Dog owners rarely want to annoy their pets. But, sadly, many owners unknowingly put their dogs through things that they don’t like, almost every day.
You shouldn’t always take it as a good sign that your dog closes his eyes when you pat his head, for example.
This isn’t a sign he’s enjoying the moment; he’s probably closing his eyes to protect himself.
Most of the time your pet will let these kinds of irritations, be they small or big, pass silently or try to send small signals of unwillingness with body language.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t notice these signs. But animal welfare experts want owners to watch out for indications of possible distress.
1. Blowing in their noses or ears
Dog owners sometimes find it amusing to blow in their dog’s face to see the cute face they make. But for four-legged friends, it’s anything but funny. They feel uncomfortable with what they regard as strange behaviour, and will eventually start to flinch or avoid you when you get close.
This is a threatening gesture for a dog, which it perceives as an intimidation attempt to impose dominance. It is better to avoid eye contact.
It might feel like a loving gesture, but in practice it can just make a dog feel restricted in its freedom of movement. They will often yawn, lick their lips or put their ears back to demonstrate they are feeling stressed when you hold them close.
4. Making exceptions
As a pack animal, dogs appreciate clear rules and do not understand exceptions. If, for example, they are usually never allowed on the sofa, but then suddenly are when you’re ill, they get confused. Consistency is very important.
5. The same walk over and over
This will bore your pets, especially if they are not allowed to stop and sniff around. It’s much better to explore new paths, and incorporate small obedience and skill games into the walk. – dpa