Things Humans Do That Dogs Hate

Don't let your dog hate you!

Things Humans Do That Dogs Hate

Dogs try to be our best friends, but we are the ones who sometimes make it difficult for them. We love our dogs and would never do anything to hurt them, but sometimes the things we think are affectionate and kind don’t come across that way to them.

We sometimes forget that they aren’t in fact our children, they’re dogs – they have instincts and behaviours that we need to understand.

Dogs often tolerate human behaviour because they are loyal and easygoing. However, there may be some things that you or others do that your dog secretly hates. Even the most laid-back dog will hate some of the things we humans do.

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1. Hugging your dog

You might love wrapping your arms around a furry canine friend but the fact is most dogs hate hugs. We as primates think hugs are awesome and express support, love, joy and other emotions through hugs. It’s totally normal to us to wrap our arms around something and squeeze, and it only means good things. But dogs did not evolve this way. Canines don’t have arms and they don’t hug. Rather than camaraderie, if a dog places a foreleg or paw on the back of another dog, this is considered an act of dominance. No matter what intentions you have with hugging, but a dog is hardwired to view the act of hugging as you exerting your dominance. So try to avoid hugging your dog – if you can!

2. Looking into dog’s eyes

We all know how powerful eye contact is. While we view steady eye contact as as a sign of trustworthiness or focus, we have to also be aware that eye contact can feel unnerving, uncomfortable and domineering. It is creepy when a stranger looks us in the eye without breaking contact, especially as they are approaching.

When you look a stranger dog right in the eye, unblinking, you might be smiling and trying to warm up to them, but the dog is probably reading it as an act of dominance or even aggression. They might display a submissive response — looking away, doing a little wiggle for pets, rolling over onto their backs — or they might start backing up and barking.

3. Getting Into Their Personal Space

We love stroking a dogs face and head because they are just so cute! However, this can be seen as a threatening behaviour. Rushing up to them and towering over them could come across as a provocative behaviour which is what you don’t want. It is best to approach a dog slowly and let them come to you, and not the other way round.

4. Forcing Your Dog To Interact With Dogs or Humans

Just like so many other social species, dogs have their favourite friends and their enemies. It is easy to see what other dogs — and people, for that matter — that a dog wants to hang out with, and those with whom she would rather not associate. Yet, there are a lot of dog owners who go into denial about this or simply fail to read the cues their dog is giving them. It is common for overly enthusiastic owners to push their dog into social situations at dog parks, when their dog rather just go home. Another situation could be that they allow strangers to pet their dog even when she is showing clear signs of wanting to be left alone.

Taking small steps to encourage them out of their comfort zone and giving them rewards for any amount of calm, happy social behavior is important to helping them live a balanced life.

5. Going For Walks Without Exploring and Smelling

It is definitely important to have a dog that knows how to walk obediently on a leash. However, it is also important to allow a dog to have some time to explore her surroundings, while walking obediently on a leash. Dogs see with their noses, and they place as much importance on their sense of smell as we humans place on our sense of vision for interpreting the world around us. It is probably safe to say that dogs appreciate the smell of a tree trunk the way we appreciate a beautiful sunset. Dogs loathe not being able to take in their world for at least a few minutes a day, and too often we humans are focused on going on walks for the sole purpose of exercise or potty breaks.

Update: November 3, 2017.

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