11 Things Your Dog Hates

Loving a DogWe have all kinds of misconceptions about our dogs.  We think they are people in fur, because they are so good at reading our body language and adapting to our lifestyles.

But this doesn’t mean he really likes everything that we crazy humans do.

In fact he may tolerate certain things, but that doesn’t mean he likes them; and if for once we stopped expecting him to be human and understood the differences of why and what makes him a very dynamically different animal we could have a much better relationship with him.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I refer to my dogs and furry people because I love them that much. They are family they are not just dogs.  I just recently purchased a 1948 Ford F100 that I am going to restore and a friend suggested I not let my dogs ride in it.

I howled with laughter.  It is kind of ridiculous if you know me.  Yes, yes there is fur on everything I own and sometimes holes in my interior but I still can’t imagine not allowing my dog anywhere (provided they have good behavior that is; as you know everything is a privilege).

But I understand dogs, probably more than I understand most people.

So let’s get started and learn what your dog really hates.  And, how you can make both of your lives better.

11.  HuggingView of the street from the dog's perspective

Hugging, most dogs hate it!  And, so many people want their dogs to tolerate it that I intend to write a more in depth article.  However, suffice it to say dogs don’t go around hugging each other.

When dogs “hug” they are likely humping or dominating the other dog.

And, even if you can teach your dog not only to tolerate hugging from you or even condition him to like it… chances are he won’t like it when someone else does it.

Like taking your dog to the vet… restraint and hugging feel pretty much the same.

10.  Teasing

Dog’s don’t care for this behavior unless you are building drive for toys and he can actually win for more on why I like teasing to teach your dog to play click here.

But telling your dog he is going to get a “cookie” or a “biscuit” and then not giving him one is not something he enjoys.

Neither is pretending to throw that ball you just hid behind your back.

Be fair!  If you wouldn’t do it to your child (and let’s hope you wouldn’t) don’t do it to your dog.

9.  Boring Walks

I think we can agree, dogs like walks.  And, I suppose a boring walk is better than no walk at all.

But dogs find our meandering walks incredibly boring and tedious.

If it was up to your dog, he’d be flat out running until he was too tired to do otherwise.

Part of the reason that he is pulling on his leash and sputtering is because his mind isn’t otherwise engaged.

So I do one of two things.

  1. I hook my dogs to a recumbent trike and let them pull me at top speed.  Well, actually they have to listen to my commands.  But, I have had squirrels run right out in the road and my dogs ignore them simply because they are pretty happy with just trotting down the road at a pace that is comfortable for them.
  2. OR… or I add lots of other obedience to our walk. I ask my dogs for eye contact and focus for more on that click here.  I do in motion sit stays and in motion down stays as well as sits and downs in motion.  We add circles and change our direction for no reason just to make a boring walk more fun.  When my dog doesn’t know what is coming it is more exciting.  Adding more things stimulates your dog’s mind not just his body.  So he will actually be more tired quicker because you are giving him balance.

When you just meander and amble down the street together your dog gets more opportunities to pull on the leash and bark and do other naughty things!

8.  Face PettingBLD019482

I don’t know how many people I see that want to pet their dogs in the face.

Tell me; How often do you like being touched in the face?

If I were to meet you, would you like it if I touched you around your eyes, nose or on top of the head?  Probably not…

Dogs like to see and they typically want to see the hand that is about to pet them.  Once that hand goes over their head or toward their face, they can panic.  A good dog will simply duck, but some will growl or show other signs of aggression.

Again, dogs don’t pet one another and anything that goes over the head and back can be a potential threat.  Once they lose sight of the object (or hand) this hand can grab them, hit them or do any number of things.

Most dogs like being petted on the chest, and from there you can build up other areas.

But if you think patting your dog on the head is a reward you are mistaken.

Again, you can condition him to enjoy it from you (and I often start my major massages at the ear since that is easy to reach when we are out and about together)… but most dogs don’t like things in their face or over their heads.

7.  No Schedule

Dogs are spontaneous and usually ready at the drop of a hat.  They don’t need an appointment on their calendar to go for a ride or a walk.

But dogs like a general schedule.  They like getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, and going to bed around the same time.

They know what time you will get home from work and when the kids will get home from school and they happily await the consistencies in their lives.

Dogs can become extremely depressed when big changes occur, like moving, new jobs or the kids going back to school after the summer break.

A way to help them maintain some normalcy is to adhere to a basic schedule to the best of your ability!

6.  Not Going With You0904121720b

As I mentioned above… your dog likes a spontaneous journey with you.

If you are going to the post office, or the bank and are staying in the car he wants to go with you.

I have a dog that accompanies me every Monday to work at a doggy day care.  He loves Monday because he gets to go with me.

He doesn’t even like other dogs, but he does enjoy simply being with me.

My dogs are just as happy to go with me as they are to get home to their home.  Dogs are simple, happy, little people!

5.  Not Trimming His Nails

Your dog may act like he hates his nails trimmed, but do you know what is worse?

Not having his nails trimmed and then having them hurt when he walks and grow into his paw pads.

As a vet tech I have trimmed way too many dog toe nails that have curled under to the point that they were embedded into the paw pad.  We even had to anesthetize one dog and surgically remove the nail because it was so bad.

Imagine if you will never trimming your toe nails.

Don’t you think they would get caught on things and rip out?  (yes this happens too)

Now put on shoes, would the toe nails bumping into the end of your shoe hurt?  Yes, yes I think it would.

Now imagine your toe nails curled under and grew back in toward your foot.  Now imagine your toe nails are as thick as your dog’s claws?

I can only imagine how painfully debilitating this would be.

Do your dog a favor and trim or have his nails trimmed regularly.  For help on that click here.

6234815841_efe6b60b47_z4.  Your Nerves

I must again say, our dogs don’t always understand us.  But what they do, do well is sense our moods and changes in our body language and behavior.

Ever notice how when you are sick, your dog wants to cuddle.

Or when you cry your dog comes running to comfort you.

When you are mad he is nowhere to be seen or he is right next to you smiling and showing appeasement gestures.

But he doesn’t understand why you get so uptight when he is on a leash and you see another dog.  Your reactivity is causing his reactivity on a leash for more on that click here.

Sometimes our nervousness about certain situations creates aggression.  Our dogs see us and think we are scared and then they deductively reason that we are scared every time another dog is around (if you have a dog aggressive dog) or when a person is around (if your dog is fearful of people).

Your reaction to situations is feeding his behavior.

If instead of being scared, reactive or stressed you act in a very confident and very matter of fact way, your dog will also exude confidence.

3.  Constant Babbling

I think we can all agree that we probably talk to our dogs all the time.  It is also a habit of mine.  Some days my dogs are the only “people” I have to talk to.

But the truth is, dogs communicate through body language for the most part.

Yes, they vocalize but most communication comes through body language a very intricate language that they use to socialize and communicate with one another.

When you constantly babble and talk to your dog, your dog learns to put you on mute.

It is the same with me.

When my kids are around and they are fighting… I tune them out completely.  I don’t hear them refer to me or ask me a question sometimes because I am used to tuning out all the bickering.

You may not be bickering, but your dog gets into a habit of not listening to you because he doesn’t really understand what you are saying most of the time.

If you want him to listen more.  Babble less and use different voices.

Yes, I baby talk to my dogs when they can ignore me… but when I want them to listen I have a very confident commanding voice.  Not to be confused with scary voice or angry voice which will shut dogs down instead of stimulating them to listen.

2.  Forcing Socialization

Not All Dogs Like Playing

Not All Dogs Like Playing

Not all dogs are social with other dogs or even other people.

Some dogs like other dogs.  Some dogs hate other dogs.  Some dogs are scared of other dogs.  And, some dogs lack the social skills to communicate effectively with other dogs, making them a target for socially dominant dogs.

I don’t like to force my dogs to socialize, I think it sets my dog and the other dogs up for a dog fight or to bite another person.

It doesn’t matter if he is aggressive, scared, or just lacks social skills the chances are he doesn’t want to be forced to do anything.

I liken it to social anxiety (which I have) not everyone or everything likes being social with everyone.

I hate big parties.  If I was a dog, I would hate the dog park.  Being in that situation makes me extremely anxious and is uncomfortable for more on doggy social anxiety click here 

Forcing your dog to be social, and then reprimanding him physically when he is not can create a bomb ready to go off.  By correcting him for growling, snarling or showing other behaviors that tell us he is uncomfortable we are taking away his warning signals.

I would much rather my dog be comfortable enough to growl, than for him to think that growling gets him in trouble so he will just attack when he is uncomfortable.  For more on why a growl is a good thing click here

1.  No One on One Time

You never give your dog one on one time.

I don’t care whether you have 8 dogs or 8 children.  Everybody needs a little one on one time.

When I was a kid my parents would separate us kids and spend one on one time doing something we each liked.  We loved family time, but we also loved some special one on one time and those are some of my happiest memories.

I have 3 dogs.

I do my best to give them all a little one on one time.

I take agility with my girlie.

I take my youngest to work on Mondays.

And, if I am going for a quick ride and the weather is acceptable I take the middle dog.  And, although I know they can’t count… I try to be as fair as possible.

I also break training up into group work with 2 or 3 or just one on one time.

I believe that for a dog to learn a complicated behavior it is best if he is alone so that he is not competing with his “siblings”  for more on the intricacies of that click here.

You are an individual.  Your dog is an individual and it is best for all of you if he can function on his own without his brothers and sisters.

It is imperative that dogs have some one on one time in order to be as happy as they can in life.

Now I know some of you are stuck up on the first few on the list, thinking your dog loooooves hugging or having his face pet.  And, that might indeed be the case, since there is an exception to every rule... but the truth is the majority of dogs don't.  And for you and your children to be successful with other dogs; it is imperative that you realize the differences in dogs and their language and WHY they don't like certain things.

Because I would rather have people not hug the new dog they just met because they read this article, rather than because they were bitten in the face the last time they tried.

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  1. Deb says:

    I don’t agree about dogs not liking hugging. I’ve raised dogs all my life. I’ve had rotties, doberman pinschers, labs, poodles, scotties, you name it. I’ve had dogs who don’t like hugging and I’ve had dogs who “hugged” me. These are not dogs I don’t know, they are dogs I’ve raised since puppyhood. Also, some dogs do like their faces touched. But then, don’t we all love a facial? Doesn’t massaging feel good. I think some of what you said is on point, but definitely the generalization does not apply to every dog and I’ve had dogs in my life for 64 years.


    Minette Reply:

    And I have trained thousands of dogs over the past 20 years.

    The truth is; they don’t hug each other. When one grabs another it is for means of fighting or copulation.

    As I mentioned in the article; you can condition your dog to like hugging from you. I have 3 dogs and all will accept a hug from me; but it doesn’t mean they like it. Only one of them likes it and actively hugs me back and yes, I know what you mean. She does put her chin over my shoulder and squeezes back because she truly likes it. But, that is because I have conditioned her to like it and she loves me.

    Should you come into my house and hug my dogs? NO! Even my dog that likes hugs from me wouldn’t want to be restrained by someone she doesn’t know. After all from you it wouldn’t be a hug it would be restraint.

    Generalized hugging from other people to dogs they don’t know shouldn’t be done. And, children should not be encouraged to hug any dog; because if they get into a habit they could be mauled by a dog that doesn’t like it.

    Just this month a young dog trainer was bit in the face in CO. A couple of years ago a media personality was bit in the face by a dog she leaned in to kiss after a news story. She required multiple facial reconstruction surgeries.

    I even knew a dog trainer in GA who got into the face of a dog she thought was nice (a little dog actually) and it literally bit the nose off of her face.

    Not every dog fits a generalized statement… but these statements exist for a reason and my intention is to keep people from being bitten in the face because they think all dogs like being hugged and kissed and pet in the face.

    I’d rather the dog that likes being hugged, not be hugged by someone it doesn’t know, than that the dog that hates hugging get in the position where he can bite someone in the face.


  2. Deb says:

    Just as a P.S. Did you not notice that I didn’t say anything about dogs I don’t know. I said this about dogs I’ve raised. You are an expert, but I am too. I may not train them for a living as you do, but I’ve trained my own dogs for as long as I’ve had them and that’s longer than you’ve been a trainer. I would hope that anyone would know not to “hug” an unknown dog or even pet them unless they accept it. I didn’t write this to be argumentative, I simply wrote it as my opinion.


    Minette Reply:

    I understand, it was not a personal attack, just an explanation of why I wrote what I did; because I see the horror in this world when it comes to bites.

    A lot of people have never had a dog they have worried about… but many people pick dogs of a certain breed or nature; and don’t deal with the generalized average dog that can have territorial or other kinds of aggression.

    I see the good the bad and the ugly in the dog world.


  3. mandie says:

    we have one dog (my husbands)that has to be put in a separate room when we have anyone stop by (except for the select few family members she’s had to deal with) we don’t take her any where every time we’ve tried we have had people who will not listen when we tell them please do not try to pet her or get in her space. we now have a very energetic lab/pit puppy (mine) that she loves playing with but i feel terrible if we go some where and take the puppy and not her and the pup is allowed out and about around anyone who stops by. its not that I don’t trust my husbands dog I do her behavior is understood to us, its the people that I have no faith in, they just don’t listen I’ve had to yell at people that have come running across the steet shouting “can I pet your dog!” and told them no yet they just don’t listen. is there anything that I could do so that our older dog dosent feel left out or jelous?


    Minette Reply:

    Just make sure you give her some personal and one on one attention too.

    The good news is that she doesn’t want to go with you when people like that are around anyway (she just doesn’t know it).

    So cater her time to what she likes and everyone will be happy.

    I take all my dogs out individually to spend time with them doing exactly what they like and it is not the same per dog 🙂 That way they are all used to seeing each other leave without it being such a big deal.


  4. Sheryl says:

    Hi Minette, this winter I am having trouble with one on one time. Itns too cold too keep one of my 2 dogs out in the yard while I train or play with the other one they both have short coats and it is snowy and icy. I have a small home so separating them indoors they can still hear and/or see what I’m doing with one of them. The newest dog in the household is a 2 yo pittie mix and the other is an 8yo pit mix. The youger dog is only with us for 6

    months and the older dog is not happy about it, she is resource guarding me (most other resouces she’s okay with)
    I don’t want to create any more animosity but they both need one on one time.
    Any suggestions on how to handle the situation. She’s a dominant bitch (both meanings of the word apply 😉 and he’s a happy go lucky goof ball.


    Minette Reply:

    I use crates if I have to to separate… plus they need to go out and go potty at some point… so you can use the time with the other. It doesn’t have to be hours, it can be 20 minutes or less.

    Also I like to take mine on short trips, like to the post office or the bank or just a drive around and enjoy the scenery.


  5. Rita says:

    Great article. I like number 3 best. One of the great things about dogs is that I’m not forced to small talk with them. 🙂


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