Dogs aren’t great at keeping secrets. If they like something, they love it. If they hate something, then they hate it. They’re somewhat open books of emotion and behavior.
So is there anything you do that dogs actually dislike that you aren’t aware of? Well, it’s difficult to tell, because dogs have their own personalities, including their own idiosyncratic foibles, pet peeves, and subjects of adoration.
"It's as ridiculous to say 'dogs hate x' as 'people hate x'," Prof. Alexandra Horowitz, a renowned dog cognition researcher at Columbia University, told IFLScience.
In saying that, there are perhaps a handful of near-universal angst-inducing irritants, but remember, your dog might respond differently to various stimuli than other dogs. If you’re unsure, click here to see if they’re showing signs of stress.
Yanking them away from smelly curiosities
"We don't value smells much, but dogs live in an olfactory world. When you go on a walk with your dog, you are both seeing and smelling – but we are mostly seeing, and dogs are mostly smelling," Horowitz explains.
"So the person who walks their dogs on a leash but constantly pulls them away from their attempts to sniff every curb, fireplug, tree, invisible-thing-in-grass, other dogs... that's got to be horrible for the dog. They are just trying to see the world."
Remember, just because we don't see or smell anything of value to us, it doesn't mean that the same applies to our pawed companions.
Solitary confinement during fireworks
It’s well known that dogs, upon hearing fireworks, become intensely stressed. You can’t explain to them that it’s all in celebration of independence from the tyrannical British king several centuries earlier, so instead, they just have to assume the sky is falling. Most people, quite rightly, keep their dogs indoors in as quiet a place as possible to keep them calm.
As noted by Battersea Cats And Dogs Home, however, you shouldn’t confine them to one room. They will almost certainly be constantly trying to escape from the noise, and putting them in a small place may make them likely to injure themselves as they attempt to escape. By all means, create a “safe space” for them to hide in, but don’t make them feel trapped.
Yes, dogs are faithful companions, and their near-relentless ability to always stick by our side is one of the many reasons they’re so loved. They’re individual animals, however, not extensions of ourselves – and they need to feel independent too, to a degree.