Dogs are sensitive creatures, which is probably why they are man's best friend. The traits that make them great companions can also leave them vulnerable to how they're treated by people. Even a well cared for dog can become despondent when all it hears is "No!" "Be Quiet" "Get Down" "Stop Barking!"
Here are the 7 key things to avoid when interacting with your dog.
Scolding / yelling / rubbing a dog's nose in its waste
It's a common form of punishment when people find that their dog relieved themselves in the house, but dogs don't really make the connection - especially if time has passed between them going and you finding the accident. When you berate them, dogs react to your negative emotions with fear and confusion.
Hitting a dog
There was a time when dominance training was accepted to gain an animal's submission. This tactic has long since been proven ineffective and abusive. Hitting a dog only causes fear and pain.
Punishing a dog with "time out" in a kennel
A dog's kennel or crate is meant to be a place that it can go when no one is home to supervise. Most important, the kennel should be viewed as a bed and sanctuary - allowing the dog to feel safe and secure. Turning the kennel into a form of discipline defeats its purpose and will cause fear and confusion.
Taking food or treats away while a dog is eating
Eating should be a positive experience for your dog, not one that causes stress or fear. Taking food away may cause a dog to become overprotective and aggressive when it is mealtime.
Not walking, playing or interacting with a dog
Dogs are pack animals that thrive on companionship. They need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, otherwise they can become mean or depressed.
Leaving a dog along for long periods of time
If you spend long hours at work or away from home, having a dog may not be a good idea, especially if they are expected to stay in the house or a kennel and not relieve themselves. As we mentioned, dogs need interaction with their human or other dogs on a consistent basis to be happy and healthy.
Letting a dog suffer
If a dog is hurt, injured, or sick, please get them to a vet. Dogs often try to hide their symptoms, so being in tune with your pet is important. Not only is it cruel to let a dog (or any animal suffer) but it can also lead to other problems like incontinence, infections, and angry outbursts or attacks when they feel threatened.
In case you were wondering, here's a list of the 7 most emotional dog breads:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- French Mastiff
Photos: Getty Images