Now that's a happy dog! Photo by Rick Burtzel license CC NC SA 2.0 via Flickr

Five Ways You May Be Unintentionally Hurting Your Dog’s Feelings

Here at Animals Melt My Heart, we know that you love your dog. We know that you would never intentionally hurt your dog’s feelings, of course. Today, though, let’s talk about five things you might do unintentionally that could hurt your precious pooch more than you know.

We share so many things in common with our dogs. Just like us, they crave affection, love, downtime, and family. Dogs love a delicious meal, especially if they get to share it with you, and also like us, they even dream. Research shows that your dog is likely dreaming about that delicious meal you shared with him.

We know a dog’s life revolves around ours

Two lovable dogs having a frolic in the snow. Photo by Robert Hiscock license NC SA 2.0 via Flickr

Because our dogs love us so much (and they do, you know), the way we treat them can affect their whole outlook on life and even their psyche. If your dog doesn’t get the attention he needs, or that attention involves unwarranted punishment, it can really leave emotional scars, IHeartDogs reports.

That’s why it’s a good idea to learn about canine behavior to avoid these five common mistakes.

1. Changing the rules to fit the situation

Our dogs may not understand us if we’re inconsistent in how we treat them. Photo by John Garghan license CC ND NC 2.0 via Flickr

None of us are consistent 100 percent of the time. I sure know I’m not. And sometimes we’re inconsistent with our dogs — one day it’s okay to sleep on the couch then the next day it isn’t. That can lead to a really confused dog. Your dog will be considerably less stressed if you practice consistency.

2. Rubbing his nose in household accidents

Your dog isn’t likely to understand why you’re reprimanding him. Photo by Peter Jackson license CC NC ND 2.0 via Flickr

Most of us work six to 10 hours per day. During that time, we certainly aren’t going to abstain from using the bathroom when needed. Yet we expect our dogs to do this while we’re at work. If your dog has been potty trained but has reverted to going inside the house, please don’t rub their noses in it.

Why is this poor little pug sad? Photo by hannah k license CC 2.0 via Flickr

When you rub your dog’s nose in his accidents and yell at him, he’s not going to understand why. This action won’t re-train him to go outside but it will teach him to be afraid of you and it will also hurt his feelings.

If your dog continues with the behavior, it’s time to take them to the vet.

3. Separating him from his pack

Dogs don’t like being separated from their loved ones. Photo by katebartnik license NC ND 2.0 via Flickr

There’s absolutely nothing more than your dog loves more than his family and separating him from everyone is guaranteed to hurt his feelings. Our dogs fare better if they are taught what we expect from them and isolating them isn’t the way to do this.

And relegating them to a kennel in the backyard can lead a dog to be neglected or abandoned. If you’re the kind of owner who would do something like this, please don’t get a dog. Get a fish instead.

4. Not proving enough playtime can hurt a dog’s feelings

We all greet our dogs when we get home at the end of a long day. You may not feel like you’re ignoring your favorite furry friend, but you could be hurting their feelings.

Image CC BY-NC-SA from filin ilia – via Flickr

You see, we already mentioned that dogs love being with their family. So, it stands to reason that quality time with your dog is especially important to them. Things like playing fetch, going for a walk, and cuddle time on the couch mean the world to your pup.

5. Punishing fearful behavior

Finally, we may all be guilty of this one on some level — you shouldn’t punish your dog when they display signs of aggression. Things like raised hackles, growling, and a tucked tail are signs that your dog is uncomfortable.

Image CC BY-NC-ND from Paturo via Visual Hunt

You wouldn’t punish your child when they are simply uncomfortable. So, why would you do so to your dog? Instead, remove the dog from the situation and redirect their attention. If the behavior continues, contact a professional trainer.

More information

I’ve included this video which has a lot of helpful hints to better understand your dog.

Photo by Rick Burtzel license CC NC SA 2.0 via Flickr

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