Shouting at them
The only time you should raise your voice to your dog is if they’re in immediate danger. Otherwise, you should give them instructions or punishments through tone changes, not volume fluctuations. Their little ears are sensitive, with loud shouts potentially damaging their hearing.
Getting in their space
How would you like it if someone came up to you and intruded on your personal space, and you couldn’t use your words to tell them to back off? You’d feel trapped, stressed, and violated. That’s exactly how dogs feel when humans crowd them. Just because they’re animals, it doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions.
A lack of routine
A regular routine gives dogs a sense of security, knowing that they’ll be fed, walked, and watered. A lack of consistency, however, can cause dogs a great deal of anxiety, with their primal instincts kicking in. Try to feed and walk your dog at the same time every day to keep your furry friend happy and content.
Scolding them when they come back after running off
Disciplining your dog when they run away is teaching them poor behaviors. Dogs only remember the most recent event, so they’ll think that they’re being told off for returning to you. Instead, you should actually praise them upon their return, teaching them that coming back to their owner is always a good thing.
Making them eat the same food
Imagine being forced to eat the same food every single day for the rest of your life – even if you don’t like it. That’s what your pet has to endure if you don’t mix up their dinners. If they’re constantly leaving parts of their meals, consider buying different brands to find one your furry pal truly enjoys.
Not letting them sniff
Dogs enjoy sniffing, with the habit benefiting their mental welfare. In fact, research has shown that 20 minutes of sniffing is equivalent to an hour’s walk in terms of mental enrichment for your furry friend. Don’t force your dog to join you for your morning jog, let them sniff at their own leisurely pace.
Unless your dog is a big softie, it’s likely they aren’t a fan of your tight embraces. Dogs like to feel free, so having arms wrapped around them can cause them to feel trapped, kickstarting their fight or flight response. Let your dog come to you for affection without forcing it upon them.
If there’s one thing dogs need, it’s consistency. It’s no use giving your pet food from the table, then scolding them when they start begging for scraps the next day. Implement your rules and stick to them, allowing your pooch to understand right from wrong.
Being left alone
Dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours at a time. They suffer from separation anxiety when they’re away from their owner, severely affecting their emotional welfare. If your work commitments have suddenly changed, resulting in you being out of the house for longer than you used to be, consider hiring a dog sitter.
There’s never, ever a reason to hit your dog. Using aggressive, disciplinarian training techniques on your furry friend are all ineffective – all it teaches them is that aggression is the only way they can defend themselves. The only time you should lay a hand on your furry friend is when you’re giving them affection.
Being dressed up
As great as the Instagram photo may be, you should avoid dressing up your dog. These outfits can cause your pooch to be in pain, with scratchy fabrics irritating their skin. The extra layer of clothing can also cause a great deal of stress to your pet, alongside running the risk of causing them to overheat.
You should try to avoid spraying strong scents around your dog as best as you can. Their noses are extremely sensitive, with strong smells of citrus and vinegar overstimulating their senses. Avoid washing your pet with scented shampoos, too, as these will cause further distress.
It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to fulfill your dog’s needs. If your pooch trots up to you, toy hanging from their mouth, don’t ignore their pleas to play. Pick up on their body language signals – if they want attention, be willing to give it to them.
Forcing them out of their comfort zone
When you’ve had your dog a while, you should know their likes and dislikes. Don’t force them into situations you know they’ll be uncomfortable with – they’ll see it as a betrayal of trust. If they’re a naturally anxious animal, for example, don’t bring them to crowded places.
Dogs hate loud noises. They make them think that danger is near, raising their heart rate significantly. Try to limit your pooch’s exposure to noise – not only will lower volumes result in a happier, more content dog, but it’ll also ensure that their hearing stays in tiptop condition.
When their owner is upset
Negative emotions are a natural part of the human experience. However, dogs hate it when they see their owners down in the dumps, particularly if you break down into floods of tears in front of them. Sweetly, your fur baby will do everything they can to cheer you up, including snuggling up to next to you and giving you lots of kisses.
Staring them in the eye
Staring at your dog can cause them to bark, nip, lunge, or even bite. This is because your pet will see it as a threat, wondering you’re going to steal their toys or food. Act calm and casual around your furry friend, making them feel at ease as often as possible.
Having strangers approach them
Don’t let any random person approach your dog, especially if your pooch is naturally nervous. Your dog may see the approach as a potential attack, resulting in aggressive responses. Tell the stranger to keep their distance, or advise them to get down to your dog’s level to appear less intimidating.
Being patted on the head
Most pups aren’t fond of having their head patted, particularly if you’ve only just got your new pooch. Having a strange human towering over them is intimidating enough, let alone having this stranger place their hand in a way that obscures their vision. Always approach your dog with an open, flat palm, allowing them to come to you.
When their owner is in pain
Dogs can tell when their favorite human is suffering. Whether you have an open wound or a hidden injury, they know when you’re in pain. They’ll do everything in their power to try and ease your anguish, whether it’s by licking the wound clean or by snuggling up next to you.
Giving them unhealthy foods
Your dog may disagree – particularly when they’re staring at you with their big brown eyes. However, you want to avoid giving your dog unhealthy, human foods. They store fat much faster than humans, resulting in aching joints and reduced mobility. Furthermore, many human foods are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, grapes, and onions.
Although your dog may see you as part of their pack, you should never roughly handle them – even when you’re playing. Instead, you should encourage your dog to stop nipping your arms and play with their toys. Failing to do so may result in them playing rough with any future visitors.
Not walking them
There’s nothing a dog loves more than a good walk. Not only are walks good for your pooch’s physical well-being, but they’re also a great source of mental stimulation. Frequently walking your dog also allows them to go to the bathroom outside of their own garden, letting them mark their territory elsewhere.
Letting children play with them
Both animals and children can be unpredictable. Therefore, you should also keep a close eye on both parties whenever they interact. Neither kids nor dogs are able to understand boundaries. If these lines are crossed, it can result in your pooch showing signs of aggression.
Poor training techniques
The way you train your dog can influence your pet for the rest of its life. If you start off with poor training, your dog will exhibit poor behavior later down the road. If you’re struggling to get your dog under control, consider going to dog training classes for additional support.
Not playing with them
Dogs don’t just need to be fed, watered, and walked – they also need a hefty dose of playtime! Playing with your pooch allows them to burn off any excess energy, alongside keeping their brain ticking over. Play fetch with your furry friend and watch their face light up with joy.
You see it all too often – dog owners teasing their pets to rack up social media views. You should never tease your dog – although it may be funny for you, it causes your furry friend a great deal of stress. Treat your dog with respect, honoring their needs to the best of your ability.
Forcing them to play with other dogs
No matter how much you want to set up that doggy play date, sometimes it’s just not meant to be. If your dog isn’t vibing with your pal’s furry friend, don’t force them to play together. Doing so can result in your pet becoming stressed and, in some cases, aggressive.
Arguing in front of them
Animals are smarter than you think. When you argue with your spouse, your dog picks up on it. Noisy, emotion-fueled rows can cause your furry friend a great deal of distress, causing them to act out in strange ways. Never display anger to your dog’s response – they only want a calm, stable environment.
Touching their paws
Dog’s paws are incredibly sensitive. Their toe beans give them heaps of information, giving them environmental cues and allowing them to reduce their body temperature. It’s only natural, then, that your pooch will pull away if you touch their delicate little paw pads. Stick to belly rubs, instead.
Using hand gestures
If you’re an animated speaker, you may want to try and calm it down when you’re around your pet. Dogs are aware of their entire surroundings, placing a particular focus on what their humans are doing. They may mistake dramatic hand movements for behavioral cues, leaving your pooch feeling bewildered.
Blowing in their face
You may think it’s cute when you blow air at your dog’s face, seeing them coyly protect their ears with their paw. For them, however, it’s a highly uncomfortable experience. If you continuously indulge in this unsavory behavior, it could give your dog an anxiety complex, severely hindering their quality of life.
Not mentally stimulating them
As much as dogs enjoy their sleep, they also need plenty of mental stimulation. If they come trotting up to you, talk to them! If they seem like they’ve got energy to burn, grab a toy and start playing with them. You should never force your dog into playing with you, but you should always be there to stimulate their brains when they’re willing.
If you corner your dog, be prepared for them to display signs of aggression. No animal likes feeling trapped, particularly in their own home. If they’ve taken something they shouldn’t have, crouch down to their level, gently encouraging them to trot over to you.
While you may think that dogs enjoy being chased, it can actually cause them a great deal of stress. Having someone hot on their tail can cause many pooches a great deal of primal anxiety. If your dog has slipped the lead, chasing them can make your pet think that it’s all one big game, causing poor recall tendencies in the future.
Yanking their leash
No matter how much your dog sniffs, you should never pull on their leash. Doing so can cause them a great deal of pain, potentially leading to medical issues. Furthermore, the sudden pulling can shatter the bond between the two of you, with your dog never quite trusting you again.
Touching their nose
The most sensitive part of a dog’s body is their big black nose. Therefore, you should avoid touching it at all costs – only doing so for medical reasons. Not only can it cause them discomfort, but they may begin to associate fear with your hands, forever ruining your relationship.
Barking at them
You may think that speaking to dogs in their own language will help them to understand you. In fact, the opposite is true – speaking to your dogs in barks, growls, and murmurs will only confuse them. Stick to hand gestures and tone changes to allow your dog to effectively understand you.
Wrong sized collars
When decking your pooch out in their walking gear, ensure that you choose the appropriate collar. Choosing one that’s too tight will cause them to choke, damaging their airways. Too loose, and you run the risk of your dog escaping its leash, putting them in harm’s way.
Picking them up
Some dogs love being scooped up in their owner’s arms, while others hate it. If you’re unsure, it’s best to leave your furry friend firmly on the ground. Picking them up removes all control of their actions, meaning that they’re unable to escape if they suddenly experience any danger.