I used to think dogs would love humans so unconditionally that nothing we did would ever upset or annoy them.
I was wrong.
To my surprise, I learned that dogs can get upset and annoyed at us.
Apparently, humans are so annoying, they can manage to upset even dogs. Ouch.
In this article I’ll share what I learned about the things you might be doing that upsets dogs: things that dogs hate or dislike.
By Mila Bander.
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I will leave obvious things such as loud noises, fireworks, yelling or mistreatment out of this post; this article will discuss unobvious things that can upset your dog.
The goal of this article is to help you get closer to your canine best friend and avoid any uncomfortable situation for them, yourself, and everyone around you!
Not Letting Them Sniff Things When Walking
Dogs understand the world through smells; they collect a lot of information about something by smelling it.
That’s why a lot of dogs work as detectives. Sniffing and smelling is their superpower.
It can be very frustrating and annoying for your dog when you don’t let them choose what they want to smell and don’t let them go and smell it.
It would be like going to a mall or your favorite shop and having someone drag you around not letting you look at anything.
One time, I was observing a woman taking her dog for a walk
It annoyed me to see her bossing her dog around and not letting it smell things.
I kept wondering where’s the fun in taking your dog for a walk if you’re just preventing them to enjoy the walk the entire time.
Hugging Might Upset or Annoy Your Dog
Of course, your dog enjoys cuddling you, and will also enjoy (or tolerate) it when you hug them.
But the thing is: when someone they’re not so fond of or familiar with hugs them, they can feel threatened.
Dogs may perceive arms around their neck or body as a threat.
Differently from primates, dogs usually don’t hug or grasp each other to show affection.
In “dog language” this kind of interaction is usually a sign of dominance or an attempt of control.
A solution for this is simply hugging your dog once in a while (if you can’t control the urge), be gentle about it, and let other people know your dog would rather be gently petted instead of hugged.
Staring at Dogs Can Upset Them
When a dog focuses and stares at another animal, let’s say a squirrel, it usually means they’re planning to attack it.
Research shows that dogs notice different facial expressions.
If you stare at a dog for too long with a serious expression on your face, they might feel threatened.
Of course, your own dog might not react to your staring, but it’s never a good idea to stare too long into the eyes of a dog you don’t know well, especially if they look restless or tense.
It’s a good idea to look into dog’s common facial and body expressions that can reveal they are feeling uncomfortable.
Some of these are called “appeasement gestures”.
I had never heard of these until very recently, and they opened my eyes to how deeply dogs are individuals and how we should respect that.
Pulling Their Leash All the Time
This can not only annoy your dog, but it can also hurt them to the point of damaging their bones, nerves and thyroid.
Dogs are just so pure, forgiving and upbeat, we don’t know how much we annoy or even hurt them! Hard pill to swallow, I know.
Dogs often don’t understand why the leash jerks and moves their neck.
And yet us, humans are so used to doing just that – we don’t even think about how it confuses, upsets and hurts dogs.
Dogs who have their leash pulled too often can become frustrated, depressed and aggressive. They can be emotionally tired because of it, and in physical pain.
The solution here is very easy and simple, and will make everybody happier: a properly fitted harness.
It’s comfortable for your dog, and makes it easier to lead them! Total win-win.
Being Left Alone For Too Long
Differently from cats, dogs are social creatures who hate being alone.
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety.
Of course, most dog owners have to leave the house and go to work, and most jobs don’t let you take your dog along with you.
So, what to do?
It’s important to spend quality time with your canine friend, bond with them and build trust.
But not only that: dogs need exercise and mental stimulation.
Which leads us to the next point!
Lack Of Routine, Rules and Training Upsets Dogs
This might come as a surprise to many dog parents, but dogs enjoy structure and guidance from their owners.
This gives life more meaning and purpose. Letting your dog do just “anything” or be bored can even make them entertain themselves by destroying your couch.
Dogs that are bored and unstimulated can also become depressed.
Dogs enjoy learning new tricks and being rewarded for them, getting new toys, playing with their owners outside and having playdates with dog friends.
Forcing Them To Do Things They’re Afraid Of
I bet that you wouldn’t feel good at all if someone forced you to do something you’re really afraid of.
Dogs are no different.
It’s important to respect your dog’s fears and triggers by making them feel seen, heard and safe.
If your dog is afraid of going to the vet, for example, slowly and kindly make them change their mind or perspective about the subject.
Just treat them the same way you would like to be treated if you were a dog.
Dressing Dogs up can upset them
I know. Putting clothes or costumes on your dog is funny, and taking pictures of them is too fun!
But dressing dogs up and making them walk around with pieces of clothing on can be really uncomfortable for them.
Make sure you observe how your dog reacts to wearing clothes and act accordingly.
Pranks and Teasing
Nowadays, it’s common to see people making little pranks to mildly upset their dogs.
You have to really know your dog and be sensible in order to avoid harming the trust and the bond you have with your dog.
I personally prefer playing with my pets instead of teasing or annoying them.
We might think it’s just lighthearted fun, but pets don’t always understand the difference.