Dogs are human's best companions, and owning a dog can bring numerous benefits to human physical and mental well-being. However, some common and seemingly natural human habits might leave dogs feeling bewildered and even at a loss. While owning a dog may seem straightforward, there's much for both humans and dogs to learn. Here are some common human behaviors that might be underestimated but can be quite perplexing for our beloved pets.
Human Petting Dogs in Anxious Situations
When humans feel tense, it's common for loved ones or friends to provide comfort through petting and soothing words. Does this work for dogs too? Veterinary experts tell us: no! From a dog's perspective, such human behavior is interpreted as encouraging the dog's fear through affectionate gestures and sweet talk.
So, what's the right approach? Try offering your dog some treats or divert its attention with commands like "sit" or "stand up." Taking the dog for a walk or engaging in play can also help them move away from stress. These methods are generally more effective.
Teaching Puppies that Owners' Hands Are Not for Biting
Puppies usually enjoy nibbling on everything in sight. Although their bites may not be forceful, owners must strictly prohibit this behavior. If a puppy develops a habit of biting its owner's hands, it won't realize that such biting is unacceptable. As dogs grow larger and stronger, what may seem like playful nibbling can turn into a serious problem. Puppies grow quickly, and within a few months, owners may experience the pain of this biting behavior.
Picking Up Dogs Suddenly from Behind
If someone suddenly lifts you from behind, you might feel surprised or even frightened. This is the same feeling dogs have when picked up suddenly from behind. Since they are small, being lifted higher from the ground intensifies their fear. The correct approach is to let the dog see you first and then lift them. This sudden lifting is especially disadvantageous for puppies, as they are more likely to be frightened.
Feeding Dogs at the Wrong Time
Food is often used for training dogs, creating a reward system to help them quickly adapt to human rules. The key to this method is to give rewards at the right time. Dog expert Emma Bowdrey says, "If you reward too early, the dog will just spin around you. Conversely, if you make it wait too long, the dog may try behaviors you didn't expect to test whether it can get a reward." Therefore, give food rewards to dogs after they complete the tasks you've set for them.
Playing Tug-of-War with Dogs
Tug-of-war is a fun activity for humans, but not so much for dogs. Firstly, more naturally aggressive canids may become overly stimulated, potentially leading to unexpected behaviors. Additionally, this game can confuse dogs, making them believe they should pull and tug at various objects to gain more attention. For example, a dog may start pulling at your socks, shoes, or furniture. Moreover, if playing tug-of-war, pulling the rope up and down may be detrimental to the dog's back, so it's better to pull in a horizontal direction.
Giving Dogs Confusing Names
Choosing a beloved name for your dog is essential for dog owners. However, be cautious not to give names that might confuse your furry friend, especially those related to the commands you want them to learn. For instance, if you command "run," and the dog's name is "Bubbles," it can cause confusion, especially when you call them from a distance. Therefore, select names that do not sound similar to the commands you want them to learn.
Using Multiple Terms for the Same Command
Dogs are intelligent and can learn human commands, but they are not smart enough to grasp synonyms. For example, if on the first day you train your dog with the command "stand up" to make them stand, and the next day, you say "stand," it will confuse them. Dogs don't realize that these two words represent the same action. Lack of consistency reduces the efficiency of dogs executing these commands. Therefore, using short and unique command words helps dogs understand their owner's intentions more quickly.
Punishing Mistakes Made in the Morning at Night
When you come home at night, open the door, and suddenly discover that your beloved dog has made a mess of the house, you are sure to be furious. However, punishing the dog at this moment might not be very helpful in resolving such issues. Canids are not so clever that they can connect your current angry behavior with their past mistakes.
In other words, if your dog made a mess at 10 a.m., and you scold them at 6 p.m., the dog won't understand why you're doing this and might find your reaction unreasonable. So, taking appropriate preventive measures, such as adding a barrier, can effectively prevent household destruction. Also, if you catch them in the act, it's best to correct them immediately.
Avoiding Eye Contact with Strange Dogs
While staring at your own dog, you may notice affection and sweetness in its eyes. But what about encountering a strange dog outside? It's best not to stare, especially not to make eye contact. Canids establish their position through eye contact, and staring at a strange dog for too long is perceived as a challenge. This might lead the dog to launch an attack. So, avoiding eye contact with unfamiliar dogs is a good way to reduce unnecessary risks.
Allowing Other Dogs to Surround a Shy Dog
In many cases, socializing training for puppies is crucial. However, some dogs are naturally shyer than others and might feel overwhelmed in the presence of other dogs. Forcing a shy dog to be surrounded by other dogs can increase its fear and confusion. The right approach is to gradually desensitize them. Present them to another dog but keep enough distance.