Showing your dog love is one of the best ways that you can bond with them, but you need to know how to show affection the right way. Dogs aren’t like people, so what you think your dog may love may actually cause them stress. Here are some of the best ways to show affection to your dog.
Respect your pet’s personal space
Like humans, dogs have a sense of personal space that needs to be acknowledged. Forcing a hug on a dog can make your dog feel as though her space is being invaded. A hug for humans is seen as an act of affection, but for a dog, it can be interpreted as an act of dominance and feels potentially threatening. If you hug your dog, be watchful of her body language and don’t be surprised if she acts uneasy. Call her to you to ensure she is welcoming of physical attention. Don’t reach your hands out, let her walk into your space. Pet your dog gently when she comes to you and don’t chase her for cuddles.
Careful with petting
Soft, gentle strokes under the chin or on the chest are perfect for your pet, and they tell your dog that you love him. However, raising your hand over his head, patting or thumping your pet, even playfully, can be scary or painful for your dog and could be interpreted as physically controlling or dominating. Be sure to remind children about the proper way to pet your dog, too. Your dog could become defensive if children pet him too roughly or climb on him.
For some dogs, petting can be painful. If your dog has arthritis or has suffered injuries in the past, petting can be uncomfortable. Pay attention to how your dog reacts to your affection and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
Don’t pick up your small dog
Just because you can pick up your dog, it doesn’t mean you should. Being lifted off the ground and held isn’t a natural thing for your pet to endure. It can be frightening, disorienting, and can cause your pet to feel vulnerable and potentially fight back. It’s especially important that you don’t allow children to pick up your dog because he could feel threatened and react aggressively. Also, a fall from their arms could seriously hurt your pet and create a negative association and fear of hands.
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