23 Things You Do That Your Dog Actually Hates
How would you feel if someone gave you unwanted hugs and commanded you to “make friends” with everyone you meet?
Talking to them in “their language”
A little woofing between friends is fun but constantly barking at your dog when they bark, especially if you are getting louder and louder, can be terrifying to your pup, says April Olshavsky, an AKC accredited Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and certified trainer. “Dogs don’t understand ‘talking,’” she says. “Just because you’re increasing the volume of your sound, does not mean the dog understands the words. And yelling at them to quiet them doesn’t work; in fact, your dog may even get louder thinking you are trying to play a barking game.” Instead, find out what your dog is really trying to say with all that barking, along with the other noises they make.
Sharing toys and snacks with them
Humans are taught at an early age to share their things but while that’s good manners for toddlers, for dogs it’s the opposite, Olshavsky says. “Dogs really like to have things that belong to just them,” she explains. So you might think it’s cute to “share” your childhood stuffed animal or “borrow” your dog’s favorite chew toy—and they might let you do it because you’re the boss—but it makes them feel very upset, she says. Do you know these 30 fun facts about dogs?
Throwing them a surprise birthday party
It’s Dog 101: Dogs love their routine and they really do not like schedule changes, particularly surprise ones, Askeland says. Even something you think is fun, like a birthday party, can feel very stressful to your dog, she says. “The best gift you can give them is to keep their schedule consistent: Waking up at the same time to take them out, feeding them at the same time with the same diet, and keeping their exercise routine consistent,” she explains. All that said, a puppy in a party hat is one of the cutest things ever, like these hilarious animal photos you have to see.
Making your dog apologize for destroying your plants
“Many people assume a dog knows he was ‘bad’ when he’s done something wrong because he will look ‘ashamed’ or ‘guilty’ but the truth is the dog is just reacting to your body language and tone,” Askeland says. Your dog isn’t “sorry” that he knocked over your plants, he’s scared and upset because he can see you are angry—dogs really aren’t capable of feeling those higher-level emotions that their owners often like to ascribe to them. Instead of making your dog apologize, work more on training the behaviors you want to see, she says.
Assuming a wagging tail means a happy dog
Dogs use their tails to express all kinds of states, not just to show they are happy, yet many people interpret any wagging tail as a sign that the dog likes what they’re doing—one of the most common myths about dogs, Askleand says. “Typically, a slow, stiff, side to side wag with the tail straight up is a sign of an alert dog, not an excited one while a tucked and wagging tail is a sign of nervousness and submission,” she says. “Happy dogs will have their tail at a neutral level and will wag it quickly and loosely. The best tail is the helicopter tail, which is just like it sounds. This means they are very happy.”
Planting a giant smooch on their snoot
Kissing is a sign of affection for humans and chances are your pooch loves any attention but the problems start when you grab their face to plant a smooch on their nose or forehead. “Even the most playful dog will often lean away from a person coming toward their face,” Olshavsky says. “Many dog bites have resulted from exactly this situation. It is especially important for parents to teach children early not to do this.” Looking for a dog that will be good with children? Check out the best dogs for kids and families.
Pretending everything is fine after a bad day
Many dogs are very tuned in to their human’s emotions and they can feel confused if you’re acting in a way that doesn’t match your feelings, Olshavsky says. “Your dog can easily read body language and emotion. Dogs study your gestures, and can understand when you’re not having the best day,” she explains. So instead of hiding your feelings, just let your dog snuggle and comfort you—it’s all they really want to do anyhow!
Breaking up a puppy wrestling match
Johann Georg Theron/Shutterstock
Owners see puppies nipping, growling, barking, and tackling each other and assume that they’re fighting but the truth is that is how puppies play and learn and breaking up “the fight” can stunt their doggy social skills, Askeland says. “This play fighting might seem scary to new pet parents but it is all perfectly normal dog behavior,” she says. “The only time an owner needs to remove their pups from a play situation is if a dog is clearly scared: tail tucked, trying to get away, hide, or appears to be frantic or panicked.”
Lavishing your dog with all the newest toys and gadgets
From toys to TVs to special feeders, there are so many cool products aimed at dogs. But while you might want to get them all for your best furry friend, dogs don’t really need—or even want—all that stuff, Askeland says. In fact, getting them too many things, particularly those that make noise or move, can lead to overstimulation, she says. And an overstimulated dog often reacts by doing things you don’t want them too, like hiding or destroying things. What your dog wants most, more than any gadget, is quality time with their favorite person: You. On the other hand, these 15 dog tech items are really practical to have around.
Forcing them to “make friends” with everyone
This may be hard to hear but your chill, friendly pup may not be as into street meet-and-greets as you think he is. “While your dog may adore your affections, he may not be so keen when it comes to others,” says Meg Marrs, a dog behavior expert and senior editor at K9 of Mine. He may do it to please you, but if he shows any signs of discomfort, don’t push it. “It’s important to respect a dog’s wishes and give them space if they don’t seem interested in saying ‘hi’ to strange people or dogs.” Understanding the reasons behind your dog’s weird behavior might be the difference in curbing bad habits.