and with whom they’d rather not, as they always send out cues. Yet, a lot of owners ignore the cues and push their dog into social situations that the dog wants nothing to do with. When dogs are pushed too far in social situations they are far more likely to lash out with an aggressive reaction. They’ve given cue after cue that they want to be left alone and finally they’ve had enough.
#7. Not giving your dog the opportunity to explore while walking the dog
Imagine: your whole life you are dependent on others and you love to be active and explore. How much would your life then suck if you’re pulled through the streets without getting a chance to smell or explore anything? Give your dog the opportunity to sniff here and there, that nose is there for a reason!
#8. Keeping a tight leash
Besides reading our body language, dogs also excel at reading our stress levels. By keeping the leash too tight, you are unintentionally raising the level of stress for your dog. With a tight leash your sending your dog signals that you are tense and on alert and your dog responds to it. With a slack leash, however, you are saying to your dog that you are calm and have everything under so your dog is free to be calm as well. Walking your dog with a slack leash might take some time to master, but we can’t stress the importance enough of being able to have pleasant walks with a relaxed dog.
#9. Being tense
Dogs can’t just sense how you’re feeling through a leash, they can also send it if the people around them are tense. The more stressed you are, the more wound up your dog will be. So if you need a reason to wind down and relax, helping you calm your dog is definitely a good one.
This one is pretty obvious. But it’s still worth pointing out because many people think it’s funny to tease a dog, even if no harm is intended. For example: wave to a dog that is barking at you from behind a window, pulling a dog’s tail. I can go on and on, but in short, don’t do anything that you know will make a dog mad. The dog won’t appreciate your sense of humor and it can lead to serious behavioral problems — and perhaps you even get to sport some dog-shaped teeth marks.
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