Eight Things You Do That Your Dog Secretly Hates

Grr. Not all dogs find the same things annoying, but some common trends may exist. Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Battersea Cats And Dogs Home points out that you can “discourage neediness and reduce dog stress in the long term by gradually promoting independence.” To do that, they suggest that you set up activities that they can enjoy without you; set up baby gates in the house to discourage them always following you.

When you leave them at home, yes, your pet dogs get anxious. Make sure you give your dog plenty of reassuring attention before you leave the house, though – that’ll reduce their separation anxiety.

Strangers in new places

Studies have sometimes found that dogs enjoy novel environments, but only when they’re there with people they live permanently with. A 2014 paper found that stress in dogs, measured by their heart rate, was induced when they were put in a new place and were stroked by a person who doesn’t live permanently with them.

Although, once again, some dogs may be different, you probably shouldn’t just dump them off at a friend or family member’s house without much notice.

Your neuroticism?

Some studies, including this oft-referenced 1997 paper, suggest that your attitude can influence your dog’s behavioral problems. The evidence on this was described at the time as “scarce” with some of it being “contradictory”. One curious facet of the study, however, involved the owner’s anxiety.

Although there was no connection between an owner’s phobia and their dog’s, particularly anxious owners are more likely to make psychological use of their dogs to manage their own emotions. This can result in an inconsistent pattern of behavior toward the dog, “perhaps on some occasions rewarding or punishing the same behavior,” the author notes.

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“This might well induce in susceptible dogs a state of conflict that is expressed in displacement activities,” which describes physical behaviors that denote when a dog is motivationally bemused or torn between two conflicting drives.

Other studies note that pets – including dogs – are often beneficial to owners’ mental health. That doesn’t mean you should rely on them to always sort you out in this respect, because it could cause them some degree of distress.

Badly timed walks

Walking your dog provides psychological, social, and physiological benefits to you and your companion, but there are certain times of day during a few months of the year that can cause your dog stress, and worse. Even though a midday walk at the height of summer may feel great, it may prove to be a bit overwhelming and potentially dangerous for your perpetually obedient dog. They can either be burned by the Sun, just as their foot pads can be scorched by extremely hot surfaces.

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