Humans are highly communicative creatures. While nearly every species on Earth relies on communication in some form or another, it’s our intricate social dynamics that set us apart. It’s no surprise then that we instinctively want to share the same intimacy we have with our closest friends and family with our pets, but it turns out some of the ways we express interest and affection mean something else entirely and could actually be annoying to our dogs.
Here are eleven common things that pet owners do that they may interpret as friendly and affectionate, but their dogs can’t stand.
We can convey entire messages and emotions with just one lingering stare, but that message doesn’t mean what we think it does to a dog. Canines are pack creatures, and even domesticated dogs still function on that mentality. Staring is used to challenge and intimidate other members of a pack, and if staring at your dog in the eyes elicits barks and soft growls, those don’t mean “Talk to me!” as much as “You want a piece of me?”
A hug is a very human action. They don’t exist in the dog world, and when you hold your pet close, he or she will take it the same they would another dog placing their foreleg or paw on the back of another dog: a display of dominance.
9. Talking with Words
Dogs don’t speak English or any other human tongue, so even though your pet may know some commands and their name, they don’t know what you’re talking about when you’re angry and lecturing them on chewing up the trash. Learn about body language and how to effectively communicate with your pooch for a less one-sided convo.
8. Petting the Face or Head
You probably don’t like it when someone suddenly grabs your face or pats you on the head. Dogs are very similar, and even though some may enjoy ear scratches and caresses, many will lean away from being touched over their head and on the snout.
7. Giving Them Free Reign
You may think some owners give their dogs too much structure and rules. They’re just animals, not kids, right? Actually, packs function through a hierarchy and thrive on rules. Discipline, clear boundaries and structure can bring a dog security. Otherwise, your pup will probably go through life thinking he’s in charge and respond with confusion or even aggression when he’s corrected.