5 Things Dogs Hate about their Owners (and 5 Things they Love)
All pet owners want what is best for their pets. However, oftentimes our best intentions have negative consequences. Not respecting a dog’s perspective of the world can be damaging – to both animal and human. Listed here are 5 things your dog hates that you do, followed by 5 things that he or she loves.
5 Things Dogs Hate
Being Allowed to Gain Weight
Obesity is not natural for a dog and can severely limit his or her quality of life. Dogs that are overweight have difficulty exercising and being more likely to experience premature joint pain. Health problems are common for obese pets, including cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney failure, and thyroid conditions. Perhaps the main reason your dog hates being overweight is that it limits the amount of time he or she will be able to spend with you. Studies have shown that obese dogs live, on average, 4 years less than their healthy littermates.
Not be Given Consistent Rules
Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. As pack animals, they want to know what they should (and should not) do to keep the pack members happy and safe. When rules aren’t consistently enforced dogs become confused and restless. For some animals, this inconsistency can signal a need to challenge authority, which creates stress for your pet.
Being Allowed to Free Load
Not only do dogs love having routines, they also love having jobs to perform. Even if your dog’s job doesn’t help pay the rent, it is important to provide your pet a way to fulfill the inherent desire to work. Whether your dog’s job is to pull a wagon to the Farmer’s Market, to provide emotional support at the end of a long day, or to carry a tennis ball during walks, your pet will be happier if he or she senses a purpose.
Being Scolded for Communication
When your dog growls, snarls, or barks, he or she is trying to tell you something. However, dogs are routinely scolded for engaging in these important behaviors. By silencing your dog, you are creating the potential for a bite or attack that occurs without warning. Common times dogs are scolded for growling include:
Warning other dogs to respect boundaries
Warning humans to respect boundaries
Warning children to respect boundaries
When woken from a deep sleep
When forced to meet new dogs or animals
Always recognize that your dog is trying to communicate when growling, and respect that your dog needs space.
Assuming Every Dog is a Friend
Nothing is more adorable than when two dogs meet for the first time and become instant best friends. However, there are rules that should be followed when two dogs meet. Never allow unfamiliar dogs to sniff one another face-to-face when on-leash. These greetings are not natural to dogs and can be very stressful. Instead, dogs should be allowed to walk together side-by-side, taking turns to sniff each other’s rear end.
5 Things Dogs Love
Being Talked To
Even though your dog does not understand every word you say, it loves to be the center of your attention. When you come home from work, spend time talking to your dog. Whether you want to vent about the bad parts or discuss the good things that happened, your dog wants to spend quality time with you.
As pack animals, dogs rarely enjoy spending long stretches of time alone. If possible, include your dog in your outings. Take your dog to a restaurant patio that is dog friendly, or run errands together to places that allow pets.
Learning Tricks and Commands
There are three things dogs are naturally hard-wired to do: please humans, have jobs, and engage their brains. Teaching your pet new tricks and commands is a great way to check all three boxes. Even if your dog has mastered obedience training, teach him or her a new trick. Alternatively, a daily drill session can also be helpful. Not only will training and practice help strengthen your bond, but it will also improve your dog’s behavior.
Being Given a Breed-Appropriate Outlet
All dogs were bred for an original purpose, which include hunting, pulling, herding, protection, and companionship. Dogs thrive when given an outlet for these drives. For instance, take your herding dog to a park where geese frequent and allow him or her (while on a long leash) to herd the geese. If your pet is a pulling breed, such as a Siberian Husky, teach your dog to run alongside you while you bike. Determine your dog’s most basic drives and get creative in making sure it’s needs are met.
Having Personal Space Respected
When petting your dog, opt for petting the chest or back instead of head or face. Remind children that dogs do not like to have their tails or ears pulled, and that most dogs dislike being hugged. If your dog signals that extra space is needed, respect your dog’s wishes. Doing so will only improve your bond and create a happier environment!
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