Humans have many bad habits that make dogs dislike us. So what do dogs hate that we do to them unknowingly? It’s often the things we least expect.
1. Not Listening To Your Dog
Our dogs try to communicate with us in subtle ways that we usually don’t pick up. Dogs are peaceful by nature and they communicate with body language known as Calming Signals. Dogs are pack animals and living in peace is essential to their survival. These are also coping mechanisms that dogs use. This is how they communicate with other dogs and use the same language to communicate with humans. Ignoring these signals can be frustrating for dogs and sometimes it makes them aggressive. It is said that there are around 30 Calming Signals. Let me illustrate a few of the most common:
- Licking its nose – This happens when a human or dog approaches too fast or when someone cowers over them. Nose licking is a way for them to calm themselves. From a dog’s perspective, everything is huge so cowering or bending over a dog is threatening to them.
- Yawning – This has to be taken in context. When a dog just woke up and it yawns, it’s probably still a little sleepy. But when a dog yawns when you’re about to go for a walk or about to do something exciting like riding a car, it is a way of calming itself down. One of the things to watch out for is excessive yawning which indicates your dog is under stress.
- Shaking its body – as it does after taking a bath. When you see a dog do this, think of what happened prior to it. Did you give your dog a hug? Dogs don’t like it. A dog that shakes after a hug is trying to say “Stop hugging me. I don’t feel comfortable when you do it”. Shaking is a dog’s way of removing stress. It could also mean your dog has an ear infection. Check your dog’s ears and call your vet if it’s red or inflamed.
- Looking/turning away – Dogs use this calming signal the most. They look away to avoid confrontation. They look away from anything they perceive to be threatening like a dog or someone walking directly towards them or staring at them. Approach your dog calmly and avoid staring into their eyes too long.
- Bowing – when you see your dog do this in front of another dog or dogs, it is their way of showing that they are not a threat, thus showing a calming signal. It is also an invitation to play.
- Smiling – This is a common calming signal to appease everyone around them.
- Walking in a curve – Dogs don’t like walking towards another dog in a straight path. They would rather walk around in a curve to be polite. This is what they instinctively do off-leash. Similarly, do not approach a dog directly. Try to walk around to give it space.
2. Rushing Walks
Dogs don’t like being rushed on walks. Stopping every so often to sniff is necessary for them to learn about the world around them. It is good for their mental well-being.
A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than ours. Go easy on perfumes, scented candles, air fresheners or avoid them altogether. Do not smoke around your dog.
5. Pulling Hard On The Leash
Be gentle and mindful when pulling the leash. Yanking it violently is painful and can damage nerves and bones in the neck. The pain can travel down the legs.
Neither dogs nor humans like to be yelled at. Yelling is counter-productive and only results in an anxious dog. Instead of yelling, lower your tone of voice. Never yell your dog’s name when he does something bad. Doing so will let your dog associate his name negatively
7. Petting On The Head
Dogs don’t like this and consider it rude. Dogs don’t do this to each other. Dogs would rather be petted on the shoulder, chest, and base of the neck. Try to go through the side rather than over the head to not appear threatening.
Dogs don’t like hugs. They don’t do it to each other either. In fact, they find it threatening. It is also the #1 cause of facial bites in children. They may tolerate it but not necessarily like it. Try to imagine a giant bending over and wrapping its arms around you and squeezing you.
10. Being Disturbed While Sleeping
Even the nicest and friendliest dog would growl and even bite when constantly getting disturbed during sleep. Let sleeping dogs lie.
I hope you found this article useful. Please share it with dog parents who may need it!
All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice. *This site may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!