8 mistakes many dog owners make that make their dogs unhappy

8 mistakes many dog owners make that make their dogs unhappy

Pet Psychology

Dogs can be high maintenance in terms of their need for care, companionship and exercise, but they also tend to be fairly easy going, loyal and adaptable companions that can handle new things and stepping outside of their comfort zones when encouraged and reassured by their owners.

However, even the most conscientious of dog owners that think hard about enriching their dog’s lives and keeping their dogs happy can make the odd mistake or error in judgement now and then, as of course dogs and people think differently, and what seems perfectly acceptable to the owner might inadvertently upset or bother their dogs.

In this article, we will look at eight common mistakes that many dog owners make, which can make your dog unhappy, or that are interpreted in dog-speak as something not so good! Read on to learn more.

Forcing interaction with visitors

If you have visitors over to your home they may well be keen to meet your dog, and you will likely want to show your dog off to them as well! For very outgoing, friendly dogs that love meeting new people like the Golden retriever this will probably be very exciting, but if your dog is shy, nervous, or just likes to take their time saying hello, this might stress your dog out, and make them feel insecure because they are being forced into interaction with a stranger, in their own home.

Tugging on the lead

A dog that constantly pulls on the lead can turn walkies into an ongoing battle with your dog attempting to pull you along, and you trying to pull them back! This naturally leads to exasperation and eventually, usually a sharp tug on the lead to get your dog to stop doing this and walk nicely. But giving a sharp, sudden tug on the lead can be a shock for your dog, and if your dog is very small or you are particularly strong, can actually hurt their neck.

Consider using a harness instead of a collar and lead to even out the pressure, and work on training your dog to walk nicely without the pulling!

Waking your dog up

Dogs don’t like to be left out of anything, and will generally wake up quickly if they think that a walk, a treat or some fuss might be on the cards-but unless you have a good reason for needing to wake your dog up before they are ready, you should try not to disturb them when they are getting forty winks!

Having strange dogs over regularly

Any time that you allow another dog into your own dog’s home, you should manage their interactions carefully, both in order to keep the dogs safe and so that your dog does not feel as if they have been invaded!

This means that you should try to introduce a new dog to your own dog outside of the home for the first time, and not allow new dogs to just barge into your home and start sniffing around without your dog giving them the ok

Being inconsistent

Dogs thrive with a set routine and knowing what to expect in their days, and inconsistency in the routine or anything else can leave your dog feeling unsettled. At a bare minimum, your dog’s meal times, toileting schedule and walkies should fall at the same time each day, and it is also important to ensure that your training and management of your dog too is consistent and reliable.

Greeting your dog inappropriately

When you get home from work to greet your dog, they will probably be really excited to see you and want you to make a big fuss of them. But smiling at your dog can come across as baring your teeth, and putting your hand in their face, trying to hug them or otherwise invading their space might upset your dog and feel like a dominance challenge, rather than a greeting.

Staring into your dog’s eyes

Staring lovingly into your dog’s soulful brown eyes might feel like a bonding experience for you, but for dogs, direct eye contact is considered challenging and rather rude, particularly if your face is up close to your dog when you do it!

Don’t stare directly into your dog’s eyes on force eye contact with them-polite dog behaviour means not staring directly at another dog or person!

Replacing walks with the garden in wet weather

When the weather is really grim with lots of rain and wind, the chances are that going out for a proper walk with your dog is pretty far down your list of desirable activities. You may assume that your dog feels the same way, and so, replace their normal walk with a quick trip out to the garden for them to do their business instead, so that both of you can stay inside in the warm and dry!

However, very few dogs really dislike walking in bad weather, assuming that they are kept warm enough when out with a coat if necessary, and they are likely to see a trip around the garden instead as a bit of a swizz! Invest in some good quality wet weather gear for you and your dog, and get out there whatever the weather!

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