Dogs are known for being pretty tolerant, easy-going creatures, but there are certain things that can bother even the most docile of pups. Your intentions may be good when giving a dog a hug or patting a pooch on the head, but some canines don’t appreciate these actions and they can result in fearful or aggressive behavior. Below are five things not to do that often make dogs uncomfortable:
1. Hug a strange dog: Dogs don’t express affection in the same ways that humans do. While some dogs will tolerate hugs from their own family, a hug from a stranger can be interpreted as threatening. If a dog tenses up or disengages from your hug, he’s clearly uncomfortable.
2. Pet a dog on the head: Reaching for the top of a dog’s head can be a recipe for disaster. If it’s a dog you haven’t met before, let him greet you first and then opt for a chest rub instead of a head pat.
3. Make direct eye contact: While people may see eye contact as a sign of connection or good communication, dogs can perceive it as a threat. Be aware that eye contact is a sign of dominance in the canine world.
4. Put your face right in their face: People often do this to express affection, but this behavior can be intimidating and make a dog tense and uncomfortable.
5. Expose a dog to a noisy environment: A dog’s hearing is at least twice as sensitive to that of a human, making noisy situations uncomfortable and sometimes anxiety inducing. So think twice before turning that music way up or exposing your canine companion to a large get-together. If your dog is especially anxious, a calming supplement may help.