Did You Know What Dogs Hate?
Leave Them Home Alone
Dogs are pack animals that need a leader to feel secure. When they are left home alone for too long, some dogs start acting out due to anxiety, stress and boredom. Certain breeds can also be more affected by being left alone—especially working breeds, Labradors, Retrievers and Terriers—though any dog can suffer from separation anxiety. You may come home to the aftermath of your dog working out its anxiety on your couch cushions or trash.
Hugs From Strangers
Imagine a total stranger coming up to you and giving you a full body hug. It would probably make you feel threatened, uncomfortable and put you on alert. Dogs don’t express affection in the same way as people. Some dogs tolerate being hugged, but many don’t enjoy it, and it’s certainly not their way of expressing affection. Many feel threatened and fearful, even when hugged by people they know well and love. In the photo above, the little girl is all smiles, but the dog is clearly tense and pulling his head away from her. My senior Lab, Sanchez, accepts hugs, but only if they are short. He shows many signs of discomfort, including backing up and disengaging from the person hugging him.
Bringing Dogs Into Loud Environments
We bring dogs into our human world and we say “adjust.” Some do, many don’t. When dogs can’t orient the source of a sound to determine whether it is safe, they can easily go into sensory overload and develop anxiety behaviors along with health problems. Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While I think it’s great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter, doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be careful of your dog’s sound environment and observe their body language when they are exposed to loud sounds.
Give Big Hugs
A hug is one of the most affectionate things you can do with a friend, so of course man’s best friend loves hugs, right? Not quite. All dogs have different reactions to hugs, ranging from strongly rejecting them to quietly tolerating them. A hug is a foreign concept for animals—you would never see two dogs hug one another on their own. Keep an eye on how your dog reacts to your hug. If it has a relaxed jaw and its ears are forward, it’s tolerating your hug. If its ears are back and it seems to be leaning away from you, maybe limit the amount of hug time you give.
Make Intense Eye Contact
Both wild and domesticated dogs communicate a lot just by using their eyes. It’s polite in the canine world to not make direct eye contact, as that kind of gesture communicates aggressiveness. When you meet a new dog, allow it to sniff you and size you up before going in to pet it. But don’t stare it down. Some dogs have no qualms about meeting new people or dogs, but it’s better to play it safe than to push the dog’s limit and risk being bitten.