Owing to their loyalty and laid-back nature, dogs often tolerate human behaviour—even if they don't particularly appreciate or enjoy it.
Since our canine counterparts are now being treated as a part of the family, we’ve begun to increasingly anthropomorphise them; attributing human characteristics or behaviours to an animal or an object. From having them gobble up their breakfast at the dining table to taking cross-country vacations, were you aware that treating your mutts like man can be annoying, and even harmful, in some cases?
If you just can't keep your hands off of your pet, there are other ways to express your love and concern, without causing them any trouble. Dog Trainer and Behaviourist, Tanya Patel tells you *exactly* what you fur-babies dislike, and suggests an alternate route to communicate your feelings and emotions towards them.
(Don't) Pick Me Up!
As teacup dog breeds are witnessing a spike in popularity, owners tend to pick their dogs up, more often than required. While Fido is super cute and cuddly, picking him up all the time is certainly going to annoy him, since his inherent nature demands him to explore on his own four feet. Instead, consider treating your miniature dogs just like big dogs that can’t be picked up repeatedly. Sit beside them to interact, and they’ll appreciate you even more! You may also choose to demonstrate your affection by engaging in fun activities and games or by using toys, instead of constant touch.
(Don't) Dress Me Up!
Yup, human-dog twin sets—raincoats, jackets, t-shirts—are a real thing. Most of us pet owners believe it to be incredibly adorable when our pooch matches with us, especially when dolled up for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and festivals. However, while some dogs may not protest against this 'humanizing' act, the materials used to create these garments may annoy some dogs. Avoid picking materials that can cause itching or irritation, such as sequins and glitter, that may even fall off and get consumed up by your pet. Plus, if it's a struggle to get your dog in and out of formal wear, he/she is best left alone. You could compensate by having them wear a statement bow-tie or a bandana instead.
(Don't) Hug and Kiss Me!
Homo sapiens often express their adoration by embracing one another, however, in the animal world, the only time they come into such close, full-frontal contact is when they’re fighting. If your dog tries to pull away or growls at you when you hold them, stop doing it immediately. Similar to hugging, kissing doesn’t thrill most dogs either. While your dog may tolerate it—very few will actually enjoy it. If you must kiss your pet, don’t do it suddenly or harshly, and keep it short and not too slobbery!
(Don't) Click Me!
There's no denying that dogs make for fabulous photo-partners, and are *majorly* photogenic. However, by constantly pointing a camera in their face, we may end up causing them unnecessary anxiety and nervousness. Many dogs respond negatively to a flash light as well. So, if you see your pooch turn away from the camera, don’t assume that he’s just ‘camera shy’, and considering halting the photo session.
(Don't) Pull and Tug At Me!
'Loose leash walking' is a skill that all dog owners must regularly practice and adopt. While you may think you’re controlling and training your dog by constantly pulling on their leash, you don’t realise that the continual pressure actually makes them resist further. Plus, tugging or pulling can cause unnecessary strain on your dog’s throat, and can add to already existing stress factors with respect to walking outside. Teach your dog how to walk on a relaxed leash, using positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and/or treats.
(Don't) Groom Me All The Time!
In an effort to keep your dog squeaky clean, you might end up over-grooming them. Especially if you have a long-haired pet, grooming must be done correctly, without pulling on your pooches hair so that it’s not painful or uncomfortable. Seek out the help of a professional to learn the correct grooming techniques and tools to be used. Stick to brushing their coats once a day and bathing no more than once a week.
(Don't) Blow On My Face!
Some pet owners enjoy blowing air onto their dogs faces, simply because they think it’s fun (for them as well as the dog). However, observe carefully and try not to tease your dog with such actions, especially if they seem to dislike it. Alternatively, stroke his head or scratch him behind the ears.
(Don't) Make Me Growl and Snarl!
Ever stumbled upon those viral social media videos of people making their dog growl, snarl, or bark? In real terms, a growl is a warning sign, and if you keep making your pet growl, it may certainly lead to a bite, or other uncalled-for aggressive behaviour. Not so cute anymore, if you come to think of it.
"While many dogs don't appreciate the above mentioned human acts, this isn’t to say that some dogs don’t like hugging or kissing. To know what your dog dislikes, watch out for signs of distress—such as lip licking, averting eye-contact, or turning away from you—which is a clear indicator that the activity isn’t being enjoyed by your pet," explains Tanya Patel. Hence, learn to mutually respect each others personal space and find some common ground to indulge in things that are fun for the both of you.