Harmful Things You Do To Your Dog Without Realizing It


All we ever want to do is give our pets the best life and the utmost love. But what we don’t realize is that some of the well-intended things we do to our canine companions can actually do more harm than good to them.

1. Constantly Reassuring Them Everything Is Fine

If you’re not feeling okay, don’t try to tell your dog you are because he knows the truth. If you can’t calm yourself down, then separate yourself until you can.

2. Being Left Alone Or Ignored

Separation anxiety is really common in most dogs and it’s hard to correct. There are products on the market to help, and you can also incorporate stable routines to make things easier. If you’re able, a companion pup is also always helpful.

3. Teasing

Teasing a dog goes just about the same as it does with teasing a human—it’s mean-spirited and can cause serious aggravation and aggressive behavior issues after a while.

22. Kisses

When you come at your dog with a well-intended kiss, he doesn’t necessarily see it that way. It’s an abrupt, aggressive behavior right in his face, and that has the probability to not end well.

5. Showering Them With Affection, Affection, And More Affection

Loving on your dog is one thing, and it’s totally great to do. But like all things, don’t overkill on this, as it will cause certain behavioral issues over time.

6. Waking Them From A Dead Sleep

Dogs can fall into a quick deep sleep, and furthermore, their slumber can be laden with dreams. To abruptly wake a sleeping animal is asking to get attacked, much like a human would also do.

7. Getting In Their Face

Think about how uncomfortable it is when someone gets into your face or towers over you. The same feeling goes through your dog’s brain, so always approach your pup with respect for his boundaries.

8. Not Letting A Dog Sniff And Explore

Dogs love to explore and discover, and their nose is how they do that best. It’s also the way they scope a place out to make sure it’s safe for you. Whenever you’re in a new area, don’t stop your canine pal from sniffing around.

9. Lack Of Routine And Rules

Dogs thrive on routine. It’s how they’re built. And unlike humans, a lack of routine isn’t a sense of freedom for them, but instead one of confusion, panic, and anxiety.

10. Being Covered With A Blanket

Much like hugging your dog, bundling them up in a blanket isn’t always a fun thing for every dog. It can make them feel cornered, trapped, and claustrophobic.

11. Baths

If you’re the one in a million who has a dog that loves baths, consider yourself incredibly lucky. Most dogs hate everything about a bath, so arm yourself with a soothing environment and extra treats to make bath time less scary for your pup.

12. Not Letting Your Dog Be A Dog

Your canine buddy is just that—a dog. He’s going to want to play, to get treats, to nuzzle on you and bark at the mailman. Don’t take away his natural born character. Tweak what behaviors you need to, but otherwise, let him be him in all his glory.

13. Forgetting Dogs Need To Chew

Dogs always get so eager when it’s time to eat any food—or see a handy shoe lying around. It’s in a dog’s nature and physical fitness need to chew, so whatever you don’t want chewed up, put it away.

14. Not Enough Exercise

Not allowing your dog enough exercise shortens their lifespan and brings about a myriad of health issues. From physical and internal ailments to depression, you can avoid all of this with just a little walk or playtime every day.

15. Summer Heat

Though dogs are built to naturally go along with changing temperatures, intense summer heat can get to them. Don’t leave them outside or without fresh, cool water for extended periods of time, and NEVER leave them in a hot car.

16. The Same Food Over and Over

While it’s good to keep a steady food for your dog’s tummy and digestion, as your dog ages, and even as seasons change, a dog’s nutritional needs change, too. Always keeping them up to date with the latest good food for them specifically is important.

17. Same Boring Walk

Like food and play and friends, dogs need change when it comes to scenery. Change up your walking path or park and let your dog explore new adventures.

18. Pulling On Their Ears

Pulling on your dog’s ears not only hurts them, but it also understandably sends them into defense mode, poised to protect themselves from the unwanted pain.

19. Strong Fragrances

Because their noses are their main source of experiencing everything, strong perfumes and oils can cause your dog irritation and even make them sick. Certain scents can even cause skin irritation, such as lavender.

20. Dressing Them Up

Regardless of popular belief, dogs’ fur is built to naturally insulate and cool them. Most dog clothing is unnecessary when it comes to protection and seasonal temperature shifts, so if you have to dress your dog up, be gradual with them so that you ensure they’re not uncomfortable.

21. Tight Spaces

Similar to blankets and hugs, when your dog is confined to tight spaces, such as a kennel, make sure there’s enough room for him to be comfortable.

22. Being A Clean Freak

Dogs love familiar stink (their own and yours), so if you love to keep a clean house, always have a blanket, or old shirt on hand to let your dog cuddle up with for ultimate comfort.

23. Chilling For Hours In Front Of The TV

Dogs are just like us and kids when it comes to necessary mental and physical activity. Vegging in front of the TV is fine, but you’ve got to find the time to play with and walk your dog.

24. Vacuuming

You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog who loves a vacuum. There’s no real way to train a dog to be calm around one, so do what’s best for your pup and remove them from the room until you’re done.

25. Going To The Vet

Ensuring a relaxing ride to the vet and soothing sayings in your dog’s ear as you go through the vet appointment, is the best way to keep him not panicked during the visit.

26. Being Upset

Dogs are our number 1 supporters, especially emotionally. Your emotions transfer onto your pup’s, so if you’re in a funk, try to communicate positivity with your dog frequently to ensure they don’t also fall into a depression.

27. Rough Handling

Dogs don’t have opposable thumbs and they respect their humans, so using rough physical activity with your dog in an overkill way not only hurts them, but they have no way to defend themselves.

28. Inconsistency

You can’t encourage your dog to bark at an outsider knocking on your door and fuss at him in the same breath for barking at the mailman. Consistency is key to a peaceful and obedient existence.

29. Using Words More Than Body Language

Commands aren’t just words—they’re mostly physical signals, especially because dogs read through emotion better. When teaching your dog, be sure to also use hand signals, as they tend to be more effective anyway.

30. Yelling

Much like with a child, screaming at a dog does no good, and can bring about anxiety and even timid accidents in your home. Disciplining should be done with purpose and an even tone that your dog will understand.

31. Direct Eye Contact

It’s a sign of aggression if you attempt a staring contest with your dog, and it does 2 things: it scares your pup and it can also bring about a defense mechanism if they feel threatened.

32. Keeping A Tight Leash

Tightening a leash is only good for training and if you encounter a situation during a walk. It’s absolutely not a good idea to make it a frequent thing, as it will confuse your dog’s routine and can actually have the opposite effect of obedience.

33. Being Tense

Much like sadness or depression, tension and anxiety can be immediately felt by your dog, causing them also to clam up and suffer from that same stress.

34. Hugging

While some dogs might tolerate hugging better than others, none of them enjoy it. The reason is that human embraces put a dog instantly on guard because they feel trapped and cornered. Opt for gentle pets over linking your arms around your pup’s entire body next time.

35. Patting The Top Of The Head

Petting and stroking your dog is one thing that they love. But the patting motion is uncomfortable and a bit intrusive and aggressive.

36. Being Boring

A dog needs a vibrant life full of the mental and physical activity they were born for. Doing nothing, or never going outside doesn’t make for a healthy or long life for your pup.

37. Touching Feet And Nails

Dogs hate having humans touch their feet or nails. It’s unfortunately something we have to do, but like baths, cutting their nails in a calm environment with extra treats can help the anxiety.

38. The Baby Treatment

Dogs aren’t built like infants. They’re meant to exercise and be free of constrictions from birth, so skip the doggy prams and baskets, and let your pup live naturally.

39. Leaving Them Alone Too Often

Dogs are meant for companionship, so if you can only offer a life of backyard solitude, maybe a dog is not for you. Spending time with your dog is crucial to the health and wellbeing of your pup.

40. Playing Too Rough With Them

Dogs love rough playtime, but they don’t know how to gage when it crosses the line and becomes too rough. It’s your job to take care of them and know when too much is too much.

41. Arguing In Front Of Them

Getting heated with someone in front of your dog sends them into a protective mode if it doesn’t scare the bejesus out of them first. Take your argument somewhere else if you must have it.

42. Being Too Animated With Hand Gestures

Using hand signals is a wonderful way to communicate with your dog, but you can go overboard. If you’re a super animated person with gestures, you might want to tone it down for the sake of not aggravating your pup.

43. Blowing In Their Face

Would you love it if someone came up and blew in your face? Probably not, and the same goes for your dog. It’s a sign of aggressiveness to them, and also, it’s just not nice.

44. Chasing Them

There’s a difference between playing and making your dog feel as if they’re being hunted. Too much aggressive chasing can lead to accidents and possibly defensive fights back at you.

45. Yank Their Leash

Tightening a leash for training or control is one thing, but to abruptly yank on your dog’s leash can hurt them, and it can also create a fear and loathing for the leash itself.

46. Your House Has Scents They Hate

Your home is your dog’s home, so you’ll have to cater to them when it comes to sensitive smells that can make them sick, or that can just plain make them miserable.

47. Assuming A Wagging Tail Means A Happy Dog

A wagging tail of happiness is easy to spot against movement that tells us something else. Is the tail straight out? The dog is on high alert. Is the tail tucked under them? They’re experiencing some fear.

48. Exposing Them To Loud Environments

Some big noises like storms can never be a thing that you can train your dog to be comfortable with. Whatever noises like this that scare your dog consist of, try to keep your pup ultimately away from them.

49. Barking Back

Barking is your dog’s way of trying to communicate with you and it could mean a million different things. Barking back at them is not the way to figure out what your pup is trying to relay to you.

50. Sharing Toys And Snacks With Them

Dogs are not like us when it comes to sharing. If you give them a toy, it’s theirs and that’s how they will always interpret it. If you want something back, don’t give it to your pup.

51. Breaking Up A Puppy Wrestling Match

Play-fighting between pups is a super healthy way to socialize and get exercise. Let your dog enjoy this playtime and don’t try to stop it as if it’s a negative thing.

52. Forcing Friendships

You can’t force a person or another dog onto your pup. When introducing a new person or pet, let your dog go to that new friend on their own, scope them out, and decide for themselves.

53. Each Owner Having Their Own Rules

If you have more than one owner for your pup (such as your significant other), you absolutely have to be on the same page with training and rules. Otherwise, you create a confused, unhappy, and frustrated dog.

54. Fireworks

Fireworks are probably the worst big noise event that can traumatize a dog. The noises, the brightness, and the suddenness of it all scares the heck out of a pup, so skip taking them to the next 4th of July parade.

55. Bringing Home A New Baby

Bringing home a new addition to the family isn’t just a learning curve for the parents, but also for the pups. Everyone has to get reacclimated to the new normal, so patience, understanding, and training is the way to go.

56. Crowded Dog Parks

You can have the most well-behaved, highly trained dog and it still wouldn’t be a good idea to throw them into an overcrowded dog park. Between the dogs and people, your pup may be trained, but you never know what could come at them.

57. Hitting

Hitting your dog as a way of discipline won’t do the trick. Plus, it’s mean, it hurts them, and further confuses them. Instead, try firm verbal and hand commands when it comes to teaching your dog.

58. Overstimulation

Just like you can be too relaxed with inactivity, you can be too overkill with activity as well. Dogs need a break and to chill out just like we do, so don’t overdo it when it comes to play time or stimulation.

59. Kids Climbing On Them

99% of the time when a dog nips or barks at a child, it’s the kid’s fault. It’s not a popular fact that people want to hear, but to avoid this, children have to be taught to approach any animal with respect for space.

60. Rushing Potty Time

To avoid unnecessary accidents inside, giving your dog the ample time he needs to release himself outside is key. There should never be any rushing when it comes to the few times of the day that your pup has to go outside to potty.

61. Being Put Away When Company Arrives

Unless it’s your company’s preference, let your dog live in his own house and meet the people coming into it. It’s necessary for his overall positive socialization skills.

62. Forcing Uncomfortable Situations

We’re not talking about necessary bath time or nail clipping here. If your dog doesn’t like something, like fireworks or lots of people, don’t take him to a parade and force him to be miserable.

63. Brushing Their Teeth

Other than a yearly cleaning at the vet, stick to giving your dog dental treats over attempting the forever-failing feat to attempt to brush their teeth. It never works out.

64. Not Having Any Rules

Setting a routine is absolutely imperative for your dog’s life. Otherwise, you end up with a confused dog who causes anarchic messes all over your home, and the dog isn’t living his best quality life, either.

65. Shouting Commands At Them Over And Over

Yelling doesn’t work on a dog. If you want to truly train a dog correctly, use hand signals, a calm voice, and lots of patience to teach them right.

66. Throwing A Ball At Your Dog Indefinitely

You have to have somewhat of a strategy when throwing a ball or playing fetch with your pup, otherwise overstimulation occurs, which confuses him.

67. Dinnertime Interruptions

Routines are great for dogs, as we’ve said many times. So, when a routine is happening in real time, try your best to block that window so that the routine is not interrupted.

68. Negative Reinforcement

You can’t scold your dog in an attempt to train them and then never give them positive reinforcements when they get it right. Positive affirmations and treats are necessary to training a good dog.

69. Using Scented Grooming Products

As we know well, dogs have sensitive sniffers, so it’s always best to stick with unscented wipes, bath soaps, or de-shedders. This way, you avoid irritations and causing your dog to be miserable or sick.

70. Walking Too Fast

Just like with letting your dog do his business in his own time, when you commit to taking your dog on a walk, you have to practice that same patience. Let him live and explore, and you’ll have a happier, healthier pup because of it.