You can always tell when your dog is happy: wagging tails and excited, playful barking speak for themselves. But it’s not so easy to tell why your pooch is sad or even depressed.
Let’s try to figure out the most common reasons your fluffy friend might be upset. Starting with:
12. You haven’t set a daily routine and rules for your dog.
Your dog has its own biological clock, which is why a routine is so important.
Dogs want, and even need, rules to follow! Consistency makes the world predictable to them, so they become more confident and less stressed.
Try to feed, walk, and train your dog at the same time every day. Having a daily routine doesn’t mean avoiding fun altogether.
Dr. Debra Primovic recommends that you include “quality time” with your pet within that fixed routine. It can be something basic like sitting next to each other and watching TV.
Every so often, you can let the dog pick the shows to watch together. Just a few days after you’ve started practicing a daily routine, you’ll notice that your dog has become happier.
11. You like to dress up your dog.
If you haven’t trained your dog to wear clothing since it was a puppy, you’ll find it difficult to dress it at an older age.
It’s OK to put a sweater or a coat on your dog during walks if you have a toy breed or a breed with short hair.
Your best bet is a blend of washable wool and cotton or acrylic. However, if you have a Siberian Husky, Malamute or some other breed with a dense coat, you don’t need to bother with a sweater. And, hats and costumes are uncomfortable for any breed. And they just look dumb.
10. You use words more than body language.
In 2018, a group of veterinarians at the University of Bari did a comprehensive study on Communication in dogs. They don’t deny that in over 30,000 years of living with humans, dogs have gained certain communication skills to understand their owners. They’ve mastered basic commands such as walk, treat, toy, and the like, but still, they don’t speak the human language!
They rely on your body language to try to figure out how you feel or what you think.
When you do confuse things – such as tell your pup to “stay” and lean toward it stretching your hand forward, it gets upset because it doesn’t know if you really want it to stay, or come closer.
So try communicating more with your body when talking to your pet instead of trying to chat with it.
9. You tease your pet.
Have you ever barked back at a barking dog? Yeah. Or maybe pulled on a dog’s tail? Nah. Or, better yet, you show a treat to a dog and then hide it, or eat it yourself (if it’s not dog food, of course). Guilty. Remember this: what’s funny for a human, can be hurtful and offensive for an animal.
According to the Whole Dog Journal, teasing your pet won’t help mutual understanding and can cause an obsessive-compulsive behavior and other problems.
8. You pull on your dog’s leash.
Your dog can not only read your body language, but also the leash tension levels. When you pull it, you signal that you’re tense, nervous, or on alert, causing stress. You shouldn’t let your dog drag you around either; if your pet isn’t listening to you, stop.
As soon as the leash loosens and the dog looks at you, you can continue your walk. Don’t forget to take treats with you to encourage your dog’s good behavior.
A leash that’s too short also makes the animal nervous. If you let your dog walk on a long leash, you make it clear that everything is under your control and there’s no danger.
This way, it’ll be easier for you to walk your dog because it won’t feel constant tension.
Let your dog sniff around! In 2015, an international group of researchers headed by Birte Nielsen studied the role odors play in a dog’s life.
They concluded that it impacts their behavior and wellbeing! A walk for a dog isn’t just a time when it can relieve itself; it’s also an opportunity to get to know the surrounding territory. Many times, dog pee on things to leave information. Other dogs come by, sniff where the prior dog went, gets the information, and then also pees there.
The first dog leaves a post, and others comment on it. That’s why your pet will become disturbed if you drag it away from trees and curbs all the time.
see also: The Smartest Dogs In The World
7. You don’t take your dog’s fear of water seriously.
Most dogs love swimming in open water because it makes them feel free. However, even breeds that love swimming in lakes, lying in puddles, and running through lawn sprinklers might hate taking baths.
Dogs don’t like the sound of running water or the slippery surface. So, if you want to reduce your dog’s stress, place a slip-resistant mat in the bottom of the tub, give it lots of treats, and compliment it for its good behavior.
6. You hug your dog.
It’s natural for humans to show affection by wrapping their arms around someone’s body.
But, dogs don’t have arms, so their ways of showing love and support are different! Imagine a creature three or ten times your size approaching you and squeezing you! A lot of dogs will take it, especially the traditional family breeds, such as a golden retriever.
But most pooches will feel threatened and uncomfortable if you do so. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz has pointed out the typical signs of a dog feeling uncomfortable during a hug: ears pinned back, lip licking, yawning and trying to getaway.
5. You yell at your dog.
Dogs are afraid of raucous sounds and can’t understand what you want from them.
If you’re unhappy with your dog’s behavior, take a particular pose of your choosing, and make an upset facial expression.
If your puppy isn’t yet trained enough to wait for a walk and leaves puddles on the floor, yelling at it will only make things worse If you punish your dog physically or yell at it, it won’t become better trained, it’ll just be afraid of you and sneaky.
Chances are, it’ll do the same thing when you aren’t around. A 2016 study by the Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, concluded that dogs can always tell when people are angry, and they become more hesitant to do what the same people ask of them.
4. You don’t play with your dog enough.
If you can’t find enough time to play with your pooch, be prepared to have it damage a lot of things when you’re not home.
Your pet needs to release its energy, and if you can’t help with this, it’ll find its own way. And you won’t like it.
Playing with your dog is important. Activities like running help develop your dog’s physical stamina. And hide and seek, for example, is good for its intelligence.
Rebecca Sommerville, the animal behavior specialist at the University of Edinburgh, explains that a dog playing by itself isn’t a sign that it’s happy. It could be trying to show you how bored it is and basically crying for help. Playing together is a great way of bonding and keeping your pooch content.
3. You leave your pet alone.
Dogs are social animals and they don’t like to be by themselves Of course, you can’t spend all your time with your dog, but you can decrease the level of its anxiety.
To do so, spend as much time as possible with it when you’re home. Follow a precise schedule. The animal should know the time when you leave home and when you come back.
Buy different toys so that your dog can entertain itself while you’re away.
2. You let strangers pet your dog.
Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Ilana Reisner explains that your dog’s character or moo can be different, and even the most sociable and kind dog can be reactive. If you let everyone touch your dog, you cause it to be stressed out and you stop being a leader in your dog’s eyes.
When I say “strangers”, I don’t mean only humans, but other dogs, as well. Some owners just love to push their dogs into doggy get-togethers at parks. Now, think of it: do you personally want to make friends with every human you meet in the street? If your answer is “no”, then why would your dog’s answer be “yes”?
1. You’re depressed.
If you’ve noticed that your dog is sad, pay attention to your own state of mind.
Your pet feels your temper, and if you feel bad, your dog can become depressed too.
Dr. Wailani Sung explains Depression isn’t contagious, but when you feel low you pay less attention to your pet or do it with much less enthusiasm.
Your pooch can make your mood better, but you should put in some effort as well.
And, you’ll do your pooch a lot of good if you quit smoking. Different studies, including one in 2007 of 30 Yorkshire Terriers at the University of Brasilia, have shown that dogs suffer from passive smoking, which can result in serious lung diseases for them.
Now it’s your turn. How do you comfort your dog when it’s obviously upset? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, share this article with your friends.
see also: Body Language in Cats