Have you ever looked at your pet and thought they look confused and wondered if they are pondering what you are up to? Well, most likely, they are doing just that.
Here are some of the things we humans do that make our lovable side-kicks scratch their furry heads.
1. We aren’t with them 24/7
Dogs are natural-born socialites, love spending time with other dogs, people, and just about anyone willing to engage with them. Dogs, when given their own choice usually play, rest, explore and travel by their owner’s sides; yet we often leave dogs home alone.
When we leave our dogs home alone, inexperienced dogs can be unsure if we are ever going to return to collect them. It is only after experience they understand to expect a reunion, and even then, this isn’t guaranteed.
Even at home, our pets may become confused when we might put them outside for long periods of time. This explains why dogs so often demand to be let inside when their human family is there, as they are the happiest right by our sides (or at our feet). Dogs want to be with their comfort group (their humans) at all times.
2. We use our eyes more than our nose
Dogs live in an olfactory (sense of smell) world, while ours is primarily visual. So, whilst we may like going to the movies or listening to music, walks to the dog park and the beach are a sensory feast for dogs, so even though a daily walk is about fitness for both you and the dog, it is so much for your furbaby.
3. We change the way we look
Every day we appear differently to our dogs; we change our clothes, shoes, coats, wallets, bags and socks. Endless smells stick to these things after we wear them around all day then return home to our dogs. We spray ourselves with different smells, cleaning products, soaps, deodorants and shampoos which all change the scent our dogs are used to. This means the odours we carry are shifting more than dogs have evolved to come to expect.
4. We hug a lot
Dogs and humans both have four limbs but use them very differently to each other. Dogs use their limbs to grasp each other loosely when play-wrestling, mating or fighting. So, when we hug them this can be confusing for our pets as this isn’t generally their form of showing affection but rather usually a defence mechanism.
5. Biting upsets us
Dogs love to play-flight. Play-fighting is a form of bonding where dogs must monitor the behaviour of other dogs and know when and how to use their tiny, razor-sharp teeth. Humans feel pain from dogs’ teeth during playing much more sensitively than another dog will and if we are hurt by our dogs playing, we are prone to react negatively to their attempts to play-fight with us.
Dogs use their muzzle for most of their interactions with the world and naturally, they try to use their mouths when communicating with us and must be baffled when we often take offence to this playful attempt from them.
6. We aren’t too fussed on bin food
Dogs will naturally eat food from wherever they can get it, whereas we in contrast, present them with food in their own little bowls. When our pets help themselves to food leftover on tables, benches, bins or lunchboxes and we get cross at our four-legged pals it must make them slightly confused as to what the big deal is!
7. We use our hands – A LOT
Dogs sometimes aren’t too sure what we humans are doing with our hands. In contrast to dogs who predominately use their nose for most tasks, we use our hands. Sometimes our hands feed our dogs, give them pats and play with toys with them, other times, our hands are used for our dogs to put on leads, trim nails, brush their fur; all tasks that may pull hair, hurt slightly and make them feel uncomfortable. Understandably, some dogs grow to fear the human hand due to the uncertainty of its nature.
Dogs on the whole can teach us two-legged folk a few lessons in adaptability and resilience. Our job as dog owners is to understand our pet’s behaviours and language and know that their responses to certain situations, although sometimes testing, are never done out of malice.