26 Things You Do That Your Dog Wishes You Wouldn’t

Sure, our dogs are head over paws in love with us. But even as we try to be the best pet parents, there’s a list of 26 no-nos we’re guilty of that might just have our dogs thinking, ‘Thanks, I hate it.’

Dressing Them Up

Sure, a dog in a dinosaur costume is adorable, but many dogs prefer their natural coat to the latest fashion trends. Clothing can make them feel restricted and anxious, especially if they’re not used to it.

Skimping on Snuggle Time

Believe it or not, quality cuddle time can mean the world to your furry friend. While not all dogs are lap dogs, those who cherish closeness feel like winning the lottery when cuddled. It’s like turning down a heartfelt hug—your pooch might be left wondering where the love went.

Solo Time Overload

Dogs are pack animals by nature, which means they thrive on companionship. Leaving them alone for extended periods can lead to anxiety and stress, manifesting in destructive behaviors or incessant barking.

Rough Play

While playful wrestling might seem fun, not all dogs are fans of roughhousing. This type of play can sometimes go too far, leading to fear or aggression.

Invasion of Personal Space

Just like us, dogs appreciate having their personal bubble respected. Constant cuddling or getting too close can make them feel overwhelmed, especially if they’re not in the mood for affection.

Paw Handling

Many dogs dislike having their paws touched, making nail trimming a challenge. Gradual acclimatization from a young age can help alleviate this discomfort.

Unfamiliar Faces

Dogs can be wary of strangers invading their space. Introductions should be gradual and on the dog’s terms. This approach helps prevent stress and aggression, making social interactions more positive and less threatening.

The Chase Game

Chasing your dog might seem like fun, but it can be intimidating for them, especially if they feel they can’t escape. This action can trigger their flight response and stress them out, making playtime less enjoyable and more of a scary ordeal.

Harsh Grooming 

Grooming sessions, particularly baths and haircuts, can be stressful for dogs. Ensuring a calm, gentle approach can make the experience more tolerable for them.

Head Pats

While meant as a sign of affection, patting a dog on the head can be perceived as a threatening gesture, especially from strangers.

Ignoring Their Playtime Pleas 

Dogs often communicate their desire to play through subtle cues, and ignoring these playful requests can leave them feeling neglected. Imagine your pup’s wagging tail and eager eyes being met with nothing but a cold shoulder—definitely a no-go in the world of canine companionship.

Inconsistent Rules

Dogs crave routine and clear expectations. Mixed signals and inconsistent discipline can confuse them, leading to a stressed and unhappy pup.

The Unwanted Hug

While wrapping our arms around our dogs feels like the ultimate expression of love to us, many dogs find this human gesture confining and uncomfortable. Dogs value their personal space, and a hug might feel like an invasion of it.

Forced Friendships

Just like humans, dogs have their preferences when it comes to friends. Forcing interactions with other dogs can be stressful and lead to confrontations.

Tease to Please?

Using treats to tease or trick your dog might seem playful, but it can actually cause frustration. Treats should be a reward, not a tool for teasing.

Too Much Talk, Not Enough Listen

We often forget that communication is a two-way street, even with our dogs. Bombarding them with commands and chatter without paying attention to their responses can be overwhelming. It’s like being stuck in a one-sided conversation—your pup’s attempts to ‘speak’ deserve recognition and understanding, too.

Animated Expressions

Large, animated gestures, especially during intense conversations or gaming, might confuse or startle dogs, as they can misinterpret these as signs of aggression.

Spraying Strong Fragrances

Strong fragrances and chemicals can irritate your dog’s powerful sense of smell. Opt for unscented products when possible. This will help prevent respiratory distress and discomfort, ensuring your dog feels comfortable and safe.

Leash Yanking

Using the leash to control or reprimand your dog harshly can cause physical pain and damage their trust in you. This approach can lead to a fearful or anxious relationship with their owner, rather than one based on mutual respect and understanding.

A Lack of Routine

A consistent schedule for meals, walks, and playtime provides a sense of security and happiness for dogs. Disruptions in their routine can cause stress and anxiety, leading to behavioral problems and decreased well-being.

Tense Fights 

Dogs are highly empathetic and can pick up on our emotions. Arguments or high-tension situations can cause them distress, as they’re sensitive to the atmosphere around them.

Walks Without Sniffing

Walks are not just physical exercise but also a sensory adventure. Allowing your dog to sniff around makes walks much more enjoyable for them. It taps into their innate need to explore and understand their environment, turning a simple walk into a thrilling exploration of smells and sights. 


Yelling at your dog can scare or confuse them, as they’re more responsive to tone and body language than to specific words. This can negatively affect their mental health and lead to a fearful or anxious disposition.

Overlooking Their Need for New Experiences 

Dogs are curious by nature, and sticking to the same old routine can stifle their spirit of adventure. Not introducing your dog to new sights, smells, and sounds is akin to never letting them read the next chapter of their favorite book. While they like a good routine, a little variety spices up their life and keeps that tail wagging!

A Blast of Breath

Blowing in your dog’s face might elicit a funny reaction, but most dogs find this sensation unpleasant and potentially threatening.

The Staring Contest

Locking eyes with your dog for too long can be interpreted as a challenge or threat, leading to discomfort or even defensive behavior.

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