Of course, you would never do it intentionally. We love our dogs, so it only makes sense that we want them to love us back. And while your dog surely thinks that you hung the moon, believe it or not, there ARE things that we humans do that annoy our pets. Not surprisingly, these behaviors also apply to relationships between people and, as you might imagine, more specifically to the relationships between adults and children.  For instance…

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (as they say)
There’s a reason for this old adage.  Like humans, who likes being jolted out of a nice, restful sleep? No one that I know, anyway… especially my significant other!  Not that you can serve your dog coffee in bed, but wake your pet as “gently” as you can.  If your dog is like mine, you never have this problem; if anything, getting her to go to sleep is a challenge, never waking up!  Also, something else to consider. As dogs age, they can sleep more heavily, and can be more easily startled and react poorly if woken up abruptly.  If your dog is catching “z’s”, especially if he or she is “up there” in age, let your sleeping dog lie.

It’s just one of the ways that as human beings, we show affection, but hugs aren’t always good for pets. While we may think that a hug is sweet and comforting, dogs often feel trapped and scared during hugs, particularly when humans pull them into their faces. This can be especially problematic if people with whom your dog is not familiar attempt a hug.  If a friend’s hug makes your dog feel trapped, he could respond with aggression and no one wants that.

Breaking with Routine
Again, here we see that we’re really not that different from our pets!  Just like we do, dogs appreciate routine, and it’s just as difficult for them to work with abrupt schedule changes (for example, the differences between a weekday and weekend schedule), as it is for us! Changes in routine can cause stress, which can lead to behavior problems like chewing, barking, digging, and other destructive behaviors. To prevent some of these miscues, try to keep the “events” in your dog’s life consistent: Wake him or her up at the same time every day to go outside, feed them at the same times with the same food, and keep their exercise routine consistent.

Mixed Signals
Often, humans don’t realize they are giving dogs mixed and confusing signals about appropriate behavior. For example, if you don’t want your dog to jump on you, then you should never pet them when they do so. Humans forget this and often show their dogs affection in response to bad behavior, such as when an excited dog jumps up on his or her owner when they come home from work.

Introducing Strangers
It can be scary to a dog to have strangers enter their home, so introductions should be done (ideally) outside the home in a more “neutral” environment. Slow, calm introductions will help facilitate positive meet and greets! Be conscious of the dog’s comfort level and don’t force any interactions.

You’d probably never purposely annoy your dog, but being aware of the nuances that may cause him distress can go a long way towards curbing bad behavior and maintaining a harmonious human/canine relationship.  Need further guidance on how to make the most of your relationship with your furry friend?  Ask your Boca Raton veterinarian!