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5 Things You're Doing That Hurt Your Dog's Feelings Without Realizing It

Photo: SakSa / Shutterstock 
sad dog

All dog owners know that our furry friends bring us an abundance of joy and unconditional love that we cannot imagine our lives without. However, that doesn’t mean that our dogs don't get on our nerves every once in a while. While it's normal to be upset with them from time to time, they do not communicate the same way we do and our reactions may negatively affect them without us even realizing it. 

PetLab Co, an account on TikTok that provides dog owner and supplement advice, shared some guidance regarding the things we do that unwittingly make our pups sad — and how to avoid them.



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Here are 5 things you’re doing that hurt your dog’s feelings.

1. Being angry at them. 

Your dog may do things that upset you, whether it be barking at the mailman, peeing on the carpet, rummaging through the trash, or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes. While your feelings are valid, it is never okay to express your anger toward your dog by yelling or being physically aggressive with them. 

Just like us, our dogs will make mistakes and do things they aren’t supposed to. However, unlike us, they are unable to speak and fully understand the extent of what they have done. When we raise our voices at them or lock them up in cages as punishment, they become scared and confused as to why they are being treated that way. In fact, a study conducted by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare found that when an owner yells at their dog, their stress and cortisol levels increase. 



Anger is an emotion that most dogs are unfamiliar with, and they’re unable to comprehend why they are being treated differently by someone they love. Even if you are angry with your dog, training experts advise you to talk to them in a soft, quiet yet firm voice instead of yelling. 

"Anger doesn't teach your dog to behave," PetLab Co explained. "It simply teaches them to be afraid of you."

If you need a moment to calm yourself down, step away from your dog and do so in another room. Once you are collected, return to your dog and give them a pet of reassurance to let them know that even if you are annoyed, you still love them. 

RELATED: 10 Tiny Ways To Make Sure Your Dog Knows You Love Them — In A Language They Can Understand

2. Taking their food away while they are eating. 

In the wild, dogs would not survive if they did not guard their food and it was taken by other animals. If their owners suddenly take their food bowls away from them while they’re eating, they may fear that they’ll never see a meal again. Even if you simply want to change their eating location or decide you’d rather feed them later, your dog doesn’t understand why you would take their food away.

This also causes them to eat at unnecessarily fast paces, which can result in stomachaches, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

5 Things You're Doing That Hurt Your Dog's Feelings Without Realizing ItPhoto: eva_blanco / Shutterstock

3. Pushing them away while they are giving you kisses. 

How would you feel if you were pouring your heart out about how much you loved someone, and they ignored you and pushed you away? This is precisely how your dog feels when you shove them away while they are giving you kisses. 

While their tongues may be slobbery and messy, licking us is as close to kisses as they can get, and a sure-fire way to show their love to you.

"Licking can be a sign of affection. It might also give a dog a feeling of security and comfort, just as the dog had when licked by its mother in the litter,” Dr. Mary Burch, a certified applied animal behaviorist told Newsweek

Pushing your dog away while they are licking you can feel like you are rejecting their love and cries for attention, ultimately hurting their feelings. 



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4. Teasing them. 

Although our cute aggression may be at an all-time high when we see our dogs, this is no reason to tease them. Blowing on their nose or poking them while they’re sleeping will only make them feel frustrated or confused. 

According to Vetstreet, teasing a dog may also lead to behavioral issues such as hypersensitivity, lack of manners, and aggression. Furthermore, consistent teasing can also damage your relationship with your dogs, causing them to distrust or feel threatened by you. 

5. Ignoring constant ear or paw scratching.

While this behavior is normal from time to time, consistent ear or paw scratching could infer some underlying health problems in your dog. According to veterinarians, constant paw licking or ear scratching could mean that your dog is suffering from chronic pain, inflammation, infection, or allergies. It could also be the result of anxiety or stress. 

The best course of action is to bring them to the vet so that they can determine the root of the problem and provide medication if needed. However, if you ignore these symptoms in your dog, they may view it as a lack of care for their well-being. This leaves them not only feeling hurt but can negatively affect their overall physical well-being. 



Dogs bring joy and laughter into our lives with their playful antics and boundless energy.

Their enthusiasm for life is contagious and helps to uplift our spirits. They accept us humans for who we are, flaws and all, without expecting anything in return. The least we can do for them is reciprocate what they give us, providing them with the unconditional love and support they deserve as cherished members of our family.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.