What Do Dogs Hate? – Top 10 Things That Make Our Dogs Hate Us

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Humans have many bad habits that make dogs dislike us. So what do dogs hate that we do to them unknowingly?  It’s often the things we least expect.

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1. Not Listening To Your Dog

Our dogs try to communicate with us in subtle ways that we usually don’t pick up. Dogs are peaceful by nature and they communicate with body language known as Calming Signals.

white fluffy dog sitting and looking up at camera

Dogs are pack animals and living in peace is essential to their survival. These are also coping mechanisms that dogs use.  This is how they communicate with other dogs and use the same language to communicate with humans. Ignoring these signals can be frustrating for dogs and sometimes it makes them aggressive. It is said that there are around 30 Calming Signals.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common:

  • Licking its nose – This happens when a human or dog approaches too fast or when someone cowers over them. Nose licking is a way for them to calm themselves. From a dog’s perspective, everything is huge so cowering or bending over a dog is threatening to them.  
  • Yawning – This has to be taken in context. When a dog just woke up and it yawns, it’s probably still a little sleepy. But when a dog yawns when you’re about to go for a walk or about to do something exciting like riding a car,  it is a way of calming itself down. One of the things to watch out for is excessive yawning which indicates your dog is under stress.
  •  Shaking its body – as it does after taking a bath. When you see a dog do this, think of what happened prior to it. Did you give your dog a hug? Dogs don’t like it. A dog that shakes after a hug is trying to say “Stop hugging me. I don’t feel comfortable when you do it”. Shaking is a dog’s way of removing stress. It could also mean your dog has an ear infection. Check your dog’s ears and call your vet if it’s red or inflamed. 
  • Looking/turning away – Dogs use this calming signal the most. They look away to avoid confrontation. They look away from anything they perceive to be threatening like a dog or someone walking directly towards them or staring at them. Approach your dog calmly and avoid staring into their eyes too long. 
  • Bowing – when you see your dog do this in front of another dog or dogs, it is their way of showing that they are not a threat, thus showing a calming signal. It is also an invitation to play.
  • Smiling –  This is a common calming signal to appease everyone around them. 
  • Walking in a curve – Dogs don’t like walking towards another dog in a straight path. They would rather walk around in a curve to be polite. This is what they instinctively do off-leash. Similarly, do not approach a dog directly. Try to walk around to give it space. 

2. Rushing Walks

Dogs hate to be rushed when being taken out for a nice walk.

what do dogs hate - dog sniffing flowers

Stopping every so often to sniff is necessary for them to learn about the world around them. It is good for their mental well-being.

3. Leaving Them Alone too long

Dogs who are left alone for excessive periods tend to develop destructive behavior.

dog lying on a white cushion with a green tennis ball in front of his nose.

It is simply not in their nature to be left alone too long. Some breeds are more prone to it than others.

4. Dogs hate overly strong Scents

A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than ours.

extreme close up of a dogs nose. the nose looks enormous.

A dog’s senses are more acute than ours, always try to make allowances for this when spraying perfumes, lighting scented candles or squirting air fresheners. Try to do these things away fro. your dog, or better still, avoid using them altogether. You should also never smoke around your dog. 

5. Pulling Hard On The Leash

Be gentle and mindful when pulling the leash.

CGI image of a featureless man walking a dog.

Yanking it violently is painful and can damage nerves and bones in the neck. The pain can travel down the legs.

6. Dogs hate Yelling

Neither dogs nor humans like to be yelled at. Yelling is counter-productive and only results in an anxious dog. Instead of yelling, lower your tone of voice.

two featureless characters, one shouting through a red megaphone, the other in a tie, appearing shocked.

Never yell your dog’s name when he does something bad. Doing so will let your dog associate his name negatively

7. Petting On The Head

What do dogs hate? well, dogs certainly don’t like being petted on the head. Dogs find it uncomfortable because it’s something they would never do to each other, it’s alien and threatening to them.

hand stroking a blue-eyed  dog as he is lying in the snow

 Dogs would rather be petted on the shoulder, chest, and base of the neck. Try to go through the side rather than over the head as to not appear intimidating. 

8. Fireworks

A Dogs hearing is sharp, he can hear 4 times farther than humans, and with such sensitive ears, it’ll come as no surprise that your dog will very probably hate fireworks.

fireworks exploding in the night sky
Beautiful fireworks exploding over a dark night sky. Plenty of copy space.

Fireworks and thunder are so loud to a dog, it can put him under a lot of stress. A. great way to calm your dog, is to use a Thundershirt

Golden Labrador wearing a grey Thundershirt with orange piping.

or through a selection of homeopathic natural calming aids

Homeopathy and dogs - A bottle of Homeoanimal Anxiety preparation

9. Hugs

Dogs hate hugs. They don’t do it to each other, and find it threatening when we do it.

What do dogs hate - man hugs dog. Dog's nose is on man's shoulder.

A clue to how much dogs hate hugs is the fact that it’s the #1 cause of facial bites in children. They may tolerate it but not necessarily like it. Imagine a giant bending over and wrapping its arms around you and squeezing you. 

10. Dogs hate Being Disturbed While Sleeping

Even the nicest and friendliest dog would growl and even bite when constantly getting disturbed during sleep. Let sleeping dogs lie. 

natural calming remedies for dogs- a beagle sleeping soundly on a bed

I hope you found this article useful. Please share it with dog parents who may need it!

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice. *This site may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site! 

37 thoughts on “What Do Dogs Hate? – Top 10 Things That Make Our Dogs Hate Us”

  1. Very informative article. I think many people take for granted the things that may negatively effect our canine companions. 

    Learning the calming signals was extremely helpful to me, in trying to understand what my dogs may be telling me. Ill be honest in saying, that some of the signals listed, have gone overlooked, especially the shaking part. 

    Could you please explain to me what a “thunder shirt” is? 

    I know you mentioned in number 9, that dogs don’t like hugs, and have to say that I must have a very rare German Shepherd then, because she begs for hugs by pushing her head into our chests, and if we open our arms, then she proceeds to push the rest of her body into a hug, and gets so excited as we hold her. 

    She also likes to be pet on the top of her head, and especially on her ears. Is this extremely rare, or do you more recommend not doing such things with dogs that our not your own?

    Reply
    • Hello Brandy, a thundershirt is basically like a shirt with velcro that you wrap around a dog. It’s supposed to calm a dog during thunderstorms, thus “thundershirt.” but it can be used in any anxiety-inducing occasion. 

      You are definitely blessed to have such a sweet dog. Most don’t like hugs nor pats on the head. My Labradoodle definitely doesn’t like it

      Sonny

      Reply
  2. Aww I had no idea that dogs hate petting on the head, and I, unfortunately, do this on my dog all the time. I thought that he enjoys it since he is always sitting there calm, to be honest. I now know that I should not repeat such a thing. I also had no idea that the same applies to hugs. We sometimes trying to show our love to our dogs in the way we saw it to people, but this should no be the case. Thank you for this useful post! 

    Reply
    • Hi Kate, thanks for commenting!

      You’re right –  we humans tend to show our love to our pets the way we show it to children. 

      Sonny

      Reply
  3. Hi Sonny,
    Great tips here, I never realized there were over 31 calming signals that dogs display. I definitely learned something.

    I am so guilty of hugging my Golden Retriever Ellie! As a puppy she did not like it at all, but now she tolerates it. I think it is just her nature and breed. I know other dogs and breeds would certainly not tolerate being hugged.

    Thanks for writing such an informative article! It will help many dog owners to understand their dog better, and hopefully stop doing things that their dog hates.

    Jenny.

    Reply
  4. I must say, such a nice article. I have never read an article like this because we humans think it is not necessary to have such a type of knowledge. But it is very unique and informative. I don’t have a dog at my home but my neighbors have a dog and I am going to share with them all the points I am sure they are not aware of this. 
    Thanks for sharing an informative article with us.

    Reply
  5. Hey, thank you so much for this article.

    I learned many new things about the dog’s behavior. It is true that we do not understand dogs properly, This is why they sometimes treat us strangely. So we should understand dogs properly and treat them well. Your article helps those people who don’t understand their dogs properly. Because you really wrote a very informative article about dogs and described very well.

    Once again thank you so much. Your article helped me a lot.

    Reply
  6.  Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article. I learned some things from this. I have a dog. When I hug my dog then my dog sometimes acts angry. I did not know that the dogs don’t like hugs. But now I know about this. I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Very educational. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am going to bookmark it. I am very happy I got the chance to read this and hope the best for you and your site in the future.

    Reply
  7. Wow! These are great tips that I believe they would be of great and immense benefit to any dog owners like myself. Often times, dogs always give signals for various reactions dependingbon circumstances and it is left to us to decipher them. Though I was able to decipher some out of the above listed here from my dog, I never knew about most things or interpreted them in a very wrong way. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  8. Apparently, I have fallen victim to at least 3 of these misdemeanors, especially the hugs. Yes, I do hug my dog though I’ve yet to receive any backlash for this, i think that they indeed, find this act threatening. What’s even more fascinating is the fact that it has given me signs in the past like shaking its body. This guide is definitely informative. I’ll be sure to bookmark and refer to it often.

    Reply
  9. Wow 😍! This is an eye opener! Thank you for exposing this in details. I’m usually guity of the #7(Petting the dogs on the head). This will help me relate properly with my pet as it is necessary to the owner. I look forward to seeing more of your article! Thanks.

    Reply
  10. Thank you so much for providing such a beautiful information. It is true that we are often mistaken for dogs because we do not understand the gesture of the dog.We do not understand what a dog wants to mean.A dog is an innocent animal.They don’t know how to cheat anyone.They are grateful enough to their boss.I have never read such a beautiful informative article before.
    So thank you again for giving me such a wonderful article.

    Reply
  11. Very informative post Sonny.  It made me realise just how many things I’m doing each day that irritates my dog without even thinking about it. I’m glad I have a really patient dog! Point #2 is so true – dogs really do like to get outside and smell the roses, it’s just their way of exploring the environment they live in. I do wonder sometimes that dogs put up with their owner’s wayward behaviour because they are so loyal and easygoing.

    Reply
  12. Hello Sonny. Thank you for sharing these things that dogdo not like. Knowing these dog hates and doing our best to avoid them will go a long way in creating a strong relationship between us and our dogs. I am surprised that dogs don’t like petting on their head, but when you look at it, there is no sign that it doesn’t like what I am doing. Hugs also seem as if they’re like it; I am showing love to it. Thanks a lot for your article. I had learned too much today.

    Reply
  13. This is such a great list of behaviors we should avoid around dogs. I knew most of these since I grew up with a whole team of dogs but I have never seen such a great list! This is especially important for new dog owners or those with children. Teaching kids how to be respectful, careful and calm around animals is so vital for their safety and the animal’s happiness (and safety as well with small animals). 

    Not petting a dog on the head is an important tip that many people probably have never heard before. I had not thought of that specifically myself. I know it is not smart to pet a dog right away before it is comfortable around you and you are confident it is friendly but I didn’t know the head in particular should be avoided. I know my dogs didn’t really like it so I generally petted them other places anyway but I didn’t know that preference is universal to dogs in general. 

    Thank you so much for this wonderful information!

    Jessica

    Reply
  14. yet again i am amazed at the effort you put into uncovering these things. i notice quite a few of them like when my dog turns her face away from me. i stare mostly when i get pissed off by an action and she already senses the signal. most times she runs into hiding to avoid confrontation. i have picked up a few others

    Reply
  15. Wow, I must say that I learned some things from this. It is so easy for us to do a lot of the things that dogs hate, but it all makes sense. I can understand why dogs hate hugs. One of the 4 dogs my best friend has growls whenever you hug it and sometimes shows its teeth though it has never bit someone. I always thought it was because it dislikes hugging. What has surprised me though is petting on the head. Rarely have I ever seen a dog not like this at least in my experience. I will start doing the petting on the shoulder since it seems they like that more. 

    Reply
  16. Hello Sonny, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I am glad I stumbled upon your article because I was researching to find why my mature dog sometimes acts angry. Honestly, I did not know that hugs can bore him haha. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. All the best, Daniel

    Reply
  17. These are so true! Dogs have emotions even if you don’t see them. They get nervous,scared, frustrated and so much more. I know personally my dog hates to be hugged. he will start shaking like a tree in a storm like he is trying to “SHAKE” your love off kinda like a child wiping away kisses.

    and let me tell you just try and rush him on his walk! He will lay there until he feels your ready to go his pace. Granted he used to not do this…until my 6 year old started walking him haha. Now no matter who walks him he is stead fast om going slow and steady.

    Dogs are like little children . this article is amazing for a dog liver like me ill be sharing!

    Reply
  18. Even as humans we do not like others yanking us here and there so I understand if dogs don’t like us pulling hard on its leash. 

    A child’s hand was trapped in the wheels of a sewing machine once and it was the excessive barking of their dog that alerted the mother on time. The dog first rush to the woman, circled her and then ran out towards where the little girl was trapped and crying, good thing she got the message and followed her dog out. 

    Great piece though, am beginning to understand dogs more and it’s fun. 

    Reply
  19. Wow, such an eye-opener. You say dogs communicate to us with these calming signals. I didn’t take note of all these signals. The rushed on walks and the pulling hard on the leash; I thought it is healthy so that it seems that either we must move or I don’t it do that. The other one is that their sense of smell is 40 times than of humans; that’s new and interesting. I am surprised that dogs don’t like petting on their head, but when you look at it, there is no sign that it doesn’t like what I am doing. Hugs also seem as if they’re like it; I am showing love to it. Thanks a lot for your article. I had learned too much today.

    Reply
    • Hey Lucky, most dogs tolerate pats on the head but they don’t necessarily like it. Same with hugs. Thanks for commenting!

      Have a great day!

      Sunny

      Reply
  20. Wow, such an eye-opener. You say dogs communicate to us with these calming signals. I didn’t take note of all these signals. The rushed on walks and the pulling hard on the leash; I thought it is healthy so that it seems that either we must move or I don’t it do that. The other one is that their sense of smell is 40 times than of humans; that’s new and interesting. I am surprised that dogs don’t like petting on their head, but when you look at it, there is no sign that it doesn’t like what I am doing. Hugs also seem as if they’re like it; I am showing love to it. Thanks a lot for your article. I had learned too much today.

    Reply
  21. I can never thought that my Shiro will ever hate me but it is good to know just in case. He is just a loving ball of energy. Anyways, that is interesting that they yawn just to calm themselves down, wow, and I thought he was a handful turned out it was me. Lol Awe I had no idea that he doesn’t like petting in the head. But he likes me scratching him though. Thank for for sharing these 10 things, I am glad that I get to know my Shiro more.

    Reply
  22. Hello Sonny. Thank you for sharing these things that dogdo not like. Knowing these dog hates and doing our best to avoid them will go a long way in creating a strong relationship between us and our dogs. Petting on the head and hugs do not look bad to me. Now I know dogs don’t like these and many others you have shared. Great job…

    Reply
  23. Sonny, you have a very nice presentation within your site. I like cats, but I am a true dog lover! After sifting through your site, I really could not come up with a corrective comment. Have you had much response to your site? I hope it is going well. Peace, Mark.

    Reply
    • Hello Mark, 

      Thanks for your kind comment! I really appreciate it. It’s still a new site, barely 5 months old so I’m still adding content.  Have a great day!

      Sunny

      Reply
  24. This is such an informative articled particularly when someone has a rescue dog that doesn’t have too much of a history.  Many of the behaviors you write about we see in our dog.  She is very smart so the communication thing is very important to her.  I have notice the heavy yawn when its obvious she is not sleep or waking up.  It doesn’t happen often but since you wrote about it, I can see that she is calming herself.  This is particularly true when people that she likes come to visit.  When they ask her to come to them, she runs over, jumps on their lap and gives a big yawn,  Thanks for the article.

    Reply

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