From unreasonable expectation to parts that just don’t want to be scratched, let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes dog-lovers make when they’re just want to make their furry friend happy.
The “I don't like this” Top 5
5. You might have unreasonable expectations
A new dog comes with a whole lot of genetic baggage, so of course there will be differences in behaviour between breeds. But if he doesn’t behave as you expect him to (i.e. he grows up into a no-discipline tearaway!) much of the responsibility falls on you. When you’re training a dog, you need to be consistent and disciplined. Regular routines, repeating the same command words for the same commands; these are the things that let your young dog know just where he stands. Everyone gets frustrated when a dog doesn’t do what you ask him. But when you get angry at him for not obeying, it will usually just make him confused and anxious. He understands you’re angry (maybe) but he doesn’t know why.
4. You stroke his head
Seems a bit unfair this one. Head-stroking is part of the deal, right? Well, yes and no. Like all these things that dogs don’t like, it will differ from dog to dog. But yes, some dogs feel uncomfortable when you stroke them on the head, sometimes. The head is a sensitive area. It has his ears which are like super-microphones. It has his nose which is a tender instrument. His eyes which feel vulnerable. And his head has his brain in it. So when you reach your hand towards him suddenly, he may be worried about what you’re going to do. Try to work your way to his head from his neck if you’re making a fuss, instead of leaping right in. And stick to caresses, not pats. Who likes to be patted?
3. You gaze into his eyes
If you gaze into your work colleague’s eyes, things are either going to go very well or very badly. Humans have a shared language of gaze. We gaze at our loved ones. But while you may consider doggo to be a loved one, dogs have a whole different language of looks. He is likely to see a long held look as a threat. And you are likely to misread the subtle changes in his returning gaze.
2. You give him a day off
Your dog has to be really, really, super-tired to not need exercise. And even if he seems reluctant (some dogs are, well, lazy) he will appreciate getting his full allocation of daily exercise in the end. Regardless of the long-term harm that not exercising your dog will do, in the short-term you’ll end up with a frustrated, lonely dog with energy to burn who wonders why you didn’t ask twice when he was slow to get up for walk.
1. You tell him off
Nobody likes being told off. So it’s no surprise your dog would rather you shower him with praise instead. But telling a dog off doesn’t make him ashamed and remorseful: it makes him confused. Despite how well you think you understand his body language, a dog rarely gets just why he is being scolded. It’s better to train your dog with rewards and routines. The more a dog trusts you, the easier you’ll find it to get along with him. He might even confide in you some other stuff he doesn’t like.