As with all best friends, even dogs and humans can have misunderstandings. But at times, some of these misreadings go unnoticed. Various researches have proven that, dogs dislike specific things we do to them. For instance, dogs may not be too thrilled about constant hugs and kisses, and may only tolerate it because they are loyal and love us very much. To realize and recognize such concerns, here is a checklist of things dogs hate about humans. One must be aware of their dog’s thoughts and avoid doing the following, if they want to make their dog feel happy, comfortable and safe.
1. Excess Hugging and Kissing
Even though it’s tempting, hugs and kisses are normally not a dog’s thing. Dogs do not interpret everything as we do. Wrapping your arms around a dog’s neck or full body, and approaching him with your mouth, may be perceived as a threat. Although, there are dogs who do accept hugs from their owners, it doesn’t mean they like it in a way a human does. Animal behaviour researchers revealed that 81.6% of the dogs tested displayed signs of stress or anxiety when they were hugged. 7.6% of them actually enjoyed the hugs, while 10.8% of the dogs remained neutral. The most common signs of stress included suddenly flattened or raised ears, sad or widened eyes (visible whites of the eyes), or closed eyes and a head turned away. Furthermore, when pushed past their comfort zone, certain dogs did even growl and bare their teeth displaying dislike.
Personal Tip: Next time you decide to hug or kiss your dog, evaluate his reaction first. Give him enough time to get used to you and your family. Rather than hugging your dog, wait for your dog to lean into you, and gradually try petting him on his chest, sides or back.
2. Teasing for Fun
This may be quite obvious, but it’s worth pointing out. Dogs are naturally innocent. They do anything to keep their masters happy and thrive peacefully with common folk. But misusing these manners to tease a dog is hateful. A dog may see teasing as a game or confusing act at first, but soon it will figure out that something is wrong. For instance, when you call your dog to probably give him something to eat but end up giving him nothing, or you may put something on his tail for fun even when he’s withdrawing in annoyance. These are some sure ways to lose a dog’s trust and gain his hatred.
Additionally, teasing street dogs or a dog behind doors, as you pass them, would ultimately make them aggressive. The list is long, but in short, don’t do something that you know makes a dog mad just because you think it’s funny. It may not be funny for the dog and can lead to some serious behavioral problems.
“Giving value to others, helps us grow emotionally.”
3. Unnecessary Clothing
Don’t dress up your dog because you think they look cute or funny in them. When it’s cold, you may want to put on a warm coat for your dog, especially before walks, but also keep in mind that dogs have fur to regulate their body temperature. If you live in a cold climate and choose to use a jacket, ensure it is not restrictive.
Dogs are creatures of habit. They get accustomed to a schedule and learn to expect certain things at certain times. In the absence of a routine, you and your dog will have a poor coordination, and he will never integrate into your home properly and can remain in a state of distress and discomfort. Failing to stick to a schedule or deviating from one, nagging your dog or giving him inconsistent directions, will make him feel confused, tensed and eventually unsafe. If you don’t follow a routine, it is important to make one.
Personal Tip: Try to have a regular schedule for everything from feeding to playtime. A dog depends on routine and may experience anxiety if it is not followed. Set a schedule for your buddy, always deliver good care, and stick to the same instructions and commands. Then, your dog will never be restless or upset.
5. Being Over Strict with Rules
Badly timed walks and forcing to defecate outside even in harsh weathers, may cause discomfort and stress in your dog. At times you will need to pay attention to your dog’s cues. During hot summers, the paths you usually walk with your dog or even the terrace of your house, could be scorching hot and quite inconvenient on your dog’s paws. Again, during winters, especially in snowy areas, you must make sure that the temperature is not too cold and there is a safe place for your dog to walk comfortably. Likewise, monsoons call for special care, as your canine companions are exposed to moisture and pollen, which can result in various skin diseases in dogs.
Personal Tip: Define an alternative place for your dog’s walks, exercises and other activities during harsh weathers to keep him comfortable and happy.
6. Unreasonable Rush
One of the many things dogs hate about humans is being rushed during walks. Dogs love going on walks and want to be able to take their time when they go out. Imagine someone taking you to a new/favourite store with no opportunity to explore. If it happens often, won’t it be frustrating? Remember, dogs see and understand the world primarily through their sense of smelling. Besides doing their business, they also need time to explore and sniff. Pulling their leash all the time, not allowing them to stop and walking them in haste is unkind and no fun at all. Moreover, pulling is painful for the dog and can cause irritation. Certainly, it is necessary to leash-train a dog and spare a generous amount of time for regular walks.
Personal Tip: Try to use a harness for your dog instead of a collar. A harness is safer for a dog and also makes it easier for you to control and manage. Once all set, train your dog to come back when he is done, instead of rushing him. Running, giving treats and other positive reinforcements can be used to achieve this.
7. Dogs Hate Being Forced for Baths
It’s perfectly ok if Shadow denies a bath, it’s not ok for you to drag him to the bathing room. Basically, most dogs hate being forced for a bath for a variety of reasons. Their version of bathing is far beyond the concept of getting wet. They might be afraid of the running water or the strong smell of the shampoo, but surely, water can also bring back scary memories. Dogs will allow and enjoy a bath if you ease them into the experience.
Personal Tip: I have two dogs and one loves his bath-time and the other is learning to. The secret lies in giving your dogs a good experience about water. I keep enough water ready before bathing my dogs and make sure to keep the taps off while bathing them. I keep their favourite toys and treats around, massage their bodies with shampoo, while singing my self-composed and their favourite bath-song. To ‘bathy-bathy-bums’, my dogs happily follow me to the bathroom. My mom calls me, ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’
8. Strong Fragrances
Your dog has about 10,000x of your ability to perceive scents. There are smells that we may barely notice, but could be irritating your dog. Be watchful while using Perfumes, Spray Sanitizers, Cleansing Products, Strong Spices and Citrus Scents in a house with dogs. You will notice a dog letting out a series of sneezes seconds after you apply deodorant. Avoid using these around your dog and make sure he is in another room when you do.
9. Patting the Head and Petting the Face
Honestly, no human enjoys being patted on his head no matter how lovingly done. It’s actually annoying at times and worse when we are in particular moods. Doing this to dogs also, especially strange dogs, may not be a good idea, as they get a little tensed about the invasion of personal space. Likewise, no one wants a stranger’s hand reaching towards their face. The same fact applies to most dogs, except for the ones that put up with actions like petting on faces only with people they know and trust.
Personal Tip: Let me tell you, Selfie, my 3-year-old female Indian breed, who is the most affectionate and submissive dog we’ve adopted, pulls her head away when we try to pet her on her face. Instead, she allows and enjoys a gentle neck scratch or belly rub.
10. Negative Tones
If you think your dog knows when he has done something wrong because he looks guilty, then you are absolutely wrong. In reality, your dog isn’t sorry that he has chewed your shoes or knocked over a flower pot. Dogs cannot feel such complex emotions like guilt or shame. Your dog is just reacting to the tone of your voice. He is actually confused, bothered, scared and stressed because your pitch and body language shows negativity and anger. More importantly, scolding in bad moods and yelling causes severe stress, both in dogs and humans.
Personal Tip: Stop yelling, as it doesn’t work and instead worsens the unwanted behaviour in your dog. Try working on the wanted behaviour. The next time you find something chewed or destroyed, blame yourself and start catering to your dog’s natural need to chew. Always keep your dog occupied with a chew bone, stick or toy in your absence.
11. Traumatizing Sounds
Dogs hate loud noises like that of vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, horns and sirens, loud music and firecrackers, and tend to bark in response. This is quite normal, since dogs have exceptional hearing and are much more sensitive to sounds than us. Therefore, any noise that may disturb you will surely terrify your dog. As per studies, some dogs are born with certain fears. Some also develop fear from past trauma. Obviously, there are dogs that deal quite well with loud noises and unfamiliar sounds, and are not scared because they have been raised and trained to gradually get normal with it.
Personal Tip: Some people find it funny when a dog barks at the vacuum cleaner. But exposing your furry friends to such noises can be a torture to them.
12. Dogs Hate getting Bored or Isolated
Dogs are pack animals. When they are out in the open, they do everything together and they are loyal to their pack. For your domestic dogs, you are the leader of their pack. When you do not spend enough time with you dogs or leave them alone too long, they can develop anxiety. Make sure you take them for walks and give them lots of attention whenever you can.
Personal Tip: If you work for longer hours away from home, it is a good idea to have someone check on your dogs. You can also take them to a doggy-day care every now and then, so they can socialize with other dogs and humans as well.
No matter how many misunderstandings best friends may have; they never abandon us. They cannot bear looking at us lying depressed. Dogs, our true companions, can easily sense our emotions. They can sense the sadness in our eyes and feel the pain in our hearts. No matter how upset, hurt and angry you are, your dog will always comfort you, trying to do his best to make you feel loved. Doesn’t he deserve the same?