Dogs are pretty laid back and casual, but you might have a stressed out best friend if you do any of these 13 things most dogs find annoying.
As much as it pains us to say, dogs just aren't fond of being hugged. Of course, you can condition your dog to tolerate your compulsive need to squeeze (because he loves you), but he's fighting his natural response to flee from your boa-constrictor embrace. We know it's tough to resist, but don't do it.
You'll find that some of the things on this list fall under "you don't like it, so why would your dog?" Shouting is one of them. You should also check your sound levels when you're playing with or praising them. Anything can sound aggressive at high volume.
3. Teasing them.
Please tell us that you already know it's not cool to do any of the following to a dog: pulling their tails, ears or other appendages; constantly chasing them; lying in wait to startle them; barking at or otherwise taunting dogs in enclosures; playing merciless games of keep-away with their favorite toys.
4. Leaving them home alone.
Most of us have seen those heartbreaking surveillance videos of lonely dogs moping around hating life while their families are out. We get that sometimes leaving your pup alone just can't be helped, but also remember that you signed yourself up for some hefty responsibilities when you invited a canine into your home. One of those is making sure that you leave them alone only when it's absolutely necessary, and doing all you can to keep them entertained when you're gone.
5. Making them hang out with dogs and people they don't like.
If you know your dog doesn't dig a certain person or pooch, then try to make arrangements so she doesn't have to deal with them. Of course, this becomes impossible if that other person or dog are family members (or soon-to-be family members)--in which case, you'll need to seek advice on how to train your dog to tolerate the company of the "offending" parties.
6. Waking them up for no good reason.
Dogs love them some naps. Maybe not as much as cats or grandpa after a huge lunch, but they do enjoy some midday shuteye, especially if they're getting on in years. So, unless you've got a good reason to do it, let your sleeping dog lie. And, no--getting all "Squeeee!" because you just watched a hedgehog video does NOT give you the right to rouse Barkley from his slumber with an ambush hug attack.
7. Going on walks that are all business and no pleasure.
There will be some dog owners and trainers who will disagree with us on this, but dogs should be allowed to stop and sniff around a bit during walks. This can get tricky if you're adamant about teaching your dog "proper" walking etiquette (i.e. heeling and following your lead), in which case, you may try scheduling two types of walks--an all-business-exercise/potty-break walk, and an explore-and-sniff-to-your-heart's-content walk. Your dog possesses impressive olfactory abilities, so let him use them.
8. Staring into their eyes.
We totally get that you're infatuated with your dog, but this doesn't mean that it's ok stare into her eyes like you did your first love at the 8th grade Sadie Hawkins Dance. Dogs are programmed to interpret intense, prolonged eye contact as a direct challenge. Chances are, the piercing stare you think is communicating your affection is really just freaking your pup out. Stop it and give her a belly rub instead.
9. Playing dress up.
Some of you aren't going to like this, but it's best to keep doggy dress up to a minimum. Of course, there are circumstances that make protective dogwear necessary (depending on weather, breed, activities, etc.), but if you're dressing up Buster as a leprechaun on St. Paddy's day for pure sh*ts and giggles, we suggest that you take the costume off as soon as you've captured the adorable moment for your Instagram followers. Believe us, Buster will thank you.
10. Patting them on the head.
Although people do this to dogs all the time, a pat on the head is one of the worst ways to greet a dog--especially one who's never met you before. And even if it's a dog who loves you to pieces, have you ever noticed her duck when you go in for that head pat? It's because dogs get defensive (sometimes aggressive) when something swoops down toward their head. It's a vulnerable spot, and their instinct is to protect it. Your best bet is to give them a pat on the rump, right in front of the tail.
11. Getting all up in their grill.
For similar reasons, your dog probably hates it if you're constantly putting your mug right in front of hers for extended periods of kissy face and nose rubs. If you must do it, do it swiftly, then get on up out of her grill.
12. Over bathing them.
Dogs hate baths. No duh. But do you know what dogs hate more than baths? Too freakin' MANY baths, that's what. It turns out that many dog owners tend to overwash their dogs, which can deplete their skin and fur of their natural, moisturizing oils. For most dogs, one bath a month will suffice. Dogs with less oily coats could even go a few months without a wash. If your nose can't handle it, we suggest using dog wipes during those between-bath periods. Check out our video on how to make your own!
13. Babying them
Don't handle your pooch as if he was a human baby. This means no cradling him belly up, carrying him around everywhere when he's perfectly capable of trotting alongside you, pushing him around in a baby stroller, hand feeding him every meal, and other indignities.