Latest News

Lines are open
Mon/Fri: 8.30am - 6pm

0800 038 0830

Things Humans Do That All Dogs Hate

Friday August 19th 2016

Playing Dress Up

Some dogs may tolerate being squeezed into a pumpkin costume for Halloween or getting dressed up as Santa for Christmas, but it’s unlikely that they’re actually enjoying it. Some dogs find this experience scary as it’s new and will often affect their ability to move in their usual way, this can cause your dog a lot of stress and anxiety. If you notice any discomfort or distress in your dog whilst trying to dress them, give up on the outfit and leave them be, your dog just isn’t the dressing up type.

Too Much Eye Contact

It’s very common for dogs to communicate through the use of their eyes, and to a dog, staring is often translated as a challenge. Whilst it will most likely be fine when dealing with your own dog, staring could easily be misinterpreted by strange dogs as a gesture of aggressiveness, and it’s therefore best not to make direct eye contact before you’ve had the opportunity to get to know the personality of the dog you’re meeting.


As much as we may consider a hug to be a sign of affection, our dogs aren’t always in agreement. All dogs will have different reactions to hugs, but some will strongly reject the action. When you give it some thought, a hug to a dog is a completely foreign concept, so it’s important to gauge their reaction carefully if you do try to hug them. Some dogs may be completely tolerant of your hugs, but if you notice your dog slightly leaning away from you or tensing, the chances are they aren’t the hugging type. If this is the case, you should respect your dog’s boundaries and avoid trying to hug them too often.


It should be obvious but some people can still think it amusing to tease their dog, children especially. However, the chances are that your dog doesn’t see the funny side, and persistent teasing can sometimes result in side effects such as making your dog shy, insecure and even aggressive. Try to keep an eye on small children around your dog to avoid any teasing behaviour, and always be conscious that you aren’t partaking in any yourself.

Leaving Them on Their Own

Some dogs will react better than others to being left alone, but in general dogs are pack animals which means they are used to having a leader and don’t like to be left on their own for significant amounts of time. When dogs are frequently left on their own, they’re likely to become bored and stressed, which can cause severe anxiety problems and in some cases depression.

Patting Them on the Head

Although we may think that this is simply a sign of affection, our dogs don’t enjoy a pat on the head as much as you may think. Most will tolerate it, especially if it’s coming from their owner who they love and trust, but it is rarely an appreciated gesture. It’s often best to avoid this altogether and instead stick to petting on the lower back, or anywhere that’s away from their face.

Not Giving the Opportunity to Explore on Walks

To dogs, their sense of smell is about as important as our sense of sight. Therefore, when they go on a walk they like to be able to take in as many different smells as they can in order to enjoy themselves. We’re not suggesting that you stop at every single tree, as you’d most likely be walking for hours, but make sure you’re giving them enough time to take in their surroundings and they’ll enjoy their walk far more.

Forcing Play Time with Other Dogs

In the same way that you wouldn’t want to be forced into spending time with someone you don’t like, dogs also show preferences for who they do and don’t like. It should usually be quite obvious from the beginning if your dog doesn’t get along with another dog, their behaviour will be more aggressive than usual and they may appear upset. If you notice that your dog doesn’t particularly like another dog, don’t assume that forcing them to spend time together will lead to them getting along, it will more likely lead to fighting. The best thing you can do is pay attention to your dog’s body language and if they don’t want to be around certain people or dogs, don’t force it.

Not Being Fun Enough

One of the most annoying things we can do to our dogs is to be boring. Most dogs will always be extremely playful by nature, and it’s our job to tend to this. If you notice your dog has been acting up lately and causing more trouble than usual, it’s probably just a case of boredom. Have a think back and consider how much fun you’ve been for them lately, maybe you’ve had a particularly stressful time at work or perhaps you’ve been busy with another project? Just remember that they’ve been sat at home all day waiting for you to come home so they can have someone to play with, and try to make that extra effort.

Keeping them on a tight leash

Although it may be hard to teach your dog not to pull when they’re attached to their lead, it’s such an important skill for them to learn. Keeping your dog on a tight leash raises their stress levels and can also cause frustration and over-excitement. On the other end of the scale, if you’re able to keep your dog’s leash slack, it’s signalling to them that you’re calm and everything is under control, which then calms them too.

Using Words over Body Language

As man’s best friend, it can sometimes be easy to forget that our dogs can’t actually understand the large majority of what we’re saying. One of the most frustrating things we do to our dogs is communicating through speech rather than using body language. When you do need to speak to your dog, do your best to keep it simple using words and commands which they know, combined with body language. This way you’ll have a far better chance at getting your message through to them.

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.