12 common owner habits that make the dog terribly anxious: it’s no use loving it if it doesn’t get what’s good for it
Szénási Szimonetta, 2023. September 9 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary
It is quite certain that as a loving owner you always want the best for your dog. Nevertheless, there are a few things that can even annoy your pet.
We have collected 12 habits that may seem innocent, but can sadden the dog. Let’s see what not to do if you want to be a really good owner.
1.) Don’t stare!
If you see that your pet is afraid or upset about something, it is not a good idea to look into their eyes for a long time. Basically, dogs don’t like to be stared at, because they see it as a challenge. In the case of a strange dog, it is not advisable anyway, and it is strictly forbidden to look into the eyes of a tense or aggressive-looking animal for a long time.
Otherwise, deep eye contact is even good: it deepens the dog-owner relationship, and even triggers the production of the hormone oxytocin, which encourages care and deepens the bond.
2.) Cuddling can sadden the dog too
Hugging is one form of human love language. Many people express their feelings in this way. However, you don’t necessarily need to hold your beloved pet for a long time, because it might bother it a lot. If your dog likes to be hugged, then there is no problem, but if you see that it is annoyed by too close physical contact, then avoid it and instead pamper it with caresses. Dogs are even less likely to accept this kind of approach from strangers, so be alert when introducing a new person.
3.) Turn down the volume!
Yelling is interpreted by dogs as loud barking, which makes them restless. Do not raise your voice with or near your pet, even for training purposes, instead switch to a low tone. This tells it that you want it to pay attention to you.
4.) Don’t make fun of your dog!
Pulling your dog’s ears and tail as a joke, or even barking at a dog through the fence, is no fun at all! In the same way, it is not appropriate to wrestle or chase them. It’s not funny at all if you take its food away from its nose or fool it with a laser toy. The dog does not take teasing as a fun game, so neither you nor anyone else should try to do these.
5.) Alone is not good
Dogs are social creatures, which is why they don’t like to be alone for too long. If this happens often, it can have a number of negative psychological and behavioral effects, such as separation anxiety, too much barking or an increased tendency to run away. As a result, a good part of the work invested in raising the dog can be wasted.
Make sure that your pet does not have to be left alone too often and for too long. And if duty calls for you to be away from your dog for a longer period of time, ask someone to look after it from time to time.
6.) Too many dogs
If you want to take your pet to a dog run or a park where many dogs visit, always be careful and watch for the animal’s signs. If you think that there are too many stimuli for it and it does not take the proximity of other dogs well, you should go somewhere else.
7.) Sleep is sacred to them too!
Like most people, most dogs are very sensitive to being disturbed during their sleep. Elderly and hearing-impaired dogs in particular tend to sleep so deeply that they cannot hear someone approaching. If you wake them up suddenly, you will really scare the animal.
If you do have to wake your dog, do it gently and quietly – and teach everyone in the family to do so!
8.) Not necessarily friends
It is a mistake to think that all dogs get along. There can be antipathy between them as well as between people. For this reason, always introduce a new animal to your dog with due care. Pay attention to this while walking, but also if someone approaches you with their pet.
9.) Too sudden a change
Especially children, but often even adults, do not take it well when there is a sudden change in their well-accustomed daily routine. Just think about someone taking away your 10 minutes for morning coffee, or having to give up your afternoon nap overnight. Guaranteed bad mood and stress at the end.
It’s the same with dogs: if a well-accustomed, especially beloved, activity suddenly stops or changes, you can frustrate the animal. In their case, moreover, their entire rhythm of life is determined by the daily routine, so it is only allowed to touch it with great caution! An overturned schedule is a breeding ground for many behavioral disorders, so it’s not worth postponing the morning walk or giving your pet dinner too late, even during vacation!
If change is unavoidable, always introduce it step by step. For example, postpone the start by only 10 minutes every couple of days day.
10.) The leash is too short
Nobody likes it when the dog is disobedient, runs away or falls behind during a walk. Because of this, the dog is often kept on a shorter leash. However, a constantly tightening harness or collar makes the dog nervous and tense.
To prevent this from happening, it is worth teaching it to walk on a loose leash as soon as possible. A dog trainer can help you with this, and you can train your dog during daily walks with enough patience, motivation and snacks.
Just like the daily routine, the owner’s consistent reactions also contribute to the dog’s balance. On the other hand, if you forbid something once and reward it once, you will confuse the animal. For example, if it can usually go up on the sofa, and you are even happy for it if it rests its head on your shoulder while watching TV, but when your mother visits it is scolded if it peeks up, you will completely confuse the poor thing.
12) Overly aggressive greeting
Most people have no idea how to properly introduce themselves to an unfamiliar dog. For this reason, many people unintentionally greet the dog aggressively. If you crouch in front of it, look deep into its eyes, and even extend your hand to it, you will put it in an uncomfortable situation. All three gestures are threatening, attacking behavior for it: crouching is the pose before a predatory attack, deep eye contact is also threatening, as is a hand reaching into their personal sphere. In many cases, this is also accompanied by babbling, which can also be disturbing for the dog.
Instead, greet the owner of the animal. While you greet each other, the dog has time to sniff while seeing that its owner is trusting you. If after this the dog seems calm, you can stroke its head.