Did you know there are things we do which can really annoy our dogs? What appears to be pleasant or fun for us can be irritating to our furry friend. Here are some things that humans do which can be confusing or even frustrating to dogs:
Dogs may spend a lot of time staring at us, but many dogs don't like it when you stare back unless they've associated the behavior with happy things like treats or affection. Staring is a threat in your dog's language, so don't stare at any dog, especially dogs you don't know.
As humans, we talk to our dogs, perhaps a little too much. We often forget that dogs don't speak like we do and don't process the verbal communication the same way we do. They can only learn a limited number of words, which means our long lectures mean nothing to them. Try to remember that you should be using words your dog understands and don't confuse them. "Get down" and "Lay down" mean the different things to us, but confuses your dog about what "down" actually means. . Most of all, use hand signals, since dogs communicate through body language!
We hug as a sign of affection, but to your dog, it is an invasion of their personal space and a form of restraint which is a threat to your dog. Some dogs will tolerate hugs from their owners, but it's better to find other ways to show affection. This is especially true for children!
Lack of Routine Dogs enjoy the predictability of routine. You'll probably notice that your dog picks up on signals you didn't even realize, like putting on your shoes = leaving. If your dog knows what to expect next, it helps them relax and lowers stress levels. If you don't give your dog a set routine, it can cause anxiety and problem behaviors. Create a schedule and be consistent!
Petting the Top of Their Head
Outstretched hands reaching over your head would be a horror for a human, so why do we expect dogs to be okay with it? Nobody likes the idea of something looming overhead! If you learn to read dog body language, you'll notice that your dog is giving you tons of signals to say that petting their head is stressful and intimidating. Better spots to pick are under the chin, the chest or their side.
Humans often view walking their dog as a source of exercise and potty breaks but that's not how our dogs view them. Walking should be a chance for your dog to sniff! Sniffing is excellent mental stimulation for your dog which helps keep them relaxed and stress free. Don't force your dog to walk right next to you, let them take their time to smell and explore.
Dogs were bred to do specific jobs like herding, protection or catching critters. These jobs mean that your dog can get very bored if they have a couch potato human. When dogs are bored, they are likely to get stressed or even become destructive. Physical exercise and mental stimulation help your dog use their brain and feel like they've done a good job. For more information, check out our videos on youtube.
Yelling is the same as barking to your dog. They don't know what you're saying, they have no idea what is going on, but they know you are angry about something. Rather than stopping bad behavior, yelling can agitate, unsettle and confuse your dog which are emotions that create further behavioral issues.
Do you do any of the things on our list? Now that you see these behaviors from your dog's perspective, perhaps you can help your dog be less annoyed at you! Luckily, dogs are quick to forgive us!