We are our dog’s entire world. Their whole lives revolve around us. So it’s not surprising that we can leave lasting emotional scars from negative experiences. And you don't have to be a bad person to hurt your dog's feelings - sometimes, we do so without even knowing it. Here are some ways this might happen:
Separation from the pack
Not only are we our dogs’ entire world, but we have to remember that canines are pack animals. So much so that they many follow us into the bathroom. So segregating them from their pack (usually their people and any other pets they live with) is hurtful to your dog. Training is a great way to teach your dog what’s expected of them, rather than exiling him or her to a crate, separate room or backyard.
Rubbing their nose in it
We go to the bathroom several times a day and your dog needs to as well. He or she may not always be able to hold it until you get home after a long day at work. When dogs have accidents, rubbing their nose in it or yelling at them won’t help them learn not to pee or poop in the house. It will, however, hurt their feelings and teach them to fear you.
Pro Tip: If your dog is potty-trained but has accidents, it could be a sign of illness, distress or that they need more bathroom breaks. Also, try using puppy pads to give your dog a safe place to go if you're unavailable to take them out.
Punishing fearful behavior
When we’re scared, what do we want most? Usually we want someone to help make us feel better or safe. The same goes for your pup when he or she is scared. You’ll likely know when your dog is afraid because of a few tell-tale signs such as raised hackles, cowering, tucked tails and flattened ears. During these times, your dog needs to be calmly and quietly removed from the situation that’s scaring him or her. Yelling or reprimanding will only escalate the issue.
Pro Tip: If your dog is generally anxious, a thundershirt applies gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear, and over excitement
Having inconsistent rules can hurt your dog and here’s an example to show how: Let’s say you normally don’t let your dog on the couch, but when you get sick, you decide you want some cuddles. A week later, you’re feeling better and your dog tries to climb on the couch again. You revert back to the original rule and punish him or her. But just a week ago they were allowed to hop up and they won’t understand why they aren’t allowed up now. Sometimes, inconsistent rules lead to unnecessary punishment, which hurts your dog more often than not.
Not enough quality time
We recently explained why play is important for your dog and a big reason is their happiness. Remember, you are your dog’s world and not getting enough attention or quality time with you affects his or her happiness. Ideally, you and your dog would regularly go on walks or play together, but even just cuddling on the couch will help your dog feel happier.
Pro Tip: If you are busy and can't find consistent time to walk your dog, you can book a dog walker with Rover. They will come to your house and make sure your pup gets his or her exercise.