Please Don’t Do That

It is important to realize that all dogs are not the same, and things that some dogs don’t want their humans to do will be acceptable or even thoroughly enjoyed by other dogs. Usually, if a person works with a puppy and gets to know the dog from an early age, it is easy to tell how comfortable the dog is with specific types of experiences, interactions and activities.

Adopting an older dog can be more of a challenge as you simply don’t have the background. Additionally, dogs can also change through their life and based on experiences, trauma or events to become more or less accepting of different things.

As a general guideline, here are some things that can be “issues” for dogs. There are always exceptions, and dogs can certainly be sensitive to or dislike other things as well, as it all comes down to doggy personality and temperament differences.

Being Held Close

This is perhaps the most controversial thing on the list. Most dogs are uncomfortable with a lot of hugging, as this is akin to a display of dominance in the dog world.

Dogs that are very comfortable with your leadership in the pack and that have been raised with this very human sign of affection are often fine with the interaction. Just be very careful with doing this to a strange dog. Also, watch your own pooch for signs of submission or anxiety during the hug.

You will definitely want to change this dynamic if you see your dog flop to the floor and roll over when you approach as this is a clear sign your dog is signaling submissive behavior. Urination may or may not accompany this behavior. If it does, never punish the dog, but simply reconsider your approach and let the dog come to you.


When you yell at a dog, it is like screaming a baby or a child. It is never effective and just confuses the dog, sometimes triggering anxiety that results in aggression. Change the tone of your voice instead, but don’t add to the volume. A low tone signals to pay attention while a higher tone is more playful.

Think of the difference in your dog’s barks as a way to determine if raising or lowering the voice will be more effective.

Sudden Changes

Dogs that love routines and owners being spontaneous is not always a good combination. Try to limit changes or to make plans to keep things as constant as possible for your pet.

Crate training can be very effective as it allows the dog always to have a safe, comfortable space that is his or her own comfort zone.

Not Being Consistent

Dogs are very intelligent, but they can also have a hard time understanding when there is inconsistency in expectations and what is allowed or not allowed. This can be particularly problematic in families where different people allow or encourage different behaviors that others may punish.

Remember, dogs are a part of the family. Watch their body language and learn what they enjoy or don’t, then work with the dog to create a positive environment for everyone.