Dogs love us despite ourselves. They’re a gift we don’t deserve and we should honestly thank our lucky stars they allowed themselves to be domesticated all those many thousand years ago. The last thing any of us wants to think is that we’re negatively impacting our dog’s life, but…
…are you annoying your dog?
Here are 8 things you’re doing that are driving your dog bonkers.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: your dog probably hates your hugs. In the canine world, the intense physicality of a hug can feel dominating. Any dog is likely to feel trapped or suffocated in a hug (especially one that lasts too long) and that’s doubly true for dogs who are already skittish.
2. Tight Leash
Does walking your dog feel more like “dragging” your dog? When you’re dealing with a tight leash, you’re both suffering. Learn how to walk your dog the ideal way, on a loose leash, and you’ll both get more pleasure out of the experience. And for goodness’ sakes, if your dog is a tugger, invest in a harness!
3. Wrong-Way Brushing
You know how you’re only supposed to cut meat against the grain? Brushing your dog’s fur is the same way. Be sure you run the brush with the direction of the hair growth, not against it. Doing it the wrong way could make your dog feel all tickly and itchy and also make her less prone to tolerating being groomed!
Your dog’s eyes are like pools of liquid chocolate (oh, is that just us?) but you should avoid staring into them. Dogs stare most intently when their interest is fixed on prey, so if you stare back at them they may take it as a challenge. Although your dog is probably used to your staring by now, definitely don’t stare when you’re meeting a new dog.
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5. Sudden Waking
You don’t like to be woken up in the middle of a dream, so why would your dog? Older dogs tend to sleep the most deeply and particularly hate to be awakened suddenly. Whenever possible, allow your dog to wake up naturally. It’s especially important to teach kids not to wake a sleeping dog, whose reaction could be a bit unpredictable.
6. Unpredictable Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. They crave routine and it really ruffles their feathers when things get out of whack. When you stay out until 3:00 a.m. one night then come and go four times the next, your dog gets confused. The more you can stay on a schedule – yes, even during the weekends! – the happier your dog will be.
Don’t yell at your dog. Don’t even yell around your dog. Dogs perceive yelling as very loud barks. When does your dog bark loudly? Probably only when she’s really irritated, or when an emergency situation is happening. Yelling at or near your dog is a surefire way to make her uncomfortable, uneasy, and feel unsafe in your presence.
Dogs are smart, but they’re truly only capable of understanding a few short words or phrases. Avoid talking to your dog like she speaks English. You’re likely to confuse her and make her feel frustrated that she can’t understand you. When in doubt, stick with, “Good girl!”