14 Things Your Dog Hates


14 Things Your Dog HatesWe all know that most dogs hate fireworks, baths, vet visits, and dressing up for Halloween. But here are some other things your dog hates that might not be as obvious to you. Could you be irritating your dog and not even know it? How many of these things do you do?

14 Things Your Dog Hates

1. Hugs
Child Hugging a Dog

Photo by GlitterandFrills / CC BY 2.0

Even though we humans like hugs, most dogs don’t. They may tolerant them if they trust you, but many dogs feel threatened when hugged. They might turn their heads away, lick their lips, struggle to get away or even lash out aggressively. Stick to belly rubs if you want to show affection. It’s especially important to teach young children not to hug dogs.

2. Yelling
Dogs don’t understand why you’re raising your voice and will only feel intimidated by loud vocal reprimands. Instead of yelling, put that energy into training your pup and you’ll both be much happier. Another good reason not to yell at your dog is, they’ll eventually ignore you and if you need to yell at them one day to get their attention in an emergency situation, it won’t be effective. I shouldn’t need to say this, but you should also never hit or be physically abusive to your dog. Sadly, we’ve all seen it happen.

3. Face or Head Touching
Touching a Dog's Face

Photo by Eli Christman / CC BY 2.0

I’m not sure why we humans tend to pet or pat dogs on the head or get right in their faces, but they really don’t like it. Just imagine how you would feel if someone approached you and started touching your face or bonking you on top of your head. Yep, that’s pretty much how dogs feel too. They prefer to be petted on their chests or backs instead.

4. Inconsistency
Dogs like routine and they also like to know what the rules are and what’s expected of them. They’re big on the concept of fairness and can get confused or frustrated when a behavior is allowed one day and chastised the next. If you’re not consistent in how you treat your dog, they may lose trust in you or ignore you completely. Be fair and consistent with the rules and ask all family members to do the same.

5. Boredom
If you put yourself in your dog’s paws, you might realize just how boring their day might be. Are you providing enough exercise, mental stimulation and playtime? A bored dog with excess energy may become a destructive dog as they create their own form of entertainment. Make sure daily walks don’t become boring by ensuring your pooch has time to sniff around and explore interesting scents. Don’t always follow the same route on daily walks; switch things up by walking in different locations or try some hiking trails. Challenge your dog by training new commands or find interesting activities for them.
Bored Dog

Photo by Markus / CC BY-ND 2.0

6. Too Much Talk
We all talk to our dogs, but rambling and baby talk can be irritating to them. Maybe it’s similar to how we feel when listening to someone speaking in a foreign language or when a dog barks endlessly for no apparent reason. Dogs prefer clear hand signals, gestures or reading our body language over trying to decipher our words. I’ve actually seen a few people try to logically reason with their dogs verbally, as if they could possibly understand complex sentences and concepts. Too much talk or repeatedly shouting commands will cause your dog to ignore you.

7. Being Alone
Dogs are social animals, so being alone can be stressful for them. Whether they’re left alone in the home all day or isolated from the family by being kept outside, they’re sure to get lonely. There’s a reason dogs go a little nuts when you ask “Do you want to go for a ride?”. They want to be with us and they love exploring new environments. Take your pup along with you when you can!

8. Intense Eye Contact
Dog With a Hard Stare

Photo by Ty Konzak / CC BY 2.0

We find it intimidating or threatening when someone stares at us too long or gets in our face. Dogs feel the same way. If you use direct eye contact or stare at a dog when greeting them for the first time, it could be perceived as a threat and may provoke an aggressive response. Avert your gaze and turn your body slightly sideways (away from the dog) for a less threatening posture.

9. Being Pressured
If your pup is uncomfortable in any situation, look for ways to reduce the pressure. Don’t force your dog to play with other dogs when they’re resistant and never force a dog to face their fears, which will likely be counterproductive. If a dog doesn’t seem receptive to meet you, give them some space to approach if and when they’re ready.
Pressuring a Dog

Photo by kellinahandbasket / CC BY 2.0

10. Bad Moods
It’s stressful being around someone when they’re upset or angry, right? Our dogs feel the same way. They sense the tension and it generates a certain level of stress within them too. We obviously can’t avoid getting annoyed or agitated once in a while, but if it causes a noticeable negative effect on your dog, it’s time to work on relaxation or de-stressing techniques. You and your dog will both be healthier!

11. Tight Leashes
Tension on the leash creates tension in the dog. Tight leashes can definitely have an adverse effect on our dog’s behavior. It can cause frustration and anxiety, especially if you’re constantly pulling back or sideways in attempt to get your dog under control. I absolutely know how frustrating it is to train your dog to walk on a loose leash (I’m talking about you Haley!) but it’s an important technique to keep working on, since it can prevent your dog from becoming defensive or reactive when on leash. Remember to keep the leash slack when your pup’s meeting another dog so they don’t feel tense or trapped.
Dogs Greeting With Tight Leashes

Photo by State Farm / CC BY 2.0

12. Offensive Aromas
Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than ours, certain aromas can be overwhelming to them. Unfortunately those nasty things they discover in the yard and like to roll around in aren’t offensive to dogs, but strong fragrances, cleaning products and other household sprays do irritate them. Avoid spraying anything directly on your dog, especially around their face.
13. Teasing
Child Teasing a Dog

Photo by Donnie Ray Jones / CC BY 2.0

Light teasing during playtime is fine, as long as it’s not excessive or too frustrating for your pooch. Mean-spirited teasing for human amusement isn’t fine or funny. This is usually more of an issue with kids that might not realize that pulling a dog’s tail, ears, or poking them could provoke a dog to react aggressively.

14. Being Woken Up
We like to wake up gradually and dogs feel the same way. Remember the adage “Let sleeping dogs lie”? Suddenly jolting a dog from their sleep is like being startled by an obnoxious, blaring alarm clock. A common dog bite scenario happens when a young child suddenly touches or grabs a sleeping dog, especially if the dog is a little older. Keep an eye on the little ones and teach older children to respect sleeping dogs and allow them to wake up on their own.

Sometimes it’s not all that obvious to us humans when our pups are annoyed. They may tolerate some of these things, but they might not be happy about it. I’m guilty of giving Haley hugs and sometimes I balance a treat on her nose, even though I know she doesn’t like it. It’s a good thing that most dogs are pretty tolerant of our antics!

Did I miss any of the things your dog hates? Share them in the comments below! 14 Things Your Dog Hates

41 Comments on “14 Things Your Dog Hates”

    • Great reminders! I admit I am a reformed dog hugger – only to my own dogs, but even so. Ruby is OK with hugging, but since reading all the recent articles on dogs and hugging I am now avoiding the hugs.

      • I think it’s probably more of an issue for little kids that might not be able to read a dog very well. I’m glad Ruby enjoys your hugs.?

      • I love your Goldens! Yes, I should have been more clear with that, since a lot of dogs do enjoy being rubbed on the top or back of their heads, and of course the ears, haha!

      • Thanks so much, Barbara! I always appreciate those parents that teach their kids about the proper way to greet and treat a dog. I sure wish there were more of those types of parents.

      • Me too, JoAnn! Luckily, Haley’s learned to enjoy them if I work in a little belly rub or ear scratch while giving a hug, lol.

        • My dog does not like hugs but I do it anyway 😉 I figure it’s the price he pays for all the poop I pick up and all the times I walk him in the rain and cold after working a full day. We have come to an agreement where he pretends he likes to be hugged as long as I sweeten the deal by scratching his butt while hugging him, which he loves.

          • Haha, I love that, Mal! ? I agree, it is a little payback for all those bags of poop we lug around and there’s nothing a dog appreciates more than a butt scratching, lol!

    • Many of these tips are spot on, some I think pertain to dogs you don’t know well (as you mentioned above), and some are dependent upon your own dogs personality. I would NEVER hug a dog I do not know, but my dog LOVES when I hug him (I never hug him tightly though…it’s mostly when he stands up and we “dance” and I hug him). My dog also doesn’t mind when I touch his face or his head…..but that’s because I KNOW him and what HE likes. Dogs have different personalities, just as people do, so I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” rule for every dog. Most dogs LOVE belly rubs, mine HATES them.

      • That’s a great point, thanks Caren! Every dog is unique and some don’t mind hugs or their faces being touched, especially if they trust you. I had to laugh at your dancing hug routine, haha! I thought I was the only one that did something like that.?

    • Lots of these things are true, but being hugged or touched in the face is a real individual thing. We GBGV’s hug on our own without being asked and if you try to get us down, we hug tighter. We also don’t mind having our faces touched, but we don’t like yelling, tight leashes and lots of that other stuff.

      • Aw, that sounds like one awesome kind of hug, Emma!? It’s funny how Haley hates having her face touched around her nose, eyes or mouth, but on the top of her head and ears, she loves it.

      • That’s so true, especially for parents with young kids. Just knowing the canine stress signals would prevent a lot of bites.

      • It’s funny how dogs remind us of people. I once knew a guy that got really defensive if anybody looked at him. He had his own way of barking back at people too, haha! ?

    • Louis Dog Armstrong

      You are right – I hate those things! And thanks fur stopping by my blog. I’mnow following you!
      Your new furend in Vancouver
      Louis Dog Armstrong

    • My dogs hate most of these things too. But my little dog loves hugs, my Husky is OK with them too. My Husky really hates when mealtime is late – it’s like her internal clock goes nuts!
      Love & biscuits,
      Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Great list – although some of these depend on who’s on the giving end… Rita’s not a lover of hugs, but the hubs and I are the only ones that hug her, and she doesn’t like strangers to pet her face, but she LOVES it when the hubs and I rub her face.

      Trying to think of other things she hates… Think your list was pretty comprehensive! (oh, she REALLY hates when a fly gets in the house, but I think that’s her unique oddness!)

    • Hahaha, I love #3, because I do understand this one. You know how people sometimes pat another person’s head? I HATE that! Don’t ever touch my hair…LOL!
      I do think our dogs like to have their chin scratched, and sometimes the sides of their face rubbed.
      I also like #6, because Luke responds so much better to hand signals than voice commands. It is really easy to ruin commands with him by saying them too much.

      • Lol! I agree about the hair, Jan. You’ve done an amazing job training Luke, very impressive! I wish I would have used more hand signals when Haley was a puppy; it would have made training so much easier.

    • My golden retriever Savanna likes hugs as long as I am rubbing her chest and neck at the same time. Every dog is an individual and will enjoy certain things but not others. It is always best to go slow with an unknown or scared dog.

    • I laughed out loud when I saw the picture of touching face! You can tell by that dog’s face how annoying it can be! 🙂 Some of the things in this list seems like Happy actually wrote it for me to read! Like talking too much and intense eye contact. I treat Happy like a human boy sometimes(or most of the times) which must be quite tiring for him. Thank you for your reminders! <3

    • Ah, the yelling/shouting thing. My hubby has OCD and sometimes reacts strongly to Ducky’s barking. Which only makes her bark more – and makes Shadow run for cover – I try to circumvent the whole cycle, but sometimes I’m just not quick enough. And reasoning with hubby is impossible. I’m no saint, for sure, but sometimes I just have to get the pups and myself out of the house for a good, long time.

      • It’s interesting how dogs react to stress and anger, isn’t it? If my husband raises his voice, Haley tries to climb in my lap. She also does that when I get stressed. She would probably prefer getting out of the house and going for a walk too.

    • Lukene chauke or Luke

      You missed something my dog hates loud noises .every time he hears loud noises he puts his tail between his legs and runs away.

    • I have to disagree with dogs hating baby talk. I work with many dogs and most of them like it, especially the little ones. Soft, soothing baby talk has lured many small dogs out of their protective shells for me.
      I strongly agree with dogs hating face touching. Unless you know the dog-DON’T DO IT.

      • Thanks for making that great point, Laura.? I probably should have been more clear with what I meant by “babytalk”. I was thinking more about the high-pitched, redundant type of chatter that dogs tend to ignore after awhile. Haley loves the soft, lower-pitched talk too and she seems to find it soothing, especially if she’s a little unsettled for some reason. I think being calm is probably the key. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Cathy Pennington

      My dog HATES when I chase her around. she runs away and get scared. She also LOVES when she gets treats. (obviously)

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