7 Habits Dogs Hate: Dressing Up Takes a Top Spot

Buzgó Csilla

2023. December 24 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

While people may find the activities listed here charming, amusing, or expressive, dogs often have had enough of these nonsense.


Dogs primarily express their feelings and intentions through metacommunication. Perhaps you’re not even aware, but some of your actions may not elicit the loving emotions you think in your pet. Here are some common habits – without claiming to be exhaustive – that dogs hate.

Unnecessary dressing

Unless you’re putting a warm coat on your dog because of bone-chilling cold, costumes, various unicorn or heart-themed glittery headpieces, and angel wings drive dogs crazy. You can almost see the suffering on their faces, as if they’re saying, ‘Someone save me from this!’

Of course, your pet might be the rare exception, but most would rather skip the costume party in their lives.

Too tight an embrace

While your dog may genuinely enjoy this form of expressing emotions, a stranger or an unfamiliar dog may take offense if you suddenly start squeezing them.

Experts suggest leaning into each other, relaxing together in an intimate and comfortable posture. This is much closer to dogs’ instinctive ways of expressing love.

Obstruction of sniffing

‘Why go for a walk if I can’t gather all the available information from my surroundings?’ – some dogs might protest. Many owners think a walk is just about letting their pet do their business, get a bit of exercise, and then it’s time to go home.

Mental stimulation is as crucial for a dog as physical exercise. If they don’t get it daily, they can become bored, moody, and even potentially depressed in the long run.

Inconsistent education

Like small children, dogs also need rules. Of course, we’re not talking about a Spartan upbringing accompanied by shouting, but rather a stable daily routine and incorporating the dog’s tasks. For instance, you can keep your pet’s mind fit by giving them a task to solve before each meal, such as sitting or lying down, circling around you— the key is for them to feel they have to work for their food!

Once you’ve established a rule, stick to it consistently; don’t be lenient! It’s important to instruct other family members in the same way; otherwise, dog training can descend into chaos.

Excessive use of perfume

Imagine the olfactory shock for a dog, whose nose is light-years more sensitive than a human’s, when constantly surrounded by heavily perfumed individuals. True, there are scents that we find pleasant and dogs also enjoy, such as vanilla or lavender, in the right concentration.

However, research has shown that the reward center in a dog’s brain is most activated by the owner’s own body odor. So, it’s entirely unnecessary to douse yourself in fragrance at home if you’re just enjoying the company of your dog. They love you just the way you are.

Neglect of body language

Surprisingly, it’s claimed that 65% of human communication, or according to some sources, even 93%, is made up of metacommunication. Communication beyond verbal expression. Socially, however, we’ve arranged ourselves in a way that sometimes we get lost in the labyrinth of words, and the truly essential information can get lost during conversations.

Dogs, on the other hand, cannot be deceived. They masterfully read the nuances of body language, and they prefer it when their owners use it to communicate with them.

Forcing friendship with other dogs

Perhaps you also have childhood memories like this: your parents or grandparents tried to set you up with another kid because they thought you would be a perfect match. Maybe they were friends with the other kid’s parents, so they insisted you play together. But often it was terribly boring and uncomfortable for you.

Your dog might feel the same way if you deliberately try to make friends with another dog. Of course, over time, two animals can get used to each other. But it requires patience, conscious attention, and hard work. They won’t become best buddies in five minutes for sure.

bad habits behaviour body language dog and owner

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